Buffon: Spain met their match against Italy

The Azzurri shot-stopper believes Vicente del Bosque's men showed why they are the best team in the world during Sunday's 1-1 draw but says his side more than held their own
Italy goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon believes his side have proved they can match world champions Spain following the sides' 1-1 Euro 2012 draw on Sunday.

The Azzurri gave an assured performance against Vicente del Bosque's men, going ahead through Antonio Di Natale before a Cesc Fabregas goal ensured the game ended honours even.

And, though the 34-year-old claimed that the Spaniards are the best team in the world, he says his side have shown they can match them.

"Spain is the strongest of them all and today proved it," Buffon told Il Corriere dello Sport. "But we were also good and the Spaniards met their match."

The Juventus shot-stopper also took a cynical view of praise received for his performance, pointing to the fickle nature of such compliments.

"Are me and Casillas the strongest [goalkeepers] in the world? Yet only a few weeks ago, I was spoken negatively of following an error at Lecce," he added.

Italian Prime Minister Giorgio Napolitano went into the Italians' dressing room at full-time in Gdansk to congratulate Buffon and his team-mates, and the keeper said of the visit: "It was an honour.

"He is the first citizen and represents us all, even though today we have given an important signal to the country.

"Tonight I saw an Italy I had always dreamed of - a team where everyone helps each other out when in need. I am proud."