The Squadra Azzurra’s tradition and the resilience of its players, aided by great saves by goalkeeper Buffon, have earned the European team third place in the FIFA Confederations Cup Brazil 2013. After a 2-2 draw during the regular match and two extra times with no team scoring, the Italians wrested the bronze from Uruguay with a 3-2 on penalty shootouts this afternoon (30 June) at the Fonte Nova Arena, in Salvador. Total attendance was of 43,382 fans, who watched Italy reach its 240th minute of play time in just three days (the semi-final against Spain was also decided on penalty shootouts, which the Spaniards won).
Goalkeeper Buffon was crucial during the penalty shootouts, saving three Uruguayan penalties (by Forlán, Cáceres and Gargano) and obviating the need for Italy to kick its last shot. Italy was first to score (Astori) during the first half of the regular match. On the second half Cavani scored first for Uruguay, Diamanti put Italy back on the lead and Cavani scored the equaliser at the end, bringing the game to extra time and eventually the penalty shootout. “This is a day of great pride for us; we were truly in the face of a fierce battle. It would have been harder if we hadn’t had the character we displayed. We suffered dearly during the match, but have been able to reach its end. It is a miracle that we are here”, said Buffon.
“We have honoured the championship today. We had a wonderful first half, but then lost some of our brilliance and confidence. They grew in the game and we were suffering, but penalty shootouts are always a lottery. We are very proud of our keeper and our whole team”, said Italy’s coach Cesare Prandelli while leaving the field.
The medals were presented by Brazil’s Deputy Minister of Sport Luis Fernandes, FIFA Secretary-General Jérôme Valcke, Local Organising Committee CEO Ricardo Trade and Chairman of the Italian Football Federation Giancarlo Abete. The third place in the Confederations Cup has also netted the Italian National Team the official money prize of US$ 500,000.