Following Italy’s penalty shootout defeat to Germany in the quarter-finals of Euro 2016 on Saturday evening, Gianluigi Buffon struggled to hold back tears as he praised his teammates.
Antonio Conte’s men upset the odds by reaching the quarter-finals, and wins against Spain and Belgium put them within touching distance of the final four, despite heavy criticism and low expectations coming into the tournament.
“We did the most that we could do and it was almost enough,” a teary-eyed Buffon told Rai Sport. “This means that when you are a team with values, organisation, tactics, nothing is impossible.
“We each have our reasons to cry. We gave so much and came so close. It’s crazy to think that Germany missed three penalties and it still wasn’t enough.
“This defeat is incredibly tough for us. We will go forward, as we are Italy and we can not stop now.”
Before concluding, the veteran goalkeeper took the time to praise departing coach Antonio Conte, with whom he also worked closely at Juventus.
“Conte took time to praise us,” the 38-year-old added. “We improved under him in training and the players gave their all until the end. We gave our soul in pursuit of this dream.
“Two years ago we went out with so many regrets, the feeling we made mistakes and didn’t do all that we could. Tonight, we really did try and it wasn’t enough.”