THE ITALIAN PLAYERS AFTER THE MATCH
Buffon Apologizes For Heavy Defeat
Italy goalkeeper and captain Gianluigi Buffon gave his reaction to the shocking 3-0 loss to Holland in the second Group C match of Euro 2008.
"I want to apologize for this performance on behalf of the whole team to the Italian people," he said. "I don't think anyone expected this from us, including ourselves. It's easily the worst defeat I've experienced in 10 years with the national team.
"The first goal? It was probably offside, but we can't use this as an excuse for the defeat. We just didn't play well enough, while they played extremely well. I give my compliments to Holland.
"We showed some resilience in the second half, when we had a few chances, but it wasn't enough. It just wasn't our night."
The Azzurri now face Romania on Friday at 18.00, while Holland face France. In the first Group C match earlier today Romania and France drew 0-0.
Pirlo Blasts Donadoni's Tactics
La Nazionale endured a horrid first half as the Oranje jumped out to a 2-0 lead on half an hour in perhaps the most highly anticipated clash of the group stages.
Many have slammed Donadoni’s decision to start aging midfielder Massimo Ambrosini ahead of Roma’s Daniele De Rossi, and Pirlo followed suit by insisting he would have been allowed to influence the game more had De Rossi started instead.
“We certainly got off to a bad start,” said the AC Milan playmaker. “We didn’t intend to play like this, but we ran into an off day. There are another two games now and we have to play better and win.
“If De Rossi had played then I would’ve been further up the field, but there are 23 of us in the squad and the Coach makes his decisions.”
Italy improved greatly when Fabio Grosso came off the bench to slot in at left-back after the interval, resulting in Gianluca Zambrotta switching to the right side of defence and Christian Panucci moving into the centre.
While Pirlo believes Donadoni made the right moves regarding the back-line, he insisted the changes should have been made much sooner.
“We tried to break them down, but in the first half they always doubled up on the wings and blocked us off,” he said.
“In the second half with Grosso and Zambrotta we got to the byline a bit more. We probably should’ve had them on earlier, considering the way the game went, but it’s easy to say in hindsight.”
Marco van Basten’s men ruthlessly exploited the absence of Azzurri skipper Fabio Cannavaro, punishing the resulting lapses of concentration with swift, incisive counterattacks.
Pirlo admitted the team as whole were not wary enough in defence, but insisted they can only look forward to their upcoming clashes with Romania and France.
“The first goal was offside and then we conceded twice on counters that were created from our set plays at the other end, so we just weren’t attentive enough to their runs.
“We were all disappointed, but this match is over and we have to analyse our mistakes and ensure we don’t repeat them in the two decisive games.”
The Only Way Is Up - Toni
Bayern Munich forward Toni admits that the only way is up after a disastrous start to Italy’s campaign.
“Usually when there’s a Last Chance Saloon we tend to bring something out of the bag, so we hope that we can do that again with Romania,” Toni told Football Italia.
”We had a bad start and a poor performance. Many things didn’t work the way we wanted and Holland played very well, deserving their victory.
“I think we created some good chances in the second half and were unlucky not to score.
“We do have to analyse ourselves here and admit we made a lot of mistakes, but we can learn from them.”
Toni had a good chance to get his nation back into the game when it was still 2-0, as he sprung the offside trap from Antonio Cassano’s pass, but could only balloon the ball over the bar.
“Antonio’s ball came through and I saw the goalkeeper coming forward so I tried the lob, but I scuffed it horribly,” Toni added