Paris, June 28: Italy's legendary goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon said he is proud of his team's form in the ongoing Euro 2016 football championship after being vastly underrated by critics ahead of the start of the competition.
After topping their group, Italy knocked out Spain, beating them 2-0 in a last 16 tie on Monday. It was a revenge of some sorts as it was Spain who had toppled the Azzuris to pocket the tourney four years back.
Antonio Conte's men had been underrated by both the national and international media with some calling it the worst Italian team ever just before the start of the competition. But so far, Italy have dispelled all the doubts.
"There is a long and tortuous road ahead of us and very difficult teams on our path. We cannot yet say that it is a great Euros for Italy, as we're only in the quarter-finals," Buffon was quoted as saying by Sky Sport Italia after the game.
"Having said that, I will not forget that many thought very little of us before the tournament began. We have proved that we were vastly underrated and I am proud of that."
On winning against Spain, the 38-year-old said, "We put in a good performance, but after the first half the 1-0 result was frankly less than we deserved.
"We knew that the game could change after the break. That proved to be the case, but we didn't just focus on defending. In fact, we had several chances to double our lead before Pelle's goal."
Buffon was also pleased that their losing streak against Spain has finally ended.
"After many years of defeats to Spain, we made up for it. OK, it was only a round-of-16 tie, but it's better than nothing."
Italy will now face world champions Germany in the quarter-final in Bordeaux on Saturday (July 2).