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UEFA Euro 2024: Gianluigi Buffon Warns Favourites To Be Wary Of Italy

Written by Oluwaseun Oyediji

As the world awaits the kick-off of the 2024 UEFA European Championship on Friday, Italian legendary goalkeeper, Gianluigi Buffon has warned teams not to underestimate the prowess and quality of holders Italy.

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He said Italy is being underestimated ahead of the European Championship and that Luciano Spalletti’s side has both the talent and attitude to successfully defend their title.

Italy which failed to qualify for the last two FIFA World Cups scraped through qualifying for Euro 2024 and only secured their spot in Germany with a draw against Ukraine in their final group match.

They will face Spain, Croatia, and Albania in a tricky group in which few fancy their chances of progressing to the knockout stage but Buffon is confident.

“I believe this national team is underestimated, it’s a competitive squad, especially for the strength of character of all the players,” the 46-year-old told reporters on Wednesday.

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"This is what surprised me the most and what made me the happiest, seeing their sense of belonging to our nation and the Italy shirt.

"There are four, five or six players that I would say are world-class. We have a great group, but we also have some great players that can help us play a good competition."

Buffon, who played 176 times for Italy and lifted the World Cup in 2006, is serving as head of delegation with the Italian national team at the Euros.

Meanwhile...

Italy wrapped up their preparations for their European Championship defence with a narrow 1-0 home win over Bosnia and Herzegovina, ensuring they will enter this summer’s tournament on the back of a six-game unbeaten run.

Italy boss Luciano Spalletti opted to make wholesale changes from the side that started Tuesday’s goalless draw against Turkey.

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One of those to come in was goalkeeper Gianluigi Donarumma, who was quickly forced into action in the first 10 minutes. The Paris Saint-Germain shot-stopper got down low to push Haris Hajradinovic's strike behind for a corner.

Just moments later, Italy put together a flowing move to carve open the Bosnia defence, only for Nikola Katic to make a crucial block to keep out Federico Chiesa's goalbound effort.

Italy continued to probe until their patience was rewarded in the 38th minute when Davide Frattesi produced a sublime first-time finish to guide the ball home from Chiesa’s lofted cross.

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