No. 1. (Getty)
Coming off an exhausting shootout loss to Spain in the semifinals, Italy and goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon in particular were eager to end their Confederations Cup experience by washing out that bitter taste in the third-place game against Uruguay. A pair of second-half Edinson Cavani goals kept Italy from finishing off the 2011 Copa America winners in regular time, and once again, extra time only provided another 30 minutes to wear the players out even more. So for the second straight match, Italy were faced with a penalty shootout and this time, Gigi Buffon remembered that he's Gigi Buffon.
Uruguay's Diego Forlan opened the shootout and was promptly shut down by Buffon. Italy then made their first two attempts before defender Mattia De Sciglio missed on their third, allowing Uruguay to pull even. Buffon then decided he'd had enough and stopped consecutive shots from his Juventus teammate Martin Caceres and, finally, Walter Gargano to win third place for Italy.
No. 2. (Getty)
No. 3. (Getty)
After the match, Buffon admitted how much he wanted to make up for the fact that he couldn't save a single penalty in the shootout against Spain days earlier. From Football Italia:
“We struggled during the game, but fought to the end and seeing as against Spain I couldn’t give my teammates joy, I did it today – albeit a bit late.
“It would’ve been disappointing not to win, as playing after two days in this heat it was so hard, but we had the right spirit and once again honoured the jersey in the best possible way.
“Today was difficult to judge, as the fact we walked on to the pitch rather than crawled was a miracle in itself. Managing to win shows just what our potential really is.”
And now, Italy can return home and sleep for about three weeks straight.
Third place excitement. (Getty)
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