Gigi Buffon has increased the pressure on his international teammates by today claiming that the Azzurri will reach the World Cup Final.
The Juventus ‘keeper made the semi-serious statement on an Italian radio show this afternoon which would have pleased Italy boss Marcello Lippi.
“I’m optimistic about the World Cup Finals,” Buffon told Viva Radio 2 on Friday. “I think Italy aspire to bringing home the trophy.
“I think we have a 95 per cent chance of winning the tournament, with a five per cent chance of coming second.”
The shot-stopper will certainly be hoping for a better tournament than four years ago in Japan and South Korea.
Although he saved a penalty in the second round match against South Korea, he wasn’t able to stop the co-hosts beating the Azzurri on the Golden Goal rule.
The ex-Parma man will also be desperate to make amends for the 2004 European Championships when Giovanni Trapattoni’s side failed to progress past the group stages.
Italy will go into the German event in confident mood after comfortably qualifying and showing well in recent games.
They collected a highly encouraging 3-1 win in Holland late last year and then stuffed World Cup hosts Germany 4-1 in Florence at the start of this month.
Italy will face the Czech Republic, Ghana and the United States of America in the initial phase of Germany 2006.