Buffon: It was Italy's destiny
By Chris Stanton
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Gianluigi Buffon has heaped praise on his team-mates for not becoming distracted.
Gianluigi Buffon has heaped praise on his Italian team-mates for not allowing the distraction of the Serie A match-fixing trial to prevent them claiming a place in the World Cup final.
Italy booked their final place after a dramatic extra-time victory over host nation Germany in Dortmund on Tuesday, despite the cloud hanging over many of the national team's players' clubs.
The goalkeeper, whose side Juventus could be relegated to Serie C if found guilty at the ongoing trial, believes Marcello Lippi's side deserve tremendous credit for retaining their focus.
"We are playing in the biggest world competition and the match-fixing scandal has never distracted us from our goal," said Buffon.
Arguably the tournament's most impressive goalkeeper following a series of flawless performances, Buffon believes it was his side's destiny to take their place in the final.
"We are aware of the significance of this win but there is still one game left and if we win it, it would be even more amazing than what we are experiencing now," Buffon said.
"I think it was destiny. I think if we hadn't scored and the game had gone to penalties, we would have lost.
"To have waited until the 118th minute to score a goal means it could have gone the other way.
"We have given a brave performance, we have suffered but we haven't conceded much. We have played away from home and it wasn't easy."
The Azzurri now await the winners of France's semi-final with Portugal on Wednesday but Buffon claims he is not unduly worried about the identity of his side's next opponent.
"We don't mind who we face next," Buffon said.
"I just hope whoever plays against us will be tired. The final surely cannot be as difficult as this game was tonight."