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Buffon: Italy Must Prove itself Against France

The Azzurri will have another chance to prove themselves as world champions next Wednesday when Italy takes on France in a Euro 2008 qualifying match in Paris. Italian goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon, one of Italy's most important players during its World Cup campaign, said, "Everyone will look at us differently. Against France, it will be important not to lose. We have to prove ourselves and show that we didn't beat them by luck in Berlin." Buffon is one of 14 players in the 24-man squad recalled to the national team after Italy's World Cup victory in July. Strikers Francesco Totti, Luca Toni, Alessandro Del Piero and Vicenzo Iaquinta have all been left out of the squad. The world champions have already lost since the finals, a largely second-string team losing 2-0 to Croatia on Aug. 16. Italy's players could be a bit rusty as the start of the Serie A season has been pushed back due to the match-fixing scandal. Buffon added that he will not be leaving Juentus, regardless of whether the club fails in its bid to be reinstated to Serie A. "I decided to stay at Juventus as recognition of the way they raised my profile at a world level,"he said. "It only seemed right at such a delicate moment to give a precise signal of support."

Read the whole story at Reuters UK »

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