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Buffon wary of Larsson

Published: Tuesday 15 June 2004, 15.52CET
Gianluigi Buffon has earmarked Henrik Larsson as the player to watch in Italy's next Group C game against Sweden.
by Paolo Menicucci
from Lisbon


Published: Tuesday 15 June 2004, 15.52CET

Buffon wary of Larsson

Gianluigi Buffon has earmarked Henrik Larsson as the player to watch in Italy's next Group C game against Sweden.

Gianluigi Buffon has earmarked Henrik Larsson as the player to watch after seeing Italy's next opponents Sweden demolish Bulgaria yesterday.

Looking ahead
Following the Azzurri's disappointing goalless draw with Denmark, the Italians are already looking ahead to their next game against Sweden on Friday. The Scandinavians were impressive 5-0 victors in the other Group C match, and goalkeeper Buffon said: "I thought Bulgaria played well until Henrik Larsson scored those two goals in the second half.

Larsson fear
"I played against him for Juventus [FC] against Celtic [FC] in the UEFA Champions League," he added, "so I know exactly how good and dangerous he is. I don't hide the fact that I fear him, and Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Freddy Ljungberg too, but I am sure Sweden fear some of our players also."

'Good foundations'
Buffon, who had to make a series of fine saves against Denmark, said of the result: "I prefer to see the glass as half full rather than half empty. The fact we didn't lose against a team that caused us so many problems is a big plus. The defence played really well which is a good foundation to build on."

'No easy games'
The 26-year-old rescued a point for Italy, keeping out efforts from Jon Dahl Tomasson and Dennis Rommedahl in the second half of the game at the Estádio D. Afonso Henriques. "We played an organised and physically strong side. But we know there are no easy games and we are still full of enthusiasm and confidence for the rest of the campaign. We can still show what we can do," said Buffon.

'We must improve'
His belief was echoed by second-half substitute Gennaro Gattuso, who believes Italy can only improve on yesterday's display. "Our strikers were too far advanced, so we could not give them enough support," the midfield player said. "We changed a bit in the second half and played much better, but we must improve. Still, we showed good fighting spirit and commitment, otherwise we could have lost 5-0."

Will to win
Giovanni Trapattoni also expected better things against Sweden. "Our second-half performance was much better than the first," the veteran coach said. "It means we are fine in terms of fitness, and we just have to play to win both our remaining games."

Last updated: 15/06/04 19.04CET

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