Gianluigi Buffon emerged as the hero for Italy with three saves in the penalty shoot-out as the Azzurri beat Uruguay 3-2 on spot kicks at the end of a 2-2 draw to seal third spot at the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup.
Italy missed out on a place in the final after losing to Spain on penalties in the last four, but they were not to be denied a second time as Buffon kept out efforts from Diego Forlán, Martín Cáceres and Walter Gargano to clinch the consolation prize in Salvador.
It was Cesare Prandelli's side who had managed to land the first blow as well, going ahead through Davide Astori on 24 minutes. There was a hint of luck about their opener, though, as Astori knocked the ball in after an Alessandro Diamanti free-kick had rebounded off the crossbar and hit Uruguay goalkeeper Fernando Muslera before bouncing in front of an open goal.
Edinson Cavani had a headed effort ruled out for offside as Uruguay looked to respond, but the SSC Napoli striker eventually found the net close to the hour mark when he side-footed past Buffon. Forlán then came close to putting the South American side ahead, only to be denied by a fantastic double save from Buffon.
Moments later, Diamanti sent the Azzurri back in front with a superb free-kick, which was matched by Cavani 12 minutes from time to take the game into extra time. With no further goals forthcoming, it was left to penalties to separate the sides, and although Muslera thwarted Mattia De Sciglio, Buffon settled the contest when he kept out Gargano low to his left to complete a trio of spot-kick saves.
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