Buffon message inspires Italy success
Thursday, 2 June 2011
Italy coach Corrado Corradini revealed that a pre-game boost – a signed shirt sent by Gianluigi Buffon – helped inspire his players to a win against Switzerland that sealed their progress.
Article top media content
Italy coach Corrado Corradini revealed Gianluigi Buffon played a helping hand as the UEFA European Women's Under-19 Championship hosts advanced with a game to spare, sealing a 2012 FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup place with it. Katia Coppola's late goal earned a 1-0 win in Group A against Switzerland, who are already looking forward to Sunday's "final" with Russia.
Corrado Corradini, Italy coach
Ahead of the game we received a jersey from Buffon with 'Forza Azzurre' written on it and the signatures of the rest of the Italy senior squad. He wanted to congratulate us on our victory against Russia and wish us luck for this game. The girls went mad; it was a great morale-boost for them.
Playing against Switzerland is always physically difficult, very tiring. I hope they qualify for the semi-finals and join us at the World Cup as it was a very even game and I don't think we could have had any complaints if it had ended 0-0. Their attackers were both very good: [Cora] Canetta is very powerful and [Eseosa] Aigbogun very quick – it was difficult to deal with them.
For us, Marta Mason was very good when she came on in the second half. She is a bit like [Antonio] Cassano or [Mario] Balotelli, 'gioia e dolori' – happiness and pain – she is a great talent but we have to handle her properly.
I don't really care who we face in the semi-finals even if Germany are the strongest team here. Our goal was to qualify for the World Cup, we managed it and the girls will go into the semi-final free of pressure. It doesn't mean we won't give a fight – I was born to fight – but we have to play with joy because we have already achieved a great result.
Yannick Schwery, Switzerland coach
I congratulate Italy. It was a very good game, played at an extremely high level. It was a tough battle, especially in midfield with both sides trying to take control of the game. Our players are perhaps not used to playing at such a high tempo and Italy were on top towards the end of the game as we tired.
We were confident because the girls were in good form but we must not forget that our team is still very young, with many players born in 1993. Maybe they paid for the pressure of playing in front of so many spectators [1,100] today.
Now we have a final against Russia and we will not play for a draw even if it would be enough for us. We will play for victory – we always do.