It was a magical experience that revived something in all of us and our fans, but it’s come to an end,” an emotional Buffon told media after Germany’s 6-5 penalty shootout win in Bordeaux.
After their quarter-final finished 1-1 in regulation time and neither team scored in extra-time, Italy’s bid to put two forgettable World Cup campaigns behind only unravelled at a dramatic penalty shootout.
Italy spurned the chance to clinch their last four spot when Graziano Pelle hit a pitiful effort wide of the post as the Germans misfired.
That, and other misses, proved costly for Italy later on, as the penalty shootout went to a total of 18 kicks.
After Manchester United defender Matteo Darmian saw his shot saved by Manuel Neuer, Jonas Hector stepped up to beat Buffon and send World Cup holders Germany into a semi-final against either France or Iceland
It’s a shame. When a team (Germany) misses three penalties out of five and you still don’t manage to win it becomes complicated,” said Buffon.
“Sometimes it goes your way, other times it doesn’t. But that’s all a big part of sport, and you have to accept it.
“We wanted to leave this tournament without any regrets and that’s what we will do. We made our people proud and for this we can’t be sorry.”
The match marked manager Antonio Conte’s last game as coach ahead of his move to Premier League giants Chelsea, but Juventus goalkeeper Buffon, 38, indicated the defeat would not hasten his international retirement.
“Personally, I’m fine. I still get fired up by these games and I feel that I’ve still got something to give to this squad,” said Buffon, who believes there is also a big future for Italy’s young team.
“I’m happy and proud to have worked alongside this squad. They (Germany) deserved victory more than us, but this game will serve the lads well.”