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Italy takes 3rd place in shootout

Updated: 2013-07-01 11:06
( Agencies)

Italy takes 3rd place in shootout

Italy's goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon celebrates with teammates Alessandro Diamanti (C) and Leonardo Bonucci (L) after their Confederations Cup third-place playoff soccer match against Uruguay at the Arena Fonte Nova in Salvador on June 30, 2013. [Photo/Agencies]

SALVADOR, Brazil -- Gianluigi Buffon saved three penalty kicks in a shootout and undermanned Italy edged Uruguay 3-2 Sunday to secure third place at the Confederations Cup following a 2-2 draw.

It was a measure of redemption for Italy after a loss to Spain, also in a shootout, in the semifinals.

"The main thing tonight was our character. We showed fantastic character. We never gave up," Italy coach Cesare Prandelli said.

Uruguay, meanwhile, has now lost seven of eight bronze-medal matches at the World Cup, Copa America and Confederations Cup, including a loss to Germany at the 2010 World Cup.

This shootout capped an entertaining match at the Arena Fonte Nova, where Alessandro Diamanti scored one goal and set up another for Italy, and Edinson Cavani equalized twice for Uruguay.

"Today would have been tough if we hadn't had this character," Buffon said. "We showed what we're worth down to the end. It would have been upsetting to not win because playing this match two days after the game vs. Spain was very difficult. But we went out with the right spirit."

Italy defender Davide Astori opened the scoring in the 24th minute after Diamanti's free kick rattled the post. Cavani equalized for Uruguay in the 58th with an angled shot.

Diamanti restored Italy's lead in the 73rd with another free kick that went in directly. Not to be outdone, Cavani drew Uruguay even again five minutes later with an equally splendid free kick.

In the shootout, the 35-year-old Buffon set the tone by stopping the first shot from Diego Forlan, then also saved against Martin Caceres's weak attempt before smothering Walter Gargano's effort to end the game.

"I told my players before the match, 'It's Italy, boys, so watch out," Uruguay coach Oscar Tabarez said. "You can't just go by what you read in the newspapers. Even if they were tired they played a great match. They controlled the ball possession in first half and they made us suffer."

Alberto Aquilani, Stephan El Shaarawy and Emanuele Giaccherini converted for Italy, while Mattia De Sciglio's shot was blocked by Uruguay goalkeeper Fernando Muslera.

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