Captain is first to leave sinking ship
Italian captain Gianluigi Buffon was the
hero for his side as he saved a penalty three minutes from the end of the game
against Romania on June 13 to keep his side in Euro 2008.
On Sunday, Buffon again saved a penalty, this time from Spanish striker Daniel Guiza.
Unfortunately for the 30-year-old Juventus goalkeeper, his Spanish counterpart Iker Casillas saved two, leaving Arsenal midfielder Cesc Fabregas with an opportunity to give victory to his side and send Italy out of the competition.
Fabregas made no mistake to give Spain a 4-2 shoot-out victory and a place in the semi-final against Russia.
But as Spanish players started their victory celebrations near the goal and the Italian players commiserated with each other in the centre circle, a forlorn Buffon headed off the field.
He did not go to his team-mates to console the two players who had failed to score, nor did he not say thank you to the Italian fans, as the other players did. Instead, he walked straight to the dressing room.
He said afterward that he could not apologize for the defeat, as he had done when his side were beaten 3-0 by the Dutch.
"If I had to say sorry every time we lose, I would have to say sorry a lot," Buffon said. "There is not much else to say."
He also did not want to be drawn out on the question whether Italian coach Roberto Donadoni should stay or not.
"This is not my decision and quite frankly, you should not even ask me such a question," Buffon told journalists.
In 2006, he tasted victory in a penalty shoot-out as Italy beat France in the final of the World Cup. This time, he experienced the bitter taste of defeat and probably found it rather hard to swallow, dpa reported.