Wednesday, 8 October 2008

[Azzurri] Amelia ready to cover for Buffon

Marco Amelia insists he is unfazed by the challenge of replacing Italy's number one goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon for the World Cup qualifiers against Bulgaria and Montenegro.

Marco AmeliaThe Palermo 'keeper has found himself thrust into the limelight following the muscular injury sustained by Buffon last weekend, which has ruled the Juventus man out of action for a month.

The 26-year old Amelia is determined to make the most of his opportunity, starting on Saturday against Bulgaria in Sofia.

"I hope to take advantage," said Amelia. "Destiny will see me having to replace Buffon in the national team."

Italy top Group 8 with six points, two more than the Republic of Ireland, after victories against Cyprus and Georgia last month.

The Azzurri take on Bulgaria in Sofia on Saturday before playing host to Montenegro in Lecce four days later, with Amelia set to start in both games.

Amelia is happy to have the chance to show his worth but knows that once Buffon recovers, he will return to be his understudy.

"I know my role in the national team," said Amelia. "With Buffon as the first-choice goalkeeper, all you can do is to be calm, train well and be ready when the time comes to take advantage of the opportunities you get.

"But you don't expect anything else.

"I consider myself fortunate because some other players have had to wait until their thirties to find space in the national team."

Amelia made his senior debut with the national team against the Ivory Coast in 2005 and since then, has only made six appearances for the Azzurri.

"To be honest, I would come to the national team even if it was to carry the water bottles," he said.

Fabio CannavaroItaly captain Fabio Cannavaro believes Buffon's absence will not hinder the Azzurri in their upcoming games.

"I am sorry for Buffon," he said. "He is a great goalkeeper but he is also a friend.

"Nevertheless, all the players that are in the national team are exceptional and there is the right spirit in the team. All of this gives me great confidence and calmness."

Source: Sporting Life

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