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Buffon Plays Down Balotelli Red

Italy goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon has brushed off Mario Balotelli's sending off in their 0-0 draw with Czech Republic, saying that the striker was unlucky.

The AC Milan forward was sent for an early shower 71 minutes in after two bookings and was seen punching and kicking the tunnel after departing the pitch.

Buffon, though, feels that people are making a big deal of something that is not serious.

"I don't see anything serious [in Balotelli's red]. He picked up two yellows and it can happen to anyone, so I think people are reading too much into it," he told Rai Sport.

"What matters is that when he goes onto the pitch, he gives his maximum. It's not an issue of maturity, they are just on-field situations."

Regarding their performance, he added, "It's an important point. In our next matches, we must arrive (on the pitch) with righteous anger, competitive charge, but also the desire to fight. All these components were missing due to not playing for a month," the Juventus man added.

"We struggled to put them into practice. I think it was a problem physically and mentally. When the season ends, you become deflated and are unprepared for matches like this.

"We have also carried heavy loads (over the course of the season). But what matters the most is our allegiance to the national team, which never fails on the part of anyone."

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