7 February 2013 11:45

Gianluigi Buffon has stressed Italy are still improving as a team and that people cannot expect too much from the Euro 2012 finalists yet.

The Azzurri had a difficult evening against Netherlands in an international friendly at the Amsterdam ArenA on Wednesday, and had Marco Verratti to thank for leaving the Dutch capital with a 1-1 draw following the midfielder’s stoppage-time equaliser.

“It’s true that we need a bit more character. We have a lot of young players, though, and are going through a growth process,” Buffon said.

“We will have plenty more tests from here until the Confederations Cup and the World Cup. The younger players have time to improve, and to get in great shape in time for Brazil.

“It always depends a bit on your opponent how you can play. Netherlands were never going to be an easy opponent. They made things difficult for us and it looked as if we were not giving our all.

“The truth is that we were looking to hit them on the counter-attack, though.”

Italy’s next game is the 2014 World Cup qualifier away against Malta on March 26.

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