Buffon is one of the last survivors of Italy’s golden generation of 2006 World Cup winners. REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach
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Italy must not panic as they bid to avoid missing a World Cup for the first time in 60 years, goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon said after a 1-0 playoff defeat to Sweden pushed them to the brink of disaster. Captain Buffon – bidding to reach a record sixth World Cup finals in Russia – is one of the last survivors of Italy's golden generation of 2006 World Cup winners.Former Italian international Andrea Pirlo believes it is dangerous for the four-time World Cup winners to rely too heavily on the atmosphere generated by 65,000 frenetic fans in the San Siro to squeeze through.The last time Italy failed to reach the World Cup was for the 1958 tournament in Sweden.Buffon is one of three 2006 World Cup-winning veterans – the others are De Rossi, 34, and 36-year-old defender Andrea Barzagli – still in the team.Italy last won the World Cup in 2006 under Marcello Lippi.
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