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By ESPN Staff
Nov 16, 2007

Buffon: Iaquinta can be Italy's wild card

Italy goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon believes Juventus team-mate Vincenzo Iaquinta could be the surprise element in Saturday's crucial European Championship qualifier against Scotland.

Iaquinta is expected to start on the bench but Italy coach Roberto Donadoni could spring a surprise and use the striker from the start at Hampden Park.

The 28-year-old was a member of Italy's World Cup-winning squad but was only used as a bit-part player by former coach Marcello Lippi.

'Iaquinta is one of the most in-form players of Serie A at the moment,' Buffon said.

'I think he can make a big contribution on Saturday.

'He has so much hunger, so much enthusiasm to consolidate himself on the international scene.'

But Buffon believes Italy's strong strike force will face an arduous task finding a way past opposite number Craig Gordon in the Scotland goal.

'I think he is a great goalkeeper at international level,' Buffon said.

'Gordon is the best goalkeeper to have emerged from Scotland in recent years and his transfer to Sunderland proved what a valuable player he is.

'He has a very promising career in Europe.'

Buffon knows he will have a busy night, with Scotland also providing a threat up front.

'Scotland have good players, especially in attack, like Kenny Miller and James McFadden,' Buffon said.

'We will have to keep a close eye on them - they both have very good technical skills.'

Italy will also need a huge contribution from their number one and Buffon is ready and focused on the game.

'I hope that I can be up for the challenge,' he said.

'There are certain games that you need to be at your best and this is one of them.

'We all have a responsibility and we know that we need to be ready in order to achieve our aim.

'The important thing is for everyone to play a crucial role in this team.'


• US-based users will be able to watch the match LIVE on (ESPN 360