It wasn't meant to happen like this. Gianluigi Buffon, one of the legends of the game, exits Europe's greatest stage under a cloud of controversy. A last minute penalty, given by Michael Oliver, prompted a furious reaction from the 40-year-old who swarmed Oliver along with several team mates, eventually getting a straight red for his over zealous protestations.
In the aftermath of the game the Italian was similarly combative arguing that Oliver lacked courage and accused him of having a bin for a heart:
The team gave its all, but a human being cannot destroy dreams like that at the end of an extraordinary comeback on a dubious situation.
Clearly you cannot have a heart in your chest, but a garbage bin. On top of that, if you don’t have the character to walk on a pitch like this in a stadium like this, you can sit in the stands with your wife, your kids, drinking your Sprite and eating crisps.
You cannot ruin the dreams of a team. I could’ve told the referee anything at that moment, but he had to understand the degree of the disaster he was creating.
The fallout of Buffon's explosive interview as well as the circumstances of the penalty and red card have seen the ugly side of Twitter rear it's head once more, with Michael Oliver's wife the subject of vile abuse from Juventus supporters. BBC Journalist Jacqui Oatley tweeted out some of the threat's Oliver's wife has been subjected to and it makes for grim reading.
The former World Cup winner is always held up as one of the gentlemen of the game, but the Juve keeper has shown a serious lack of regret in the wake of his exit from the competition and Gary Lineker has called on Buffon to quell the Twitter trolls by addressing his contentious sending off:
These vituperous attacks on Michael Oliver and his wife are repugnant. Big admirer of Buffon but his behaviour since has been inflammatory and out of order. Oliver was doing his job and hard to argue against his decisions. Understand the emotion but time to defuse it, Gianluigi.
— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) April 14, 2018
The decisions that Michael Oliver made in the dying moments of the game on Wednesday were incredibly cruel on a valiant Juventus team performance, but even if you don't agree with the decisions both are entirely justifiable and don't warrant anything like the abuse the 33-year-old has received for his part in Juventus' and indeed Buffon's exit from the tournament.