Giuseppe Rossi was delighted to bring an end to his two-year goal drought for Italy by scoring in the 2-2 draw against Nigeria.
The Fiorentina striker handed Italy the lead in Monday's friendly at Fulham's Craven Cottage, his first goal on the international stage since June 2011.
Two serious knee injuries while with Villarreal had threatened to derail Rossi's career, but the 26-year-old is back and arguably better than ever, leading the way in the Serie A scoring charts with 11 goals.
His strike against Nigeria, which was eclipsed by efforts from Bright Dike and Shola Ameobi before Emanuele Giaccherini got the leveller, was another sign of his return to global prominence ahead of the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
"Of course I'm happy with the goal and the team's overall performance," he told Rai Sport.
"It's a shame we conceded those goals when we appeared to be in control. We can go home happy with this game.
"More than the goal, it's the performance that counts. We all worked very hard to honour this jersey and I think that's what we did."
Rossi missed Friday's draw against Germany in Milan through tonsillitis but his return to the team and subsequent goal was warmly welcomed by his colleagues.
"It was nice to see the affection from my team-mates," he added. "We have a great group of players and we're all friends off the field too, so these are good foundations to build on.
"We have many great strikers, so any of them can play up front for Italy. The important thing is to give 100 per cent whenever we're called upon.
"I never gave in and still have objectives to achieve, which I am slowly going through and hope to eventually get them all."
|Coach: C. Prandelli|
for G. Rossi 53'
for R. Montolivo 53'
for Thiago Motta 53'
for A. Candreva 66'
for E. Giaccherini 76'
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