Karim Benzema said his opening goal in France's 2-0 win over Bosnia-Herzegovina on Tuesday night was the most important he has scored for Les Bleus.
France were under considerable pressure to secure a result in Sarajevo following a home defeat to Belarus in their opening Euro 2012 qualifier and goals from Benzema and in-form Chelsea winger Florent Malouda gave them three important points.
Benzema, who has now scored seven times in 26 appearances for his country, was pleased to open France's account in competitive fixtures under new coach Laurent Blanc.
"This was the most important goal I have ever scored for France," Benzema told the French Federation's official website. "Friday against Belarus, we did not win and failed to take points at home and today was a difficult game away.
"I was lucky to score the first goal. We stuck together and it is good for the future. It's nice to score in major events, especially since everyone expected France and me to fire.
"I know the pressure and what these kind of matches mean. Everyone played a great game, including the younger people. I'm only 22 and still have everything to prove. I knew I had to play a big game and take my opportunities."
After overseeing defeats to Norway and Belarus in his opening two games as coach, Blanc was delighted with a much-improved display as France secured their first points in Group D.
"Our use of the ball was very good and, contrary to what happened on Friday, we got forward quickly," Blanc told AFP. "The fact we played deeper allowed us to create space and we have players up front such as Karim, who like space. We produced a marvellous result tonight."