Alessandro Matri admits he “never expected to score on my debut” and explains how he got the goal in Kiev.
“I never expected to score on my debut. We got the win, which is even more important,” he said after Italy's 2-0 victory over Ukraine.
They were already leading 1-0 when substitute Matri gathered Sebastian Giovinco's backheel flick on the counter and finished with an angled drive in off the upright.
“I thanked Sebastian for the assist, even though I ran for 20 metres calling him! I saw he started to slow down a little and knew he had spotted me, as he's always so good at seeing his teammates. I got a little scared, as I hit the upright first!
“It's my first game, so I am prepared for anything and know I have to do well in Serie A to reach the Nazionale.”
It has been said this week that many of the Juventus players look in better shape on international duty than at club level, so is there a difference in psychological pressure?
“I feel happy at Juventus and Italy, as both are dreams for me. Wearing these jerseys are what a player dreams of since childhood,” said Matri.
“I had 30 minutes to play, so I gave my absolute all in that condensed period. I felt pressure, even though it was a friendly, as it was my Azzurri debut.
“It was certainly a positive performance from everyone and the victory made it even better.”
Matri commented on another debutant, as former Cagliari teammate Davide Astori received a second yellow card for kicking the ball away.
“I know Davide and he said he hadn't heard the referee's whistle. In fact, if you look at it he kicked it in a way to clear, not just to kick it out of touch.”