France midfielder Morgan Schneiderlin said that playing at Rio de Janeiro's fabled Maracana had fulfilled a lifelong ambition, after his side's 0-0 draw against Ecuador on Wednesday.
"It's a dream come true," said the 24-year-old Southampton player, who was making his competitive debut for his country.
"Playing at the Maracana, such a mythical stadium, is incredible. I tried to ignore the context and concentrate on the match."
Schneiderlin joined Southampton in 2008 and was a member of the squad that slumped into the English third tier before recovering to reach the Premier League in 2012.
He was only called into the France squad after an injury to Clement Grenier and having made his debut against Jamaica earlier this month, he has now sampled one of the world's most famous stadiums.
"I'd like to thank the coach (Didier Deschamps), because it's never easy to give someone with no caps their first start at the Maracana," he added.
"I hope I didn't disappoint him. I gave my all. I'm brimming with happiness, but from tomorrow onwards, I'll have to shake away all these little stars around my head, because there are still targets ahead."
The draw against Ecuador secured France's place at the top of Group E and means that they will face Nigeria in the last 16 in Brasilia on Monday.