The midfielder was voted Man of the Match after his sensational free kick on the night he celebrated his Azzurri century.
"It's a wonderful feeling to reach 100 caps and mark it with a goal at the historic Maracanà. It was something I could only dream of since childhood.
"It was a free kick, one of my goals. I am happy with the victory and that I made the fans happy. The goalkeeper? He jumped for it and perhaps thought he wasn't going to get there, so pulled out.
"In fact, I should've scored more goals tonight, but the one I put under the wall was charged down by my teammates! Another was wide, oh well.
"It wasn't easy to play in this heat and atmosphere, but the opening game is always fundamental, as it helps your confidence going forward in the tournament.
"We opted for a different system with Riccardo Montolivo trying to get between the lines. It went fairly well, we know that we can improve it and have the time to work on that."