The striker got on the scoresheet for his nation for the first time in almost six years in the crunch Group F clash
Karim Benzema felt “much joy and pride” after ending his scoreless streak with France.
Benzema bagged a brace as France recorded a 2-2 draw against Portugal in their final Group F fixture on Wednesday.
The Real Madrid talisman equalized from the spot after Cristiano Ronaldo had handed Portugal the lead before adding another from open play quickly after the break.
His brace helped his side finish first in Group F, with France now set to play Switzerland in the last 16.
Benzema had struggled for form ever since returning to Didier Deschamps’s squad after his exile, so much so he was facing calls to get dropped from the line-up.
“[I felt] much joy and pride after scoring,” Benzema told beIN Sports post-match.
“Everyone was waiting for it. There was that pressure on me, but I’m a football player, a professional and I feed off of that.
“It’s nice to score, and in addition we are qualified. I wanted to score in this team because I know that goals are very important in this competition.”
He added to TF1: “I never doubted myself, but I knew there were expectations of me from the country. I managed to score and I’m going to savour it with everybody.”