France have qualified as the top team in the FIFA World Cup’s Group E after a 0-0 draw with Ecuador in Rio de Janeiro, and they will face Nigeria in the last 16. As a result of the French victory, the South Americans are out, with Switzerland advancing in second after thumping Honduras.
Les Bleus’ coach Didier Deschamps made a number of changes to his side at Estadio do Maracana, leading to a tepid display from the French.
5 - #FRA have drawn more games 0-0 at World Cups since 1998 than any other nation (5 times). Stuck.— OptaJean (@OptaJean) June 25, 2014
Ecuador captain Antonio Valencia’s red card early in the second half made it difficult for Reinaldo Rueda’s men, and they could not find a way to get past Hugo Lloris. However, Alexander Dominguez was also in inspired form, keeping Les Tricolores out at the other end.
Despite a relatively tame performance, Deschamps was delighted after the final whistle per FIFA.com.
"We’re in the last 16, which was our objective," he said. "It’s going to take more than a draw to stop me from feeling happy about that."
"I made a lot of changes for this match, but the objective was the same. We did everything we could to score, but you can’t win every match 3-0, and while I know we weren’t quite as effective as we were against Switzerland, Ecuador are a very fine side who have a lot of pace up front."
Opposite number Reinaldo Rueda was disappointed, but rued the opening 2-1 defeat to Switzerland more than the France result itself.
"It’s been a very short tournament. We’ve paid for our bad performance against Switzerland at the start, knowing that we were going to be finishing off against France," he reflected. "We tried to play our best football, but my players have had a long season and didn’t arrive at the World Cup in the greatest shape."
Here are six things we learned from France versus Ecuador 0-0 draw.