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France top group after draw with Ecuador

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France top group after draw with Ecuador
France qualify safely for the knock out phase of the World Cup finals on Wednesday. Photo: Franck Fife/AFP
23:53 CEST+02:00
France qualified for the knock-out phase of the World Cup after a 0-0 draw with Ecuador at the Maracana stadium in Rio di Janeiro on Wednesday. France will now play Nigeria in the last 16.

Didier Deschamps' French side will face a last 16 tie against Nigeria after drawing 0-0 with Ecuador in Rio di Janeiro on Wednesday.

France controlled the match against and had numerous chances to score but could not find a way past Ecuador's goalkeeper Alexander Dominguez.

The South American side were reduce to ten men when winger Antonio Valencia was sent off in the second half for a dangerous tackle on France's Lucas Digne.

France, who had scored eight goals in their two previous games, powered forward from the start.

But through luck, determination, bad finishing and brilliant goalkeeping by Alexander Dominguez, Ecuador resisted even after captain and Manchester United winger Antonio Valencia was ordered off early in the second half for a studs up challenge on Lucas Digne.

The South Americans had chances to steal the game from the French, but bowed out of the World Cup as Switzerland beat Honduras 3-0 to grab second place in Group E. The Swiss will now play Argentina in the last 16.

Ecuador's goalkeeper Dominguez was constantly in the thick of the action

He parried away one cross that just kept the ball away from Karim Benzema who was stood before an open goal. Dominguez also made a desperate stretch to keep out a Paul Pogba header.

Ecuador midfielder Christian Noboa was less lucky when he suffered a head wounded in an aerial skirmish. Blood seeped through the bandage he wore through the game.

Almost straight from the restart, Bakary Sagna fired the ball into the penalty area and Antoine Griezmann deftly directed it towards the goal. Dominguez's reflex save pushed the ball onto the post and away to safety.

Valencia then lunged in clumsily on Paris St Germain defender Digne and scraped his studs up and down the Frenchman's leg.

Ecuador still held the French attack at bay. Blaise Matuidi fired straight at Dominguez from point blank and Benzema saw a shot deflected wide.

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