Ecuador 0 France 0: Valencia sent off as Les Bleus set up last 16 clash with Nigeria

Ecuador 0 France 0: Valencia sent off as Les Bleus set up last 16 clash with Nigeria

Ten-man Ecuador failed to get the win they needed to progress to the FIFA World Cup last 16 as they were held 0-0 by Group E winners France.

The fate of Reinaldo Rueda’s men was always likely to be partly governed by Switzerland’s result against Honduras – with their 3-0 win in Manaus helping to end Ecuador’s hopes.

But an inability to take the chances they created against a much-changed France side, as well as Antonio Valencia’s second-half dismissal, was ultimately the South Americans’ undoing, while France too will recognise the need for improvement ahead of their last-16 clash against Nigeria.

France coach Didier Deschamps made a raft of changes, with France already virtually guaranteed top spot, as the likes of Morgan Schneiderlin, Lucas Digne and Antoine Griezmann all started.

It led to a disjointed performance in certain parts, but Ecuador were unable to find the goal and the win they were always likely to need.

Their chances were dealt a blow when captain Antonio Valencia was sent off for raking his studs down Digne’s knee, and that allowed France to see out the game in relative comfort – continuing to rest players ahead of their next test.

France began with purpose as they pressed and harried Ecuador but they were given an early scare when Jefferson Montero got on the end of Antonio Valencia’s long ball before being crowded out.

The lively Griezmann then pulled an effort wide after 10 minutes as France struggled to convert their possession into clear-cut chances.

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