France advanced assuredly into the FIFA World Cup round of 16 after a 0-0 draw with an Ecuador team who played most of the second half reduced to ten men.
With two victories already to their name, Didier Deschamps' men began and ended the final Group E matchday top of the pile, this Rio de Janeiro stalemate giving them a one-point finishing advantage over Switzerland who came in second. Their reward will be a tie against Group F runners-up Nigeria.
A French side showing six changes from last Friday's 5-2 win against the Swiss largely controlled first-half proceedings at the Maracana. When goalkeeper Alexander Dominguez grasped at thin air, Karim Benzema was unable to meet Bacary Sagna's inviting right-wing cross.
Dominguez at least tipped over a Paul Pogba header as half-time approached. Moments later Enner Valencia – who earlier led perhaps Ecuador's best counterattack only to be thwarted by an outrushing Hugo Lloris – drew a low save from the France goalkeeper with a back-post header.
The lively finish to the opening period perhaps betrayed the fact that, with Switzerland comfortably ahead against Honduras in the other group fixture,