The World Cup’s weakest group was coming to a close with things still left to play for, yet the final round of games didn’t look particularly appetising. Wins over HondurasÂ and Switzerland had already sent France through, while Ecuador had lost against their qualification rivals Switzerland and scraped an open encounter with Honduras. The French destruction of Switzerland left them with a good chance of progressing should they get a result against a side with nothing to play for, yet it rarely felt like they would be advancing into the knockout stages.
Felipe Caicedo made way for Michael Arroyo in the Ecuadorian eleven, while Didier Deschamps made a host of changes to his France line-up.
Ecuador rarely looked like scoring, with Mamadou Sakho the perfect player to combat their physical approach. Strangely they actually looked more likely to score after Antonio Valencia was sent off as they decided to just forego any attempts at holding onto the ball for long.
Alexander Dominguez put in an excellent performance in goal, but the French attack wasn’t particularly impressive. Antoine Griezmann came inside, as did Moussa Sissoko, who was a bizarre choice as a right winger, meaning they were very narrow, and Paul Pogba is the only midfielder there with any true creative thrust. Deschamps’ half-hearted attempt to get a goal was to just keep putting more attackers on, but they didn’t exactly seem upset to miss out on a third victory.
France go through in comfort and Ecuador won’t be missed.