Draw enough for France
RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) – France drew 0-0 with ten-man Ecuador to advance to the second round of the World Cup today, while the South Americans will be going home from the tournament.
In the other final Group E game, Switzerland defeated 3-0 Honduras to finish in second place and join France in the knockout stages.
Ecuador were down to ten men short at Rio’s Maracana stadium after Antonio Valencia was shown a straight red card in the 50th minute for digging his studs into the leg of French defender Lucas Digne.
But Ecuador may feel upset that France centre half Mamadou Sakho was not shown a red card in the eighth minute when he appeared to elbow Oswaldo Minda in the face during a France corner.
Then, in a late incident off the ball, France forward Olivier Giroud jabbed his elbow in to Gabriel Achilier, who was standing behind him.
France coach Didier Deschamps made six changes to his starting line-up, knowing his side was all but assured of advancing.
France came closest to scoring when Antoine Griezmann hit the post in the 47th and then missed a string of late chances as their much-vaunted attacked failed to live up to the hype generated by last Friday’s 5-2 win against Switzerland.
An inspired Ecuador went close in the 82nd when substitute midfielder Alex Ibarra broke down the right, cut inside centre half Raphael Varane, and saw his powerful strike beaten away by goalkeeper Hugo Lloris.
Moments later, France striker Karim Benzema played a one-two with Giroud but stroked a casual shot that goalkeeper Alexander Dominguez easily saved.
Dominguez had an outstanding match, denying substitute Loic Remy with a brilliant leaping save from the forward’s curling shot in the 87th minute.
Giroud should then have scored in injury time but planted a free header straight into Dominguez’s hands.
Group E Results
Switzerland 2, Ecuador 1
France 3, Honduras 0
Switzerland 2, France 5
Honduras 1, Ecuador 2
Ecuador 0, France 0
Honduras 0, Switzerland 3
Group E Standings
Teams Matches Wins Draws Losses Goals For Goals Against Points
France 3 2 1 0 8 2 7
Switzerland 3 2 0 1 7 6 6
Ecuador 3 1 1 1 3 3 4
Honduras 3 0 0 3 1 8 0