France coach Didier Deschamps spoke of his satisfaction at finishing first in their group after seeing off a spirited challenge by Ecuador in Rio’s Maracana.
Les Bleus secured top spot in Group E and a last 16 showdown with Nigeria despite being held to a 0-0 draw by Ecuador, who had their Manchester United winger Antonio Valencia sent off for a two-footed lunge on Lucas Digne.
Deschamps, who had made a six changes to his starting line-up said: “I’m satisfied, we have finished first in our group, we are qualified for the knockout round and all is well.
“My team selection was not by chance and it’s important that all players get into the rhythm. Now we have five days to prepare for our game against Nigeria.
“They had a team with 10 players in front of us defending well, we had an enormous number of chances and we are disappointed we were not as effective as in our previous matches.
“Some people thought we were the kings of the world after beating Switzerland [5-2] but Ecuador showed they have qualities, and Argentina had a difficult match against Nigeria.
“Nigeria are a strong fast team who have great qualities and it is going to be a really difficult match and we will have to fight.”
France’s Liverpool defender Mamadou Sakho could easily have been dismissed had match officials seen an elbow on Oswaldo Minda early on in the game, but Deschamps added: “I didn’t see that - we had a number of duels, it was a tough match.”
Deschamps also praised Southampton’s midfielder Morgan Schneiderlin for an impressive World Cup debut.
He said: “He plays for a club that is not one of the most high-profile and he may not be that well-known, but he can play in front of the back four and he did very well.”
Ecuador coach Reinaldo Rueda said the sending off of Valencia had been a turning point.
Rueda said: “It is quite unfortunate everything that happened. I am very respectful of the referees and these issues are water under the bridge - there is nothing to be done.
“We lost an important man and we suffered from it.
“It’s quite unfortunate some of the decisions made by the referee did not favour us but that’s in the hands of the people who have to analyse the performance of the referee.”
Rueda admitted that the match against Switzerland when Ecuador conceded the winning goal in injury time had proved critical.
He added: “This has been a short tournament for us, we paid the price for that first match when we lost against Switzerland.”