Ecuador and France faced off in their final group match, but the match was a lot more important to Ecuador, because the result effected their advancement directly. Ecuador had the ability to win the match, but it just could not deliver. Ecuador made many attempts, but playing a team like France is not easy.
The Ecuadorians were fighting against Switzerland for second place in group E and a spot in the next round. When they played each other during group stage, Switzerland came out on top, which should have been a sign for Ecuador. Early in its match against Honduras, Switzerland was up by two which meant it would most likely win. Switzerland did win, and Ecuador needed to win to avoid elimination.
Of course, this was not something players could know during the match, but they should have gone into the match playing as if they needed the win — because they did.
Ecuador did play a decent match, but it was just not enough. Ecuador played as if they didn’t need to win even though they did. Early in the second half, Antonio Valencia was given a straight red for a studs-up challenge against Lucas Digne, which left Digne on ground for several minutes. Valencia became the first player in Ecuador’s history to be sent off, which is not something to be proud of.
Despite being down a man, the Ecuadorians were able to play well against France, but a lot of that is due to Alexander Dominguez‘s goalkeeping.
There were many missed shots on both sides; both teams were attacking, but the defenses were not letting anyone slip by. Dominguez played an incredible match as a goalkeeper for Ecuador; he made several incredible saves to make sure Ecuador kept a clean sheet and in hopes of making it easier for his team to win.
Unfortunately, his team let him down, because no matter how many balls he kept away from the net, Ecuador could not score any of their own. It was a really disappointing match to watch, but France were clearly the better team.