SAINTS midfielder Morgan Schneiderlin made an impressive full senior international debut for France last night.
Making his first start, and winning his second cap, the 24-year-old played the full 90 minutes as the French drew 0-0 with Ecuador at The Maracana Stadium.
French boss Didier Deschamps praised 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.”
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.”