Morgan Schneiderlin put in an accomplished performance on his full international debut as France played out a goalless draw with Ecuador.
With wins from their first two 2014 FIFA World Cup group fixtures, Les Bleus were already certain of their place in the last 16.
That, along with a suspension to Yohan Cabaye, prompted Didier Deschamps to bring in Schneiderlin as one of six alterations to the team that beat Switzerland last Friday.
That meant the Saints midfielder made his first appearance at the World Cup and won his second cap following a brief substitute appearance in a pre-World Cup friendly against Jamaica.
Schneiderlin looked more than at home during the first half at the Maracanã in Rio De Janeiro, showing some good touches and making a customary interception.
Ecuador, who were chasing second place in the group, were reduced to ten men at the start of the second half when Manchester United’s Antonio Valencia was shown a straight red card.
With a man over, France had the better of the second half but could not find a way past the Ecuadorian goalkeeper.
Schneiderlin even had a go at goal himself but his 72nd-minute effort flew over the South Americans’ crossbar.
With Deschamps using all three of his substitutions by the 80-minute mark, the Saints played the full game on his international debut.
France finish top of Group E and progress through to the last 16, where they face Nigeria on Sunday.