Morgan Schneiderlin has described playing for France in the World Cup as “a dream come true”.

The Saints midfielder was handed his competitive debut for his country in last night’s 0-0 draw against Ecuador, at the Maracanã, in Rio de Janeiro.

The result ensured that France finished at the top of Group E, setting up a last 16 tie with Nigeria, on Monday.

"It's a dream come true," said the 24-year-old, who won praise for his performance from manager Didier Deschamps.

"Playing at the Maracanã — such a mythical stadium — is incredible. I tried to ignore the context and concentrate on the match."

Schneiderlin added: "I'd like to thank the coach, because it's never easy to give someone with no caps their first start at the Maracanã.

"I hope I didn't disappoint him. I gave my all. I'm brimming with happiness, but from tomorrow onwards, I'll have to shake away all these little stars around my head, because there are still targets ahead."