France centre-back Mamadou Sakho has defended his elbow to the face of Ecuador's Oswaldo Minda during Les Bleus’ final World Cup Group E match in Rio de Janeiro on Wednesday.
The incident occurred during the seventh minute of the clash during a set-piece, with the South American fortunately escaping without an injury.
Referee Noumandiez Doue failed to send the 24-year-old off, a decision which Ecuador coach Reinaldo Rueda labelled as "regrettable" following the match.
Sakho has now revealed that he did not mean to hurt Minda and will accept any punishment that FIFA chooses to give for the incident.
"By jumping, it makes me nudge him. Perhaps it can be dangerous, it could open up the game,” he was quoted as saying in L’Equipe.
“The referee made his decision, I respect it.
"If they [FIFA] think I deserve [punishment], they will make their decision. I always play to respect the opposition. And I would like my opponents to respect me.
"It [the elbow] was to protect me then. I'm not there to do bad [things] or to hurt people.
“I rarely got yellow cards or red cards. I have a hard game, but, not a bad game.”
France will face Nigeria in the last 16 in Brasilia on June 30 after Didier Deschamps’ men finished as winners of Group E.
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