Renard aiming to match 1998 Saudi peak
Saudi Arabia set for sixth World Cup
Argentina, Poland and Mexico stand in way of last 16
Head coach Herve Renard led Morocco in Russia four years ago
Saudi Arabia will arrive in Qatar for the FIFA World Cup 2022TM determined to top their previous best result, which was making it to the round of 16 in the United States 28 years ago.
Since competing at Russia 2018, the Green Falcons have undergone a significant makeover, with a new coaching staff in place and several new players breaking into the lineup.
Herve Renard's team has recently been under scrutiny for problems in front of goal after defeating AFC giants Japan and Australia during a fairly straightforward qualification campaign.
Ahead of Saturday's top-six clash between the two clubs, Clevpicks.com will introduce you the Saudi Arabia national football team...
The Saudis suffered identical 1-0 defeats in two friendlies in June against Colombia and Venezuela. Three months later, no goals were scored in either the USA or Ecuador's encounters.
Nevertheless, there have been promising developments in Saudi Arabia's performance as they kick off their World Cup preparations. Four days after winning 1-0 over North Macedonia on October 22, the team drew 1-1 with Albania.
Argentina will be the difficult first opponent for Renard's team in their Qatar campaign. After defeating Robert Lewandowski and Poland, they play Mexico to wrap up their Group C schedule.
Augsburg must be scared of what will happen if a Dortmund striker makes his or her debut the next time they play each other. Haaland set the tone for his goal-filled time in black and yellow by scoring a hat-trick in just 23 minutes after coming off the bench (see below). Aubameyang was one thing, but Haaland was quite another.
Saudi Arabia’s Group C fixtures
Argentina-Saudi Arabia (13:00 local time, Lusail Stadium)
Poland-Saudi Arabia (16:00 local time, Education City Stadium)
Saudi Arabia-Mexico (22:00 local time, Lusail Stadium)
Herve Renard’s approach and tactics
The Frenchman, who oversaw Morocco at the FIFA World Cup Russia 2018TM, is anticipated to play in Qatar with his preferred direct, attacking style.
Renard, a former head coach of Zambia and Ivory Coast, just missed orchestrating Morocco's triumph over Spain in the competition four years ago by scoring an equalizer in stoppage time.
In addition, he triumphed against all odds as Zambia's captain at the 2012 CAF Africa Cup of Nations.
Renard's preferred formation is the 4-3-2-1 set up he regularly employed during Qatar 2022 qualifying, while he used a 4-3-3 set up for those June and September warm-up games.
When attacking, Renard uses the speed of his wide players, while his defensive strategy is centered on a high line and a hard pressing game.
In the Asian qualifying competition, when they only suffered one loss, it was a combination that served the Saudis well. Friendly game outcomes have been inconsistent. But memories of exhibition games will quickly disappear once the World Cup begins, and this will be especially true if Renard's strategy succeeds against Argentina, Poland, and Mexico.
Key player: Salem Al-Dawsari
Renard has a lot of faith in his wingers' speed and ball-handling abilities, especially Salem Al-Dawsari, the star player for the Green Falcons.
Al-Dawsari is anticipated to play a significant part in Qatar because of his talent and the form he has displayed for both his club, Al Hilal, and the national squad.
Al Dawsari has exceptional vision and a knack for making game-winning final passes. He can play almost anywhere in attack, including the second center-forward, right wing, attacking midfielder, and left flank.
He successfully converted the penalty kick to end Saudi Arabia's final Qatar 2022 qualifying match against Australia. Al-Dawsari, the most valuable player in the 2021 AFC Champions League, needs to score twice to tie Sami Al-record Jaber's of three goals for Saudi Arabia in a World Cup.
Despite missing his team's preseason games in September, the forward is expected to be back in time for Qatar 2022 and will likely become one of Saudi Arabia's most important players.
One to watch: Firas Al-Buraikan
The 22-year-old Al-Buraikan, one of the younger players in the Saudi lineup, appears destined for a lengthy international career; this suspicion is strengthened by the fact that he is one of the few native center forwards in Saudi domestic football.
In October 2019, Renard gave Al-Buraikan his first cap and spent a lot of time and effort preparing him for Qatar 2022.
In the national league last year, Al-Buraikan was the top Saudi marksman. He puts a lot of effort into developing the play and is an eager runner down the sides, which fits perfectly with Renard's strategy. In Qatar, he will be the center of attention.
Saudi Arabia at the World Cup
The Green Falcons have only advanced past the group stage once in five World Cup appearances; it was in USA 1994, where they made their tournament debut.
The Saudis were runners-up at the 1992 FIFA Confederations Cup and the second-most successful team in AFC Asian Cup history, but they have had trouble translating their confederation success to the international level.
The Saudis are hopeful that their sixth World Cup appearance—only Tunisia and Morocco have more in the Arab world—will be more successful than their campaigns in 1998, 2002, 2006, and 2018, and that their French coach can lead them into the knockout round.
Saudi Arabia has played in 16 World Cup games thus far, winning just three of them while scoring 11 goals. Sami Al-Jaber is their best shooter in the competition with three targets. Al-Jaber, who split his goals across the World Cups in the USA, France, and Germany, is the only Saudi player to have scored goals at multiple World Cups.
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