2022 World Cup: Country factfile – Saudi Arabia | The Citizen

Factfile on Saudi Arabia who are in World Cup Group C: 

Best World Cup performance: Round of 16 in 1994

Other notable performances:  AFC Asian Cup winners in 1984, 1988, 1996

FIFA ranking: 51

Main clubs: Al-Hilal, Al-Nassr, Al-Ittihad

How they qualified: Saudi Arabia finished first in Asia zone qualifying Group B

Coach: Herve Renard, 54, was appointed to lead the Green Falcons in 2019. The Frenchman played as a defender for multiple clubs in his home country before embarking on a coaching career in 1999 that has involved stints in Europe, Asia and Africa. He won the Africa Cup of Nations with Zambia in 2012, and followed that up by making Ivory Coast champions of the same tournament in 2015 –- becoming the first manager to win it with different teams. Renard had less success in the Africa Cup of Nations with Morocco, resigning in 2019 after a surprise early loss to Benin.

Key player: Winger Salem al-Dawsari, nicknamed “Tornado”, is participating in his second World Cup after the 2018 tournament in Russia, where he scored the deciding goal in a 2-1 win over Egypt in the final seconds. He has also notched goals in the 2019 Asian Cup and the 2021 Olympic Games in Tokyo. During World Cup qualifiers, the 31-year-old saved Saudi Arabia from a humiliating loss to Yemen, scoring to force a 2-2 draw. He also gave his team three valuable points by scoring the winner against Uzbekistan, again in the dying seconds.

Group fixtures

November 22: Argentina v Saudi Arabia

November 26: Poland v Saudi Arabia

November 30: Saudi Arabia v Mexico

Squad to be selected from:

Goalkeepers: Mohammed Al-Owais (Al-Hilal), Mohammed Al Rubaie Al-Yami (Al-Ahli), Amin Bukhari (Al-Nassr), Nawaf Al-Aqidi (Al-Nassr)

Defenders: Saud Abdulhamid (Al-Hilal), Yasser Al-Shahrani (Al-Hilal), Mohammed Al-Breik (Al-Hilal), Ali Al-Bulaihi (Al-Hilal), Sultan Al-Ghanam (Al-Nassr), Hassan Tambakti (Al-Shabab), Abdulelah Al-Amri (Al-Nassr), Ziyad Al-Sahafi (Al-Taawoun), Ali Lajami (Al-Nassr), Abdullah Madu (Al-Nassr), Ahmed Bamsaud (Al-Ittihad)

Midfielders: Salman Al-Faraj (Al-Hilal), Salem Al-Dawsari (Al-Hilal), Abdullah Otayf (Al-Hilal), Hattan Bahebri (Al-Shabab), Mohamed Kanno (Al-Hilal), Sami Al-Najei (Al-Nassr), Ali Al-Hassan (Al-Nassr), Nasser Al-Dawsari (Al-Hilal), Abdulrahman Al-Aboud (Al-Ittihad), Fahad Al-Muwallad (Al-Shabab), Nawaf Al-Abed (Al-Shabab), Riyadh Sharahili (Abha), Awad Al-Nashri (Al-Ittihad)

Forwards: Firas Al-Buraikan (Al-Fateh), Abdullah Al-Hamdan (Al-Hilal), Saleh Al-Shehri (Al-Hilal), Haitham Asiri (Al-Ahli), Haroune Camara (Al-Ittihad)

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