Saudi Arabia

Pedigree Qualification might have been a breeze for Coach Hervé Renard’s team, but Saudi Arabia’s reputation as one of Asia’s powerhouses is in flux. While it won its first game at a World Cup finals for 20 years in 2018, that came after missing out on both 2010 and 2014. The Saudis have not even made the quarterfinals of the Asian Cup since 2007.

Ambition The canny, experienced and open-neck-shirted Renard is a smart appointment for a country that has to make the most of a squad drawn exclusively from its domestic league. The sense remains, though, that departing the tournament with a better record than Qatar is all that matters.

Key Question There are only two teams in the tournament without a single player in a major European league: the host nation and Saudi Arabia. Received wisdom would make that an insurmountable obstacle to winning a game, let alone qualifying for the last 16. Saudi Arabia must disprove it.

Comments are Closed