LUSAIL, Qatar – For a competition usually won by a global heavyweight, the World Cup is still a place of shock. But even in a tournament that can spring a surprise or two, Saudi Arab2-1 win Argentina Tuesday still managed to stun the planet.
The result at the Lusail Stadium was so unexpected that it immediately sparked debate as to whether it was the biggest World Cup upset ever. cameroonwho beat Argentina in 1990, or Senegalwho outperformed the defending champions France In 2002, there may have been something to be said about it over time, but Hervé Renard’s side is now very much a part of the conversation.
Renard said, “We have made history for Saudi football, it will always be so.” “When you are coming to the World Cup, you need to believe in yourself. Everything can happen in football.”
“We knew that Saudi Arabia is a team with good players, that they move the ball well and that they push [defensive] Too many lines. We worked on it, but we did it a little too quickly. We have to go back to the basis of who we are. We have to think about what’s next.”
“I am very pleased with the result that we were able to achieve against this strong team,” said Saudi Arabian goalkeeper Mohammad Alouwais. “We prepared ourselves. We were 100% ready and hopefully we will have better results in the future. I thought we were especially good in the last minutes as we got our three points.”
According to sources, Saudi Arabia is attributing its success part to its preparation after securing the best training ground in Qatar at Sealine Beach. The facility, an hour’s drive south from Doha, was secured more than three years ago, before other qualifiers began scrambling for hotels and pitches. As a team selected exclusively from their domestic league, they were able to play four warm-up games in the previous month before their World Cup kick off. In contrast, Argentina, who still had players competing in home games around Europe on 13 November, managed to fit in just one match against the United Arab Emirates.
Saudi Arabia, ranked 51st in the world, may not have expected much from their opening game against one of the pre-tournament favourites, but the stats show they have every reason to make it to the knockout rounds even before they arrive in Qatar was. ,
It is not uncommon for teams to qualify for the last-16 after being seeded third or fourth in their group. in the last world cup Russia, Denmark, Sweden And Japan All advanced despite being seeded outside the top two, while five of the top eight seeds failed to win their groups.
Holders’ fare is even worse. The World Cup has not been retained since 1962, and in the last 14 tournaments, the defending champions have reached the semi-finals of the next edition only twice. France come to Qatar as holders knowing that four of the last five previous champions have been knocked out in the groups.
In 2010, New Zealand managed to pull off one of the biggest World Cup shocks by holding off the champions Italy, who finished bottom of their group, drew 1–1. Like Saudi Arabia, Ricky Herbert, who coached the Kiwis in that tournament, told ESPN that the key to getting results against one of world football’s giants is preparation.
“We looked at potential areas that we believed we could exploit and maximize the strengths that we could offer the night,” he says. “Confidence, belief, courage and discipline were some of the key elements. We wanted to start the game well and make sure we made it difficult for the Italy team to settle into any comfortable positions. We didn’t want to give them a chance Were.” An opportunity to strongly direct the game.
“It was certainly an outstanding performance by the team over the full 90 minutes, and a result that made New Zealand a household name in the football world. Personally, it was a moment of immense pride.”
Aliu Cisse, who played for Senegal in his debut match against France in 2002 South Korea And now managing his country in Qatar, says part of the strategy is to accept that you can’t go toe-to-toe with teams filled with some of the world’s best players.
“You have to defend well and be good when you get the ball,” he said ahead of his team’s defeat. Netherlands on Monday. “But you have to defend when you have to defend.”
Saudi Arabia certainly did this against Argentina, showing why they were able to keep six clean sheets during qualifying and top a group that included Japan and Australia Despite scoring just 12 goals in 10 games. Renard said after the win over Argentina that he would give his players just “20 minutes” to celebrate, although some started by playing music through portable speakers as they smiled through the mixed area.
“A nice celebration for 20 minutes and that’s it,” Renard said. “There are still two or more games for us. We need to think about where to look ahead because we still have two very tough games.” [against Poland and Mexico],
Thousands of Saudi fans have traveled across the border to Qatar, hoping to see their team’s match, or even better, their performance in 1994 when they reached the last-16, and if they get there , so they will fancy their chances against anyone now. , king salman too declared a public holiday on Wednesday In Saudi Arabia, a royal decree recommended by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, so the country can celebrate.
Russia knocked in 2018 spain Despite sitting 60 places below him in the world rankings, he was eliminated in the second round. It was the biggest upset yet in the knockout stages as FIFA implemented a ranking system and a reminder that anything can happen at the World Cup. Just ask Argentina.