Saudi Arabia upset Argentina at World Cup with Hervé Renard

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Saudi Arabia's Green Falcons coach Hervé Renard issues instructions
Saudi Arabia's Green Falcons coach Hervé Renard issues instructions
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Hervé Renard masterminded a great World Cup upset when his Al-Suqour Al-Akhdhar or The Green Falcons side defeated Argentina’s La Albiceleste by two goals.

When the two teams clashed on Tuesday at Qatar’s Lusail Stadium, many football fans expected the Lionel Messi led La Albiceleste to rout the Saudis who had just a win at their World Cup outings.

And true to form, Messi slotted home a penalty with cheeky ease in just 10 minutes but the game was far from won.

Saudi Arabia staged a superb comeback with two second-half goals via Saleh Al-Shehri who opened their scoring in the 48th minute and Salem al-Dawsari who wrapped up things a few minutes later. The Saudi fans went into raptures as they celebrated the goals.

The Green Falcons of Saudi Arabia celebrate defeat of Argentina
The Green Falcons of Saudi Arabia celebrate defeat of Argentina

Argentina then attacked with ferocity with Messi putting the ball in the back of the net only for the goal to be ruled offside.

Another offside goal followed after Lautaro Martinez beat Saudi keeper Mohammed Al-Owais only for VAR to turn down the goal because of a marginal offside.

Saudi Arabia struggled to contain the Argentines but managed to put in some resolute defending helped by some fine saves from the Saudi keeper.

The Saudi feat at the Qatar World Cup was underlined when Saudi Arabia’s King Salman directed that Wednesday be a holiday for all employees and students.

Lionel Messi tackled by Saudi player
Lionel Messi tackled by Saudi player

Saudi Arabia had never beaten Argentina in their previous four encounters. This win opens up Group C which also has Mexico and Poland as to which country makes it out of the group successfully.

Curiously, the Argentina team led by coach Lionel Scaloni had been on a 36-game winning run till the first World Cup to be staged in an Arab country scuppered any hopes on staying undefeated.

Argentina, ranked third in the world by FIFA would be asking themselves how Saudi Arabia ranked 51st humbled them in a tournament many are banking on them to win.

The answer lay in the bosom of 54-year-old Frenchman, Hervé Renard whose 23-year managerial career has scored some big wins as well as recorded humbling lows.

The man who took to the African football terrain thanks to fellow Frenchman and coach Claude Le Roy enjoyed Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) success with Zambia in 2011, the country’s first ever AFCON.

Saudi players bow to celebrate win as Argentine player weeps
Saudi players bow to celebrate win as Argentine player weeps

He delivered another AFCON title with Côte d’Ivoire in 2015, becoming the first manager in football history to win the African Cup of Nations twice but with two different national sides.

There were shortfalls at Ligue 1 side Lille, as Morocco head coach and at Cambridge United.

Nonetheless having joined The Green Falcons in 2019, Hervé Renard posted 17 wins out of his 32 games in charge of Saudi Arabia.

The Saudi Arabian Football Federation (SAFF) announced that he had signed an extension to his current deal till 2027.

by michael eli dokosi/www.blakkpepper.com

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