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H. Renard

Who is Herve Renard? The AFCON winning coach who led Saudi Arabia to victory over Messi & Argentina

17:38 GMT+3 22/11/2022
Herve Renard Saudi Arabia 2022
It's not every day you comeback to beat World Cup favourites Argentina. So, what sort of manager is needed to mastermind such an unbelievable result?

Saudi Arabia just stunned world football.

A 2-1 win over many people's favourites for the World Cup, Argentina, means Group C has been blown wide open, and with Mexico and Poland still to play, it could lead to some of the most intriguing matches at the tournament over the next few weeks.

Two goals in a frantic five-minute spell toppled Lionel Messi and his teammates, and it is difficult to argue with the scoreline.

The Saudi Arabian team outworked, outfought and ultimately outscored Lionel Scaloni's side, who were on a 36-game unbeaten run, but who was behind the defensive masterclass?

Who is Herve Renard?

Date of birth:September 30, 1968
Place of birth:Aix-les-Bains, France
Teams managed:SC Draguignan, Shanghai Cosco, Cambridge United, Nam Dinh, AS Cherbourg, Zambia, Angola, USM Alger, Zambia, Sochaux, Ivory Coast, Lille, Morocco, Saudi Arabia

Herve Renard is a French football manager from Aix-les-Bains. He enjoyed a 15-year playing career in France, playing for Cannes, Stade de Vallauris, and SC Draguignan.

When he retired as a professional, he worked at Draguignan as a cleaner, eventually setting up his own cleaning company.

Renard managed a few clubs throughout Europe and Asia, before being handed the Zambia job. He led them to the quarter-finals of the African Cup of Nations for the first time in 14 years, before leaving his post and taking charge of Angola, where he quit after just seven months in charge.

In 2011 he returned to Zambia and led the nation to its first-ever AFCON title in 2012, before being knocked out in the group stage a year later and then being released in October 2013 in preparation for a role at French club Sochaux.

After a short spell with Sochaux, Renard left when they were relegated in April 2014 and was appointed Ivory Coast manager in May that same year.

In 2015, Renard became the first manager to win AFCON with two different nations, lifting the trophy with the Ivory Coast.

A disappointing spell at French club Lille followed, seeing him leave after just 13 games, and Renard then took charge of another African side, this time Morocco. He reached the 2018 World Cup with Morocco, their first time in the competition since 1998. In 2019 he oversaw Morocco's shock round of 16 exit from AFCON, resigning just days after on July 15.

He then took over Saudi Arabia, taking them to the 2022 World Cup and in the process becoming the foreign manager with the most victories for the nation (18).

On November 22, 2022 he oversaw one of the greatest shocks in football history, as Saudi Arabia won their first-ever opening game to a FIFA World Cup, and won only their fourth match in the tournament's history.

What is Renard's managerial style?

While Renard is currently taking in the lofty heights of the World Cup, his early forays into management came in some rather inconspicuous places. He was in charge of League Two's (Division Three at the time) Cambridge United for 26 games, and veteran goalkeeper John Ruddy was handed his debut by the Frenchman.

Ruddy suggested that the pre-season under Renard was the hardest he had ever done, even though he's also turned out for Manchester United and Everton in his long career

He told The Daily Mail that Renard often turned out in the gym himself and was a good man-manager, helping him stay calm on his debut. He said: "The first 15 minutes of my debut I could hardly take a goal-kick I was that nervous, but Herve was very good at making you feel like you were good enough.

"One of the biggest memories I have of Herve is the work rate not only he demanded of us but also showed himself in the gym. The pre-season under him was and still is the hardest one I have ever done."

Jermaine Easter, who also played under Renard, suggested he was ahead of his time with sports science, banning certain foods and even common sauces like ketchup and mayonnaise.

How does he line up his team?

Against Argentina, we saw a combative and passionate display from Saudi Arabia.

A high line and pressure on Messi ensured the Saudi's not only created opportunities, but stopped Argentina scoring more than once. Their discipline in defence meant that Messi and Lautaro Martinez were caught offside a number of times, seeing three goals disallowed in the first half alone.

Saudi Arabia lined up against Argentina in a 4-3-3, allowing them to be more adventurous at trying to win the ball back, and it was a slight change from their qualifying system.