The Opposition Files: Saudi Arabia

With Brazil set to take on Juan Antonio Pizzi's side in Riyadh on Friday, Brasil Global Tour takes a closer look at The Green Falcons

Coach: Juan Antonio Pizzi
2018-06-20 Juan Antonio Pizzi

The Argentina-born former Spain international had a decorated playing career that brought spells at both Barcelona and Real Madrid is now 12 years into an impressive coaching career that has brought titles in Argentina and Chile.

He led the Chilean national team success at Copa America 2016 and took the Saudi Arabai post in November 2017. He is now leading KSA into a new era, with eight out of 28 in this month’s squad being called up to the national team for the first time. His squad will be buoyed with confidence from their only World Cup win against Egypt and a tie in a following friendly against Bolivia.

Rising star: Haroune Camara

Haroune Camara Saudi Arabia 24082018

An exciting prospect, Haroune Camara could potentially be the role model for aspiring non-Saudi footballers across the nation. The Saudi born player with roots in Sierra Leone was part of a program by the Saudi FF to incorporate talented expats born in the Kingdom into the National team.

Since then he has just impressed, especially at under-21 level in the recent Asian Championships in Indonesia. He has been capped once since then. Given the number of strikers called up for these friendlies, it seems like Pizzi will stick to his 4-5-1 formation with Mohannad Assiri and Haroune Camara rotating in and out as the lone striker.

One to watch: Salem Al Dawsari
Salem Al Dawsari Saudi-Arabien WM 2018

The strikers will be looking forward to significant contributions from the likes of Yahya Al Shehri and Salem Al Dawsari, two players who were part of GSA’s 9-player loan deal with La Liga earlier in the year. While Al Dawsari featured in Villarreal’s final game vs Real Madrid, Al-Shehri never featured in a game for Leganes.

However, it the impact of the move was clear as both came into the World Cup in the best shape than they ever could be. That momentum has been carried over to the current season as Al-Shehri has been both injury free and in-form

The view from Saudi Arabia
2018-06-19 Saudi Arabia

Shuaib Ahmed - Goal Middle East Correspondent

"This tournament will provide an opportunity to the less experience but talented midfield line-up of Otayf, Bahebri and Kanno, offering them the chance to get some good playing time against quality sides. The defence has always been a challenge for the Saudi set-up. While the squad has physically strong players at the back, it will be interesting to see how they fare against the pace and technical abilities of the likes of Neymar and Gabriel Jesus.

"They tend to get easily disoriented in the first 15 – 20 minutes of the half, given the pressure from playing against a team like Brazil. However, the good news for them is the inclusion of 41-year-old Hussein Abdul Ghani, who was recalled after being away for two years. He is among the top-three most consistent players with decent performances in the current season of the league. The team will be looking to his experience both on and off the pitch. He is only one in the squad who knows what it’s like to play against Brazil, given he had faced them twice earlier."

 

Brazil meet Saudi Arabia at King Saud University in Riyadh on Friday, October 12.

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