Herve Renard [Source: Reuters]
Saudi Arabia’s players have the chance to write history if they qualify for the World Cup knockout stages, coach Herve Renard said on Tuesday.
Saudi Arabia need to beat Mexico in their last Group C match to guarantee reaching the last 16 for the second time regardless of the outcome of the Poland versus Argentina game.
Saudi Arabia are third in the group with three points, behind Argentina on goal difference, while Poland have four points and Mexico are bottom with one point.
“Saudi Arabia have a good generation, and the only time the national team qualified for the last 16 was in 1994, so if the players want the fans to remember them, they should write history or they will be forgotten within 30 years,” Renard told a news conference.
“All teams are strong, and we still have a chance in the third match. Mexico have a lot of experience in the World Cup and we have to fight to stay in the tournament.”
The French coach said captain Salman Al-Faraj, Mohammad Al-Burayk and Yasser Al-Shahrani will miss the game with injuries while Abdulelah Al-Malki is suspended.
“We will miss the efforts of four important players, but as I said before, I have a squad of 26 players, and we have to deal with the matter and fight to qualify tomorrow,” he said.
The 54-year-old indicated that it was the third most important match of his coaching career after winning the Africa Cup of Nations with Zambia and Ivory Coast.
“It is the third after the finals in 2012 and 2015, because the defeat in these matches leaves you with regrets and regrets damage your life, so we have to be positive and play with determination and spirit with the support of the fans, and the fight for qualification will be until the last minute.
“So people with fragile hearts should be careful and not watch the match,” he added with a smile.
Renard said he was well acquainted with Mexico and their coach Tata Martino.