Saudi Arabia's last five World Cup matches

Yasser Al-Kahtani celebrates his goal against Tunisia in 2006. (Getty)
Updated 14 June 2018
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Saudi Arabia's last five World Cup matches

  • Green Falcons kick off the tournament today against Russia
  • They are bidding for only their third ever win at the finals

So the big day has arrived as Saudi Arabia get ready to strut their stuff in front of the the glob when they get the World Cup under way against Russia today. Here is how the Green Falcons fared in their past six matches at the tournament.

World Cup 2006 — drew with Tunisia 2-2:

Got their tournament off to a good start with goals from Yasser Al-Qahtani and Sami Al-Jaber grabbing a point in Munich. Al-Jaber, the Al-Hilal legend, scored two minutes after coming on as a substitute. The draw may have felt like a loss, though, as they thought they had all three points in the bag until Radhi Jaïdi struck in injury time for Tunisia. 

World Cup 2006 — lost to Ukraine 4-0:

The good start against Tunisia was undone with this big defeat to the eastern Europeans. This was a good Ukraine side, though, with Andriy Shevchenko and Sergei Rebrov both getting on the scoresheet.

World Cup 2006 — lost to Spain 1-0:

The Green Falcons exited the competition with another defeat, but held their heads high after having a good go against a Spain side featuring Fernando Torres, Andres Iniesta and Raul. Juanito won the tie for Spain with a 36th-minute goal. 


World Cup 2002 — lost to Germany 8-0:

The side’s heaviest defat at the tournament was delivered by a very good side containing Michael Ballack and Miroslav Klose. Klose claimed a hat-trick and ended the tournament as the Golden Boot winner. Germany ended up finishing in third place.

World Cup 2002 — Lost to Cameroon 1-0:

A Samuel Eto’o strike after 66 minutes was enough to get the Africans the win in a tightly-fought clash. Cameron fielded a strong side with Geremi, Rigobert Song, Lauren and the late Marc Vivien Foe.

World Cup 2002 — Lost to Ireland 3-0:

Already out of the tournament the Green Falcons put up little resistance to a Robbie Keane-inspired Ireland. Keane gave Ireland the perfect start with a goal after seven minutes and then Gary Breen (61) and Damien Duff (87) finished things off. 


Ali Al-Habsi confident of prolonged Al-Hilal success under Jorge Jesus after Super Cup win

Updated 19 August 2018
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Ali Al-Habsi confident of prolonged Al-Hilal success under Jorge Jesus after Super Cup win

  • Eduardo had been absent since December after suffering the dreaded cruciate knee ligament injury
  • He made his competitive comeback against Al-Shabab on Sunday but announced his full return to form and fitness against Al-Ittihad in London

LONDON: Ali Al-Hasbi was thrilled Carlos Eduardo emerged as the star of the Saudi Super Cup final, believing his goal was a fitting reward for the torment he went through during his spell out injured.
Eduardo had been absent since December after suffering the dreaded cruciate knee ligament injury in the first leg of the AFC Champions League final with Urawa Reds.
He had a complex operation in Brazil and has spent this year building up the strength in his knee with some long and lonely hours in the gym.
He made his competitive comeback against Al-Shabab on Sunday but announced his full return to form and fitness against Al-Ittihad in London on Saturday night, scoring the first in a 2-1 win over the Tigers.
The nature of his celebration – a double knee slide to the corner – demonstrated the confidence he now has in the joint and the relief that his injury hell is over.
“It’s fantastic for him,” Al-Habsi, the Omani goalkeeper, told Arab News as he did a lap of honor with the trophy around the pitch.
“He has been out for seven months and to come back, play like that, score a goal is fantastic. It’s unbelievable as it was a bad injury and he had to work really hard to recover.”
Gelmin Rivas got the second goal to ensure Jorge Jesus launched his reign as coach by winning the Saudi Super Cup, making a statement in the process that Al-Hilal will again be the team to beat this season.
“It’s fantastic to get a start like this,” said Al-Habsi. “It’s a brilliant to win a derby game and it’s always tough against them. We have made the fans very happy and we can now push for the start of the season. I believe we can win a lot of trophies if we can push hard.”
Jesus came in to replace Ramon Diaz who, ironically, was in charge of Al-Ittihad on Saturday night. Jesus won everything in Portugal and he is expected to deliver similar success at Al-Hilal.
“He’s been fantastic since he has come in,” said Al-Habsi. “We did some good work with him in Austria, he has got some good ideas and I think we are going to do well under him. It’s the perfect start that we won this trophy under him.”
Al-Habsi turns 37 in December and this is his 20th season as a professional, but he is showing no signs of aging and looks set to start the season as No. 1 ahead of Abdullah Al-Mayouf.
“I still feel very good,” he said. “I feel very fit and I am very pleased. I’m really enjoying life at Al-Hilal. It’s a massive club.”
The game in Loftus Road, in front of more than 16,000 boisterous fans, was quite the introduction to football in Saudi Arabia for Aleksandar Pesic. The Serbian arrived at Al-Ittihad this summer from Red Star Belgrade and he made a difference after coming on as a half-time substitute.
“The first half we didn’t play very well but we were more attacking in the second half after the coach changed things,” he told Arab News. “But we conceded two goals because of mistakes. But this is football. It was a very strong game.”
Al-Ittihad finished ninth last season but they should be aiming much higher than that this season on the evidence of things against Al-Hilal.
“If we play like this in the league, I think we will have a good chance for the championship,” Pesic said. “Maybe we win, maybe we lose but we will always give 100 percent, then I believe we can do good things. We will try to be champions.”
It will be a tough ask to finish ahead of Al-Hilal, though. They won the league last season and look even stronger following the additions of Alberto Botia, Andre Carrillo and Omar Abdulrahman.
“It’s a very good team, a very compact team with a good coach and good players,” said Pesic. “They are very tough to play against and I’m sure they will have a strong season.”