Saudi Arabia could take advantage of 'huge pressure' on Russia

Juan Antonio Pizzi will lead Saudi Arabia at the World Cup. (AFP)
Updated 14 June 2018

Saudi Arabia could take advantage of 'huge pressure' on Russia

  • Jose Mourinho feels Russia need to deliver in the opening game
  • Green Falcons are bidding for only their third ever win at the finals

Jose Mourinho believes all the pressure will be on Russia in the World Cup opener against Saudi Arabia.
The hosts last win came on Oct. 7 when they beat South Korea 4-2 in a friendly in Moscow and president Vladimir Putin this week raised the stakes when he said that "our team have not achieved big results in recent times."
Despite being ranked three places lower in the rankings, Russia are favorites for the match at the Luzhniki Stadium and Mourinho, the Manchester United manager, feels they need to deliver in front of an expectant nation.
"There will be huge pressure for Russia," Mourinho said in an interview for RT. "They start the World Cup at home and the world is watching them and the big chance to qualify (for the round of 16) is to beat Saudi Arabia. In spite of some talent Saudi Arabia is a naive team from a different reality and Russia has to win it."
Saudi Arabia go into the game on the back of three straight defeats, but they showed enough in narrow losses to Italy and Germany that they could challenge Russia and Egypt for the runners-up spot behind Group A favorites Uruguay.

This is Saudi Arabia's fifth appearance at the finals and their first since 2006. The high point was a run to the last 16 in 1994 which was achieved on the back of group wins over Morocco and Belgium, the Green Falcons' only wins at the finals in 13 matches. 

Al-Hilal arrive in the UK ahead of Super Cup final against Al-Ittihad

Updated 49 min 20 sec ago

Al-Hilal arrive in the UK ahead of Super Cup final against Al-Ittihad

  • Riyadh giants all set for this weekend's Saudi Super Cup final against Jeddah rivals.
  • Omar Abdulrahman set to make his debut in the clash at QPR's Loftus Road ground.

LONDON: Al-Hilal have landed in the UK's second city Birmingham ahead of Saturday’s Super Cup clash against Al-Ittihad in London.
The Riyadh giants are set to face their Jeddah rivals at QPR’s Loftus Road ground in the fifth staging of the match which sees the Saudi Pro League champions face the King’s Cup winners. Saturday’s clash will be the third time the final will have been held in the British capital.

Al-Hilal players were excited before they departed Riyadh for the UK captial. 

Al-Hilal got their season off to a winning start with a 1-0 over Oman’s Al-Shahbab in the Arab Champions Cup on Sunday. New coach Jorge Jesus called the performance professional but told his players they need to go up a gear if they are to win on Saturday.
After the match the Portuguese coach said: “We can play better than this and we need to be more clinical in attack and take our chances.”
Al-Hilal will likely be helped in that aim by Omar Abdulrahman. The UAE star is set to make his debut for his boyhood club having signed on loan for a year from Al-Ain in an eye-watering $17 million deal.

Can new signing Omar Abdulrahman get his Al-Hilal career off to a winning start on Saturday?