Juan Antonio Pizzi hails perfect preparation after South Korea draw

Having seen his side battle to a 0-0 draw with South Korea on Monday, Saudi Arabia coach Juan Antonio Pizzi said the performance had been the perfect preparation for the upcoming Asian Cup in the UAE. (Twitter: @SaudiNT)
Updated 03 January 2019
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Juan Antonio Pizzi hails perfect preparation after South Korea draw

ABU DHABI: Having seen his side battle to a 0-0 draw with South Korea on Monday, Saudi Arabia coach Juan Antonio Pizzi said the performance had been the perfect preparation for the upcoming Asian Cup in the UAE.
Pizzi went into the game with Mohammed Al-Owais, Yasser Al-Shahrani and Salem Al-Dosari to call upon, and he made use of his star players in the last friendly before their opening Asian Cup group game against North Korea.
The first half of the game saw a number of Saudi attempts on the Korean goal, but the Green Falcons were unable to break through the resilient defense. 
But Pizzi’s men looked the stronger team at the Baniyas Stadium throughout the game. They managed to restrict the Koreans to eight shots, none of them on target. The Green Falcons also had more of the ball and were the more disciplined of the two teams.
Saudi Arabia got lucky late in the second half when the Koreans missed a penalty kick in the 82nd minute after Ki Song blazed wide from the spot.
After the game, Pizzi was satisfied with the energy levels shown by his team and said the game had been an “interesting encounter between two distinguished teams,” in which both teams “imposed their style on the game.”
Pizzi also confirmed that he took Al-Shahrani off midway through the second half as a precautionary measure, and that the player did not sustain any serious injury and should be fit for the Asian Cup.
Saudi Arabia are in Group E of the Asian Cup with Qatar, Lebanon and North Korea, and will start their bid for glory against the latter at the Maktoum Bin Rashid Stadium.


Michel Platini released from custody after police probe into Qatar World Cup 2022 corruption

Updated 19 June 2019
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Michel Platini released from custody after police probe into Qatar World Cup 2022 corruption

  • French authorities haven’t announced any charges against Platini
  • The authorities also questioned a sport adviser from the previous French president’s administration

PARIS: Former UEFA president Michel Platini was released from custody in the early hours of Wednesday after being questioned as part of a corruption investigation into the awarding of the 2022 World Cup to Qatar.

His communication team said that Platini’s detention ended at 12:30 a.m. local time.

Platini had denied any wrongdoing and French authorities did not announce any charges against the former France and Juventus player.

“It was long, but given the number of questions it could not be different,” Platini said after his release. “They asked me questions about the 2016 Euro, the World Cup in Russia, the World Cup in Qatar, the Paris Saint-Germain, FIFA.”

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TIMELINE: The trail of corruption allegations surrounding the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar

Former UEFA head Platini detained in Qatar World Cup probe

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Also questioned Tuesday were Sophie Dion, a sports adviser in former French president Nicolas Sarkozy’s administration, and Claude Gueant, the former secretary general of the Elysee presidential palace under Sarkozy.

Ahead of the FIFA vote, Sarkozy hosted a meeting in November 2010 that brought Platini together with Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, then the crown prince of Qatar and now its ruling emir. Al-Thani also owns the French soccer club Paris Saint-Germain, and Sarkozy frequently attends its games.

Qatar beat the long-favored United States 14 to 8 when FIFA selected the host country for the 2022 World Cup

As head of European soccer’s governing body UEFA, Platini was the continent’s top representative on the FIFA committee that picked Qatar.

French prosecutors are known to be investigating an array of winning bids for major sports events, including the 2018 World Cup, awarded to Russia, the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo and track and field world championships.

They are looking into possible offences including private corruption, conspiracy and influence peddling.

The decision in December 2010 to award the World Cup to Qatar surprised many given the lack of potential local audiences for the games, the extremely hot summer weather, and the poor performance of the country's national squad. It will be the first Arab state to host the competition.

Platini is one of France's most famous sportsmen and soccer stars. He led France to victory in the 1984 European Championship and played in two World Cup semi-finals.

(With Agencies)