1,000 and counting: Green Falcons goals to remember...

Saeed Al-Owairan his scorer of one of the most famous goals in World Cup history. (AFP)
Updated 09 January 2019
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1,000 and counting: Green Falcons goals to remember...

  • Hatan Bahbri slotted home Saudi Arabia's 1,000th international goal during the Green Falcons' 4-0 win over North Korea on Tuesday.
  • Arab News looks back at some of the famous goals scored in the green jersey down the years.

LONDON: Hatan Bahbri scored Saudi Arabia’s 1,000th international goal during the Green Falcons’ 4-0 
thrashing of North Korea on Tuesday. To celebrate the milestone Arab News looks back 
at five of the many memorable 999 goals that went before Bahbri’s strike.

SAEED AL-OWAIRAN vs BELGIUM (1994)

Who can forget the Al-Shabab man’s mazy run through a backpedaling Belgian backline at the US World Cup? Having picked the ball up in his own half Owairan ran past four Belgium defenders before firing the ball into the roof of the net. The goal is still considered one of the greatest in World Cup history and is certain one of the best, if not the greatest, ever scored in the famous green shirt.

MAJED ABDULLAH vs CHINA (1984)

The three-time Asian footballer of the year will go down in Green Falcons history as scoring the winner against China to land the Saudis their first Asian Cup title. Majed picked up the ball halfway inside the China half on a boggy Singapore pitch before gliding past three defenders and dummying the keeper to pass the ball into an empty net. It was a beautiful goal and illustrates why Majed was known as the “Arabian Jewel.” He went on to score 71 goals for the national side.

SAMI AL-JABER vs TUNISIA (2006)

We could not do a list of important Saudi Arabia goals and not have one scored by Green Falcons legend Al-Jaber. We have gone for his brilliant strike in the 2006 World Cup. A free flowing move found the striker on the left, he took one touch before firing past the keeper into the corner. It summed up everything brilliant about Al-Jaber.

FAHAD AL-MUWALLAD vs JAPAN (2017)

Saudi Arabia had not qualified for the World Cup in nearly 12 years and the pressure to right that wrong from the football-mad populous was reaching its peak. The Green Falcons went into the match against the Asian powerhouses needing to win to qualify outright. Thanks to this Al-Muwallad strike they did just that in front of a full house in Jeddah of 62,165. With the score at 0-0 and 62 minutes on the clock the winger got the ball on the right hand side of the area before firing into the roof to the net to give Eiji Kawashima in the Japan goal no chance. The crowd went wild and the Green Falcons were off to play on football’s biggest stage.

SALEM AL-DAWSARI vs EGYPT (2018)

The side had been humiliated 5-0 by the hosts in the opening match of the Russia World Cup. It said a lot about the character of the side and their manager, Juan Antonio Pizzi, that they were able to end their tournament on a high, with victory against Egypt. Al-Dawsari had a good tournament and ended with a fine strike in the last minute of the match to gift the Green Falcons a 2-1 victory and their first World Cup win since 1994.


A HAT-TRICK OF HOPES: What the UAE and Saudi Arabia should be looking for from their friendly

Updated 20 March 2019
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A HAT-TRICK OF HOPES: What the UAE and Saudi Arabia should be looking for from their friendly

  • Can the Whites and Green Falcons find the back of the net more often?
  • Both teams need to set the tone ahead of the important World Cup qualifiers.

LONDON: Ahead of Thursday’s friendly between the UAE and Saudi Arabia Arab News looks at the main priorities for both sides as they embark on their new eras after the Asian Cup and ahead of the all-important the World Cup qualifiers.

FIND THOSE SCORING BOOTS

For the past 18 months both sides have struggled for goals. Under Alberto Zaccheroni the UAE scored just 10 goals in the past nine matches — five of those coming against lowly Kyrgyzstan and India — and likewise the Green Falcons have also struggled to find the back of the net. Heading toward the World Cup qualifiers, now is the time to find those scoring boots.

PUT ON A SHOW

Both sides have technically gifted players, can keep the ball and at times trouble opposition defenses. But both have been too defensive, too safety-first and, at times, too dull. Football is supposed to be entertainment, and the friendlies ahead of the World Cup qualifiers might be no bad time to throw caution to the wind and see what the players can do in the final third.

SET THE TONE

As the modern cliche goes, a week is a long time in football. With all the sackings and player movements, it is not hard to see the kernel of truth in that overused saying. But, conversely, time can also move very fast in the “Beautiful Game.” It may be six months before the World Cup qualifiers begin, but it will be September before the coaches and players know it. Set the tone and tactics now and triumphs will be easier to come by then and, more importantly, further into the future.