Have you become aware of the performance accomplished by your selection, against one of the favorites of this World Cup?
Argentina eliminated on Saturday if…
YESTERDAY AT 5:57 PM
Back to Tuesday’s meeting. Argentina score quickly thanks to a penalty from Messi, they dominate, are denied a few goals, and we could have imagined the worst for your team…
HR: The fact that the Argentines scored after ten minutes may have worked in our favour. They thought it would be quite easy against a team presented as the weakest in the group. And somewhere, it’s not abnormal. We, when we face teams that are supposed to be less strong, there can be an excess of confidence. So, yes, there were things that were interesting in the first half: we played offside well, the players were disciplined, willing, but overall I was not satisfied, especially with the pressing of my attackers on the Argentine defence.
Hervé Renard Argentina-Saudi Arabia pendant
Credit: Getty Images
Knowing you, can we assume that you shook them up a bit at half-time?
RH: Exactly. I told all my players that we had to give even more. I asked some if they had come to take photos of Lionel Messi and watch the Argentines, or to play in a World Cup and make their country proud. I know my players well, we have been working together for three years. I know that they sometimes need to be titillated, even stung, that they have to put them under pressure. It’s sometimes tiring, I admit, but sometimes it works very well. I knew that we wouldn’t demand many chances, and that we would have to be very effective.
Your team to take advantage of the disintegration of the Albiceleste game. We have seen South Americans get bogged down in excessive individualism. Did you feel that there was something to do?
Salem Al-Dawsari’s strike that ended its run in the top corner against Argentina
Credit: Getty Images
This result opens the doors to a possible qualification, a performance accomplished in 1994. But doesn’t the most difficult start with this match against Poland, which drew against Mexico (0-0) after Robert Lewandowski misses a penalty?
HR: We know what to expect with Poland, a solid, well-organized team with an exceptional goalscorer who only needs half a chance to score. We will try to confirm this successful performance against Argentina, to continue to believe in our chances of qualification. We hope to do at least as well as the team of 1994. Of course, if Saudi Arabia is eliminated in the first round, everyone will find that normal. But with the staff, with the players, we want this World Cup not to end with this magnificent victory against one of the favorites, against the team of the best player in the world. We had a wonderful day, full of emotions, we want this World Cup to be beautiful. We have no particular pressure. Prince Mohamed ben Salmane, before the competition, simply congratulated us on our qualification, that the people were proud and wished us the best.
Your team spent several weeks in stages, facing opponents as varied as North Macedonia (1-0), Iceland (1-0), Albania (1-1), Honduras (0-0 )…
HR: The championship was interrupted so that we could work, play friendly matches, for more than a month. The goal was not to get into World Cup configuration, but to work tactically, physically, to prepare well. It was good to win a few games, but what was waiting was to reach the final phase in the best conditions. On a beaten Argentina, on a recall two games to play against Poland and Mexico, two very good teams. But I’m happy to see that our performance and that of Japan against Germany (2-1) proves the quality of Asian football, while there are people who say that qualifying when you move to the Asian zone is easy . Saudi Arabia is a real football country, with a quality championship, very good players.
With Saudi Arabia, Hervé Renard is contesting a new World Cup.
Credit: Getty Images
Is a win over Argentina emotionally comparable to winning the finals of the Africa Cup of Nations, a competition you won with Zambia in 2012 and Ivory Coast in 2015?
RH: Frankly, yes. Emotions are worth it. The difference is that the World Cup is much more publicized than a CAN. I was able to measure the echo of our success against the Argentinians. Yes, these are immense and comparable joys!
A historic victory… and a public holiday declared in Saudi Arabia
YESTERDAY AT 4:31 PM
Plane Renard: “Completely crazy things can happen”
YESTERDAY AT 2:19 PM