For Saudi Arabia, this is their second consecutive FIFA World Cup appearance. In total, they have been at the tournament on five occasions and this will be their sixth time. They enter the event in Qatar as the 7th highest-ranked nation in the Asian confederation
Their best-ever feat in the tournament was in 1994 when they reached the round of 16 the very campaign where their hero Saeed Al Owairan’s scored an iconic goal against Belgium in Group F.
So what players have Saudi assembled for their games in FIFA World Cup 2022? Have a look at the Saudi Arabia squad in detail.
Confirmed Saudi Arabia Squad for FIFA World Cup 2022
|Goalkeeper||Mohammed Al Rubaie||Al-Ahli|
|Forward||Firas Al-Buraikan -FW||Al-Fateh|
|Forward||Haitham Asiri -FW||Al-Ahli|
|Forward||Saleh Al-Shehri -FW||Al-Hilal|
They have one of the most demanding group tables in the current FIFA World Cup; Saudi Arabia will have to extract enough points from the likes of majestic Argentina, Poland, and Mexico.
Saudi Arabia Group Fixtures
|Tues, Nov. 22||Argentina vs. S. Arabia||5 a.m.||Lusail Stadium|
|Tues, Nov. 22||Mexico vs. Poland||11 a.m.||Stadium 974|
|Sat, Nov. 26||Poland vs. S. Arabia||8 a.m.||Education City Stadium|
|Sat, Nov. 26||Argentina vs. Mexico||2 p.m.||Lusail Stadium|
|Wed, Nov. 30||Poland vs. Argentina||2 p.m.||Stadium 974|
|Wed, Nov. 30||S. Arabia vs. Mexico||2 p.m.||Lusail Stadium|
Saudi Arabia Strengths
Their full-backs duo, Sultan Al-Ghannam and Yasir Al-Shahrani playing for the domestic Al Nasser and Al Hilal Saudi respectively both have an almost perfect combination of creativity, attacking, and defensive ability.
The midfield is in good feet of local hero, Salman al-Faraj of Al Hilal.
Winger, Al-Dawsari’s 62 caps and his contribution, to helping his longtime club Al Hilal win two AFC Champions League, is also one of the strong factors of the Saudi team. The man resembles the pace and inventiveness of players from any of the European top teams.
They are also experts in winning free kicks in a dangerous area and sometimes even the penalties.
The one thing that their group-stage opponents should keep in mind is that Saudi finished ahead of the World Cup regulars Japan and Australia in the final round of the AFC qualification table, Group B.
Saudi Arabia Weaknesses
Their star player Salem al-Dawsari is doubtful because the attacker from the flank is still in recovery after having removed his appendix surgery.
None of their national players are affiliated with any of Europe’s top leagues. The same is also the case with Qatar. Hence both teams might lack that instinct to understand the tactical play of their group opponents Argentina, Mexico, and Poland. Some of the players are also prone to breaching or misunderstanding strategic discipline.
While they managed to have good records against their Asian foes in the qualifiers round, when they faced Columbia and Venezuela in the friendlies after securing a place at the world cup, both of the matches ended in 1-0 losses. Following that, they also failed to secure wins over teams other outside their continent namely, Ecuador, and the USA. This has questioned their incompetence whilst playing against opponents other than the Asian nations.
Expectations From Saudi Arabia
They are the second-lowest-ranked team in Qatar 2022. It would be something extraordinary if they manage to hold top favorite Argentina to a draw and extract three points from either of the remaining two teams. But going by the stats, that seems almost far-fetched of a projection. Realistically avoiding too many goals on their own net should be the priority. Probability-wise, they have been given more than 60% odds of finishing at the bottom of their group table. Experts are confident that they are among the teams that are going to have short stays.
However looking at their AFC final round table, they also have better shots at making it to the knockouts than their continental rival, Japan as the Samurai Blues are sandwiched between two European powerhouses Germany and Spain in the group stages.