Herve Renard urges Saudi Arabia to 'write history' against Mexico at 2022 World Cup

The Gulf side, contesting a sixth global finals, go into the match with their central American rivals on Thursday night knowing a win would guarantee a place in the knockout stages

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Herve Renard has reminded his players that they have the chance to etch their names in history ahead of their determining World Cup clash with Mexico.

The Gulf side, contesting a sixth global finals, go into the match with their central American rivals on Thursday night knowing a win would guarantee a place in the knockout stages – for only the second time in the country’s history.

Saudi, who defeated Argentina in the Group C opener in one of the greatest upsets ever in the global finals, sit third in the standings with three points, behind Argentina on goal difference, while Poland have are top with four points after their victory against Renard’s side on Saturday. Mexico are bottom, with one point.

Speaking on Wednesday, Renard referenced the opportunity to emulate Saudi’s celebrated 1994 team, saying: "Saudi Arabia have a good generation, and the only time the national team qualified for the last 16 was in 1994, so if the players want the fans to remember them, they should write history or they will be forgotten within 30 years.

"All teams are strong, and we still have a chance in the third match. Mexico have a lot of experience in the World Cup, and we have to fight to stay in the tournament."

However, Saudi have been weakened by the absence of several key players.

Captain Salman Al Faraj and full-back Yasser Al Shahrani could not complete the Argentina match through injury, while Mohammad Al Breik picked up knock against Poland. Meanwhile, Abdulelah Al Malki is suspended.

Argentina v Saudi Arabia ratings

"We will miss the efforts of four important players, but as I said before, I have a squad of 26 players, and we have to deal with the matter and fight to qualify tomorrow," Renard said.

The Frenchman, who took charge of Saudi in 2019 and has since signed a contract through until 2027, is well-travelled, with his greatest managerial accomplishments coming in the Africa Cup of Nations. In 2012, Renard surprisingly led Zambia to the title, before guiding Ivory Coast to continental success three years later.

"It is the third [most important match of my career] after the finals in 2012 and 2015, because the defeat in these matches leaves you with regrets and regrets damage your life,” Renard said.

“So we have to be positive and play with determination and spirit with the support of the fans, and the fight for qualification will be until the last minute.”

Renard added with a smile: "So people with fragile hearts should be careful and not watch the match.”

On the threat posed by Mexico, who have qualified for the knockout stages in the past seven World Cups, Renard said: "If you want me to tell you the starting line-up for Mexico, I can. Mexico have a strong team and a great coach [Gerardo Martino] because he previously trained Barcelona, which is not easy.

"You have to give more than 100 per cent and we only think about qualifying. Mexico played really well against Argentina and then [Lionel] Messi came and decided everything.

"We will try to be strong on Mexico's weaknesses and try to exploit them in order to win. We must not feel afraid. Every player should trust himself and his teammate that we can face any team."

Updated: November 30, 2022, 5:57 AM