Herve Renard says Saudi Arabia 'deserved to lose' by bigger margin as World Cup dream ends

Frenchman praises goalkeeper Al Owais for keeping scoreline against Mexico down to 2-1 as both teams exit the World Cup

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Saudi Arabia coach Herve Renard said his team "deserved to lose" to Mexico by more than the 2-1 margin and hailed goalkeeper Mohamed Al Owais for keeping the scoreline respectable as both teams crashed out of the World Cup on Wednesday.

Mexico finish third on goal difference behind Poland, who lost 2-0 to Group C winners Argentina.

After their stunning victory over Lionel Messi' Argentina in the first match, Saudi Arabia's journey in the tournament ended with them bottom of the standings following successive defeats to Poland and Mexico.

"The result does not reflect the reality of the match, as we deserved to lose by more goals had it not been for Al Owais," Renard told a news conference.

"He saved us in the third minute and we couldn't handle Mexico's intensity and enthusiasm in the duels.

"We suffered physically, and we had to adapt to the injury of defender Ali Al Bulaihi. Mexico were the better team, and we knew that they would play aggressively in order to score more goals to qualify for the next round."

Player ratings

The Frenchman refused to blame the fact his team were missing four players due to injury and suspension.

"The squad includes 26 players, and we have to deal with what we have. Yes, injuries affected us, but they are not an excuse. Against Poland, we were the better team, but we weren't efficient in the last third, but today we played poorly."

Despite their exit, Renard congratulated the Saudi players for their performance in the tournament.

"We did our best and we will not forget the work we did together. I am proud to work with the team and the players, but we did not deserve to win today," he added.

Gerardo Martino will leave his post as Mexico coach following their World Cup exit. AFP

Renard's counterpart Gerardo Martino confirmed his reign as Mexico head coach was over following their World Cup exit.

After the game, former Barcelona boss Martino – who has been in charge of Mexico since January 2019 – said: “The contract expired with the final whistle and there is nothing else to do.

“I am the man responsible for the frustration and disappointment.

“It is real sadness and I assume all the responsibility for this huge failure.”

Mexico opened their World Cup campaign with a goalless draw against Poland before losing 2-0 to Argentina.

He ends his tenure with Mexico with a win-draw-loss record of 42-12-12 across all competitions.

Updated: December 01, 2022, 5:57 AM