Saudi Arabia head coach cautious ahead of Vietnam clash

By Hoang Nguyen   September 1, 2021 | 05:55 am PT
Saudi Arabia head coach cautious ahead of Vietnam clash
Coach Herve Renard in World Cup 2018. Photo by Reuters/Kai Pfaffenbach
Coach Herve Renard believes Saudi Arabia would have to pay the price if they drop their guard in their World Cup qualifying clash with Vietnam.

"All the games are so important. If you are missing one game, you are almost in trouble in the group, so immediately we have to be ready and we know this group will be very tough, so our focus is on Vietnam now and only on Vietnam," Renard told Saudi Arabian newspaper Arab News.

Saudi Arabia will get to play Vietnam on their home turf. Renard’s team are considered much stronger than Vietnam, along with their home and weather advantage. Saudi Arabia have played at World Cup five times, while this is the first time Vietnam made it to the final round of qualifiers. However, Renard has carefully analyzed the strengths and weaknesses of Vietnam prior to the clash.

"The international level is not like at the club level where you have a championship with 30 or 34 games. We only have 10 games to be able to get the qualification, so we don’t want to miss any important point," Renard added.

The Frenchman started his coaching career in 1999. Five years later, he came to Vietnam and managed Nam Dinh FC but only for a few months due to a dispute with the players. He later found success in Africa, winning the continental titles with Zambia in 2012 and Côte d’Ivoire in 2015. One year later, he took Morocco to World Cup for the first time in 20 years. Renard started his stint with Saudi Arabia in 2019. Under his management, the team won eight, drew three and only lost one game so far.

"It was very important to regenerate the squad, so today we have some players with big experience but also some very good young players. And I think this is the way to work for the national team," he said.

The clash between Vietnam and Saudi Arabia will take place at 1 a.m. on Sept. 3 (Hanoi time). It will be reported live on VnExpress International.

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