FOOTBALL Hervé Renard knew how to remobilize Saudi Arabia, led at the break,
Hervé Renard has just signed a smoking blow with Saudi Arabia against Argentina. — Bagu Blanco
- Saudi Arabia created a huge sensation, the first of the competition, by winning against Argentina despite the opening of Messi's score (2-1).
- This is only the third victory in the history of the World Cup for the sworn enemy of Qatar, which has found unsuspected support in the stands.
- It is a personal victory for the Frenchman Hervé Renard, his coach for three years after a legendary stint in Africa.
From our envoy; special to Doha,
To be mistaken all along the line, allegory. Coming out of the Lusail metro behind a procession of cheerful Argentines, we had an easy match in mind, where the Albiceleste would dominate Saudi Arabia without forcing in a stadium acquired at the cause of the Argentines. The latter had turned up at the stadium in large numbers and it was obvious that we would hear them yelling for two hours. Wrong and more wrong.
Not only “hinchas” took a monumental rout in the stands, outclassed by amazing Saudi fans of acoustic power, but in addition Argentina was surprised on the ground by conceding a humiliating defeat. A scenario that no one saw coming. “I can't believe it,” the end of the meeting. Nobody could believe it, except the main actors of the meeting, Hervé Fox in the lead.
A King's Speech?
At 1-0 for Argentina in the break and 56 goals canceled for offside, the double-winner of the African Cup of Nations has surely found the resources to draw out a speech worthy of General de Gaulle in perfectly cliche English, with “ R” everywhere, like against Vietnam in September 2021, in a tirade unearthed from the internet after the afternoon victory. We take our hats off to the translator who will have been able to reproduce the intensity. of Renard's speech in all its dramaturgy. First calm, then possessed, then calm again. In essence:
— Benjamin Hajji (@BenjaHajji) November 22, 2022
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Difference in motivation
So fitting with the match of the day that we thought at first that it was the right speech. The Saudis entered the match when the Argentinians came out of it. Scaloni's men were probably taken aback by an opponent suddenly hit by grace. And it only took five minutes and two pretty great goals – especially the second – to bring down the house of cards. A series of 36 undefeated games flies away with all the certainties that we could have on this team. Of course, no hasty conclusions. In 2010, Spain fell from a great height against Switzerland before finally bringing the Cup back to Spain. the House. Argentina remains one of the favorites of this World Cup, but it burned out. a wildcard.
More than a quality business – it is obvious that the most talented team lost on Tuesday – Hervé Renard points to a relevant theory on the motivational gap between the two formations. On the one hand, the South American elite, eager to get into their tournament well, but nothing more. On the other hand, Saudi Arabia, ready to do battle with “the best player of all time”, to use the formula of Al-Shehri in the mixed zone. “Lionel Messi, against Saudi Arabia, he will say to himself that he must start the match well, of course… explains Fox. But his motivation will not be the same as if he were playing against Brazil. This is normal.”
Tactical thoroughness and optimism
Reducing Saudi success to a story of a galvanized group would nevertheless be simplistic. Certainly, the players fought like gladiators in the arena, pulled off improbable decisive tackles, brought out miraculous balls on the line and sometimes even showed excess: six yellow cards and a defender down on a UFC-worthy knee after an exit from his own guard. But they also and above all showed remarkable tactical cohesion, the result of almost a month of pre-World Cup preparation.
The 4-4-2, flexible in defense at five according to the phases, is pushed; to its climax. The tactical meticulousness of Hervé Renard is noticeable elsewhere in the severity. of his analysis of the first 45 minutes, all in all relatively honest. And yet: “Tactically, we weren’t good in the first period. Our block was quite tight, but the pressure from the last two centrals on Paredes was not enough.”
If he could, he would have gone. himself giving tatane blows to Paredes, Di Maria and Messi. He was dying for it, all agitated. that he was on the edge of the lawn, muscles bulging under his now traditional fitted shirt. It was even believed that it would eventually implode at the end of the day. force to wait for the three liberating whistles. A tension that was matched only by the release that followed.
“We had a great celebration for twenty minutes, and that’ ;is everything.” Saudi Arabia does not intend to stop there. The first goalscorer of the game allows himself to dream. “We have three points, we have two games left. We have a good chance of passing. Winning against the competition favorite is a good boost.” “When we get to the World Cup, you have to believe in yourself”, martèle Hervé Fox. Facing Argentina, çhas paid. And who knows how far? this faith can carry this team.