World Cup: Saudi Arabia falls back to earth

World Cup: Saudi Arabia falls back to earth


A few days after surprising the soccer world by beating Argentina, Saudi Arabia were powerless against Poland, who got the better of them by a score of 2-0, on Saturday at the Qatar World Cup in Al-Rayyan.

This is a tough comeback after the excitement of the 2-1 victory over the strip to Lionel Messi. The Saudis looked good again by having more possession of the ball and shooting more than the opposition towards the opposing net, but without success.

“I'm proud of what we've done, and I don't think we're done. We're still here and we're going to fight until the last second of the World Cup,” coach Hervé Renard assured Saudi television in an interview.

Saudi Arabia got its best chance just before half-time. After consulting the video replay for contact in the penalty area, the referee awarded a penalty shot. However, goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny stood up to Salem Al-Dawsari's attempt.

Piotr Zielinski opened the scoring in the 39th minute by taking advantage of a powerful throw-in in front of the net from Robert Lewandowski. Abandoned in front of Mohammed Al-Owais, the midfielder scored the first Polish goal of this World Cup.

“The first goal and the 'penalty' saved put us in the mood, because it was before the break. There was power in this team. I'm very happy that we managed to win and it's a well-deserved victory,” said head coach Czeslaw Michniewicz.

Lewandowski's emotions

Lewandowski has scored one of his great goals in the 82nd minute. The FC Barcelona striker opened his World Cup counter by stealing the ball from midfielder Abdulellah Al-Malki before beating the goalkeeper at close range. The 34-year-old collapsed to the ground in tears, happy to have scored at this tournament after long years of waiting.

This is the 77th international goal for the great Pole, who broke into the top 10 of all time. He notably joined the legendary Brazilian Pelé in this ranking.

Poland are temporarily top of Group C, pending the result of the duel between Argentina and Mexico later on Saturday.

“Of course, four points doesn't solve anything, but I'm happy that we scored two goals,” explained Michniewicz. We also had good chances to add to the score. Of course, the opponent also had his chances, as in every game.”