World Cup REPORT CARD: Saudi Arabia – A memorable campaign ends in disappointment

Saudi Arabia’s World Cup campaign could have been very different if they could have made some small margins count, but it proved to be a campaign which will be remembered for a long time indeed.

A lot of it is probably because of their win over Argentina, which will go down as one of the biggest upsets of all time. But the Asian side gave a very good account of themselves, as they showed that they have improved from the 2018 edition of the tournament and are much more effective on the ball than they used to be and that their technical level has grown.

It will be fair to say that if not for Wojciech Szczesny’s penalty and rebound save against Poland, things could have been very different for Saudi Arabia.

Most impressive player: Salem Aldawsari scored two goals for Saudi Arabia and his exceptional goal v Argentina will go down the history books of the World Cup and forfootball in Saudi Arabia. His combination play with those around him is a vital trait and he is representative of the fact that football in Saudi Arabia is going in the right direction.

Biggest disappointment: The failure to beat Poland was probably the biggest disappointment for them, as a win would have all but guaranteed a spot in the knockout stages and they were playing well too. If not for Szczesny, they would have beaten the Poles and more than the penalty, the rebound save would be playing in their minds again and again.

Grade: B – It was close to the sort of the World Cup that many Saudi Arabia fans would have imagined


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