2018 World Cup team preview: Saudi Arabia

(Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

Getting to know Saudi Arabia: Your introduction to the Saudi Arabia national team was likely either in the FIFA 94 video game — (nerd voice: You mean FIFA International Soccer, Nick) — or that summer’s World Cup tournament which saw the Green Falcons stun Belgium and beat Morocco in making it out of the group stage in America.

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Saudi Arabia qualified for the next three tournaments, but did not win a match. Their finishes? 28th, 32nd, and 28th. After two tournaments off, the Green Falcons are back in the World Cup.

For more history on Saudi Arabia, click here.

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What group are they in? Group A

Game schedule – Group A – Full 2018 World Cup schedule, here

Thursday, June 14: Russia v Saudi Arabia,  Moscow 11 a.m. ET
Weds., June 20: Uruguay vs. Saudi Arabia, Rostov-on-Don 11 a.m. ET
Monday, June 25: Saudi Arabia v Egypt, Volgograd 10 a.m. ET

Projected lineup (4-3-2-1) – Check out the 23-man squad list in full

—– Al-Muaiouf —–

 Al-Burayk — Al-Boleahi — Hawsawi— Al-Harbi

Al-Faraj — Ali-Khaibari —- Kanu

Al-Jassim —- Al-Shehri


Star player: Mohammad Al-Sahlawi — Scored the first of his 28 international goals as an equalizer against Spain in 2010. While Saudi Arabia would lose 3-2, Al-Sahlawi has continued to score in becoming a national hero. He broke the Saudi transfer record in 2008, and has scored 108 league goals in 174 matches for Al-Nassr.

Manager: Juan Antonio Pizzi – A La Liga winner as a player at Barcelona, Pizzi has watched over Valencia, Leon, and San Lorenzo as a manager. Internationally, he guided Chile to the 2016 Copa America.

Juan Antonio Pizzi  (Photo by Buda Mendes/Getty Images)

Secret weapon: Fahad Al-Muwallad — The 23-year-old is back from a loan to Levante in La Liga, and can dazzle when in form.

Prediction: Out in the group stage. Scoring multiple goals would be an achievement, and plucking a point cause for celebration.