Qatar 2022: MbS tells Saudi football team to have fun at World Cup

Qatar 2022: MbS tells Saudi football team to have fun at World Cup
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman told the Saudi players that they were not expected to win any points at the upcoming World Cup in Qatar, and that they should enjoy the tournament.
2 min read
25 October, 2022
Saudi Arabia will face Argentina in their first match at the 2022 World Cup [Getty]

Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman told the country's football team to just have fun during the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, as no one expects them to win any points. 

On Sunday, the crown prince met with players and staff and told the team he doesn't want them to feel any pressure. 

"I know our group is difficult in the World Cup, and nobody expects us to secure a win or a draw. So what I want to say is just be comfortable, play your game and enjoy the tournament," he said. 

Although Saudi Arabia have picked up a win and two draws in their last three games, they face tough opponents in Argentina, Mexico, and Poland in Group C of the World Cup.

They will kick off the tournament against heavyweights Argentina on 22 November.

This is the sixth World Cup the Green Falcons, as the team is nicknamed, have qualified for.

They have won three of the 16 matches they played in the World Cup finals, and only once progressed through the group stage - in the 1994 World Cup held in the United States. 

They are currently led by the French coach Herve Renard, who has been in charge of the team since 2019. He previously managed Zambia and the Ivory Coast, and became the first manager to with the African Cup of Nations with both countries. 

Saudi Arabia must find their scoring touch if they are to have any chance to get out of the group, as they have scored only one goal in the last five matches. 

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The kingdom has repeatedly been accused of 'sportswashing', of using football and other sports to distract from its abysmal record on human and women’s rights. 

The Gulf state is reportedly preparing a bid to host the World Cup in 2030 alongside Greece and Egypt.

It also now owns Newcastle United, one of the Premier League's best supported clubs.