'TAKE IT EASY'

Saudi Arabia boss Renard calls for calm after Argentina upset

The result marked Saudi Arabia’s first-ever victory over the South American team and only their fourth win in 17 World Cup matches.

In Summary

•Saudi Arabia will meet Poland in their next match on Saturday before facing Mexico four days later.

•“We made history and it will last forever but we also need to concentrate on our next two games,"—Herve Renard

Lionel Messi of Argentina vies with Hassan Altambakti of Saudi Arabia during the Group C match at the 2022 FIFA World Cup at Lusail Stadium in Lusail, Qatar
Lionel Messi of Argentina vies with Hassan Altambakti of Saudi Arabia during the Group C match at the 2022 FIFA World Cup at Lusail Stadium in Lusail, Qatar
Image: XINHUA

Saudi Arabia manager Herve Renard urged his players to “keep their feet on the ground” after a shock 2-1 victory over Argentina in their World Cup Group C match on Tuesday.

The result marked Saudi Arabia’s first-ever victory over the South American team and only their fourth win in 17 World Cup matches.

“We made history and it will last forever but we also need to concentrate on our next two games,” the 54-year-old Frenchman said in the post-match press conference.

“Our celebrations in the dressing room lasted only 20 minutes or less. We have two more games and we have to concentrate on those. The players have worked very hard and always maintained good team spirit, never complaining. Now they just need to keep their feet on the ground.”

Saudi Arabia will meet Poland in their next match on Saturday before facing Mexico four days later. Both opponents might have penciled in their duel with Renard’s men as a victory but that might have changed after seeing how they dismantled the reigning South American champions.

Saudi Arabia can now entertain the prospect of reaching the knockout stage, a feat they have achieved only once before with a last-16 finish in the United States 28 years ago. Renard added: “I didn’t put any pressure on the players. Argentina are a strong team ... but this is football, crazy things can happen.”

Meanwhile, Denmark were held to a draw by Tunisia in their World Cup opener in a raucous atmosphere at the Education City Stadium in Al Rayyan.

Despite fielding many Premier League regulars, the much-fancied Danes were given a tough workout in Group D. Both sides had goals ruled out for offside, while Denmark’s Andreas Cornelius somehow missed from a yard.

There was 95th-minute drama when referee Cesar Ramos checked the pitchside monitor over a potential Denmark penalty for handball, only to stick with his original decision and award a goal-kick. One of the pre-tournament favourite, Denmark will need to find some form if they are to qualify from a group that also includes World Cup holders France.