When the Saudi national team players left the Lusail stadium towards the changing room, between the halves of their first match in the World Cup Qatar 2022, late with a goal for the star Lionel Messi, heartbreak and fear of defeat were visible on everyone's faces, but the French coach of the Saudi green, Hervé Renard, armed with great confidence. himself and his players to sharpen their resolve before the start of the second half, and push them towards a first historic achievement for Saudi football in the history of its participation in the World Cup.

The Saudi national team, which seemed - according to observers - the weakest link in the third group, which includes Argentina, Poland and Mexico, was able to explode the biggest surprises in the Qatar World Cup 2022 so far, and overturn its delay with the aim of a brilliant and exciting victory (2-1) thanks to two goals from its two stars, Saleh Al-Shehri and Salem Al-Dosari.

One of the leaders of the resounding success of Saudi football in the Lusail Stadium match was a French coach who derived his football cunning from his name Renard, which means “fox” in French. Renard was able to employ his tactical cunning to block the way for the “Tango” team, not to stop his pursuit of a record-breaking unbeaten record. Not only in 37 international matches, but also to overthrow the dreams of Messi's companions from a great height.

Brief celebration and great realism

The French coach, Renard, was not one of the kind of coaches who show off their abilities and achievements. Rather, he was one of those who let the ball talk about them. Before the start of the Qatar World Cup, the coach who was able to lead the Saudi national team to qualify for the 2022 World Cup said, "The Green Falcons will not play under pressure, and they will not be." Their goals are to seek to equal what Saudi football achieved in the 1994 World Cup, but they will only have to show a beautiful image of Saudi football.”

Despite what is known about his strictness and censure of the players with the aim of pushing them to present a distinguished level, Renard often intended to reduce the pressure on them, which was evident in most of his statements even after the impressive victory over Argentina in the third round, when he confirmed that the celebration of the victory over the national team Strong like Argentina will not exceed 20 minutes.

A Saudi celebration of the first brilliant Arab victory in the World Cup (Getty Images)

Renard said: "We celebrated this victory for 20 minutes, but we must not forget that we will play two difficult matches. You can win the first match and then lose the next two matches and be deposited. Let's celebrate this victory, but we have to be ready for the next match. When you play the World Cup Anything can happen in football."

Renard took over the Saudi national team in July 2019 and led it to qualify for the World Cup for the sixth time in the history of the Saudi green (Reuters)

The ceiling of the Argentine national team's ambitions was high, as it entered the World Cup in Qatar after many nominated it to regain a world title that had been absent from the country of legend Maradona 36 years ago, but Renard was planning on the opposite side to lead Saudi football to a historic achievement also by qualifying for the second round of the World Cup for the first time since the first Participation in the World Cup in America in 1994.

African achievements and World Cup dreams

Renard, 54, is described as a crazy coach who possesses calmness as much as he is enthusiastic, as he heard his players motivating words between the halves of the Saudi Arabia and Argentina match that had the effect of magic on their performance. In the match, to Salem Al-Dosari, who scored a wonderful goal, and became the second Saudi to score in two different World Cups, after Sami Al-Jaber.

Saudi defender Abd al-Ilah al-Maliki summed up what happened during the break, when Argentina was ahead by a goal, by saying, "We have a crazy coach who motivated us between the two halves, and said words to us that made us want to eat grass impulsively."

Renard's achievement in opening the Saudi national team's participation in the World Cup was not the only remarkable event in his coaching career, as he had previously achieved a difficult qualification for the 2018 World Cup in Russia with the Moroccan national team, after he returned with an exciting victory from Ivory Coast in the decisive match in November. 2017.

In his inspiring experiences in the brown continent, the French coach achieved two other achievements in his career represented in leading Zambia to win its first titles in the African Cup of Nations in 2012, and won the same title with Ivory Coast 3 years later, to become the first coach to lead two different teams to the continental title.

Renard took over the training of the Saudi national team in July 2019, after an experience at the head of the Moroccan coaching staff and participation in the World Cup in Russia, in which he was eliminated from the first round, but he made good performances, most notably his tie with Spain.

So far, the French coach has achieved 22 wins, 11 draws, and 7 defeats with the Green Falcons, results that prompted the Saudi Football Association on May 27 to extend his contract until June 2027.