Preview: Saudi Arabia v Spain

With Spain all but assured top spot in Group H and Saudi Arabia playing for pride only, their final group match in Kaiserslautern is not expected to be one of the classics.

    Put to the sword: Saudi Arabia coach Marcos Paqueta

    Mathematically, Saudi Arabia can still qualify for the second round, however they need to defeat Spain on Friday, have Ukraine lose or draw to Tunisia, and also turn a hefty negative goal difference into a large positive one.

    It has again been a tough tournament for the Arab nation, throwing away a lead in the dying stages of their match against Tunisia, and then getting thumped 4-0 by Ukraine, but coach Marcos Paqueta praised his team for their efforts, and for not giving up in the face of adversity.

    "I'm a fighter. I look at life like a challenge. Problems are for men, challenges for warriors," said the Brazilian reaching for his sword and shield.

    "The team did not give up and fought until the end."

    "The most important thing is that the players showed they were committed," Paqueta said.

    "We now have to concentrate on the Spain game. We have to focus all our efforts on that," he added.

    Spaniards Carlos Puyol (L) and
    Joaquin at training

    Thinking ahead to bigger things, Spanish coach Luis Aragones may rest his entire starting 11 in the match against the Saudis as he believes his team have already secured the number one spot in Group H and will play Switzerland, South Korea, or France in the next round.

    Although Spain had to come from behind in their 3-1 win over Tunisia, they did it quite comfortably in the end thanks to substitutes Raul, Cesc Fabregas and Joaquin, and these three players may have earned themselves a start in the next match, along with the other Spanish benchwarmers.

    The Europeans have scored 7 goals in their two matches so far, while the Saudis have shipped 6, so this match could see another avalanche of goals if the Asian team aren’t careful.

    SOURCE: Aljazeera + Agencies


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