Saudi Arabia Dossier: World Cup Fixtures, Squad, Group, Guide

first_imgSaudi Arabia used to qualify for World Cups as a matter of course, but failure to make 2010 and 2014 had fans desperate to reach the 2018 World Cup.Led by Bert Van Marwijk, they did. Just. There was some luck along the way, but a last-day victory over an already qualified Japan did the trick and put the Green Falcons above Australia on goal difference. Yet qualification was followed by chaos, as Van Marwijk was replaced by Edgardo Bauza – who then left himself. Currently, former Chile coach Juan Antonio Pizzi has taken up the head coaching role.Key Moments in QualifyingSep 2016The opening game against Thailand in Riyadh was proving to be a frustrating experience until the softest of penalties six minutes from the end allowed Nawaf Al Abed to secure the points. Five days later, the midfielder scores twice more from the spot to give the Saudis a come-from behind win against Iraq.Oct 2016With 11 minutes remaining, Van Marwijk’s men are trailing at home to Australia. Then Nasser Al Shamrani strikes to earn what will turn out to be a vital point won.Nov 2016A 2-1 defeat in Japan prevents Saudi Arabia from breaking free at the top of the group.Sep 2017Needing to beat Japan at home in the final game to qualify, winger Fahad Al Muwallad makes the second-half difference and the 1-0 victory is celebrated wildly. But days later Van Marwijk announces he is leaving, with Edgardo Bauza replacing him.Nov 2017After just five games in charge, Argentinian Bauza was sacked as Saudi coach.Saudi Arabia World Cup GroupIn Group A, Saudi Arabia are in a group containing the hosts Russia, Uruguay, and Egypt, lead by Mohamed Salah.Saudi Arabia World Cup FriendliesSaudi Arabia recently played two friendlies as preparation for the World Cup, a 3-0 victory against Moldova, and then a 4-1 loss to Iraq at the end of February. They then drew against Ukraine, but got hammered by Belgium four days later. Two wins against Algeria and Greece followed, and then two losses to Italy and Peru nearly concluded their World Cup friendlies. Finally they lost to Mats Hummels and Germany on the 8th of June. 26th February – Moldova (won 3-0)28th February – Iraq (lost 4-1)23rd March – Ukraine (drew 1-1)27th March – Belgium (lost 4-0)9th May – Algeria (won 2-0)15th May – Greece (won 2-0)28th May – Italy (lost 2-1)3rd June – Peru (lost 3-0)8th June – Germany (lost 2-1)Saudi Arabia World Cup FixturesSaudi Arabia will play in the opening game of the tournament against the hosts Russia on the 14th of June. This will be followed by matches against Uruguay on the 20th and Egypt on the 25th.14th June – Russia20th June – Uruguay25th June – EgyptThe CoachJuan Antonio Pizzi, age 49 (07.06.1968)Even by Saudi standards, the recent coaching merry-go-round was shocking. Van Marwijk, who had been in place for two years and was building a solid team, left just days after the Russian deal was sealed. In came Bauza, who had taken over the United Arab Emirates just weeks previously. A month later, the Argentinian had also said his goodbyes. Juan Antonio Pizzi, who lead Chile to the Copa America Centenario in 2016, has come in to fill the void.The PlayersStarsNawaf Al Abed was cool and composed throughout the final stage, and he scores as well as creates. When given the opportunity, Fahad Al Muwallad is exciting.StalwartsOsama Hawsawi has been in the centre of defence for a long time – although some feel for too long.MissingNasser Al Shamrani was Asian Player of the Year in 2014 but he started just one game in qualifying.DebutantsVan Marwijk gave a first call-up to right-back Mohammed Al Burayk and the 25-year-old performed well under pressure. Saudi Arabia World Cup SquadFinal 23-man squad – GOALKEEPERS: Mohammed Al Owais (Al Ahli), Yasser Al Mosailem (Al Ahli), Abdullah Al Mayouf (Al Hilal).DEFENDERS: Mansoor Al Harbi (Al Ahli), Yasser Al Shahrani (Al Hilal) Mohammed Al Breik (Al Hilal), Motaz Hawsawi (Al Ahli), Osama Hawsawi (Al Hilal), Omar Hawsawi (Al Nassr), Ali Al Bulaihi (Al Hilal).MIDFIELDERS: Abdullah Al Khaibari (Al Shabab), Abdulmalek Al Khaibri (Al Hilal), Abdullah Otayf (Al Hilal), Taiseer Al Jassim (Al Ahli), Houssain Al Mogahwi (Al Ahli), Salman Al Faraj, Mohamed Kanno (both Al Hilal), Hattan Bahebri (Al Shabab), Salem Al Dawsari (Al Hilal), Yahya Al Shehri (Al Nassr), Fahad Al Muwallad (Al Ittihad).FORWARDS: Mohammad Al Sahlawi (Al Nassr), Muhannad Assiri (Al Ahli). The Unanswered QuestionsWhat effect will the change of coaches have?Losing the experienced Bert Van Marwijk, who took his homeland to the 2010 Final, was huge. Not only did he know the players, they knew him and his system. Edgardo Bauza barely had time to get to know the squad, but friendly performances against Portugal and Bulgaria ended with much criticism and his departure proves that there are few seats as hot as that of Saudi Arabia’s coach. Time will tell if Pizzi can be as effective in this role as he had been with Chile.Is Osama Hawsawi up to the job?At 33, the centre-back and captain came into the team just after the 2006 World Cup but his ageing legs have been showing a little of late.What about international exposure?Almost all the Saudis play at home and this is a problem. Nine were loaned to La Liga clubs in a marketing move to increase the league’s visibility in the Kingdom, but it did not work as they spent all their time on the bench. *Follow the World Cup with the Multimedia Group! With live English radio commentary on Joy 99.7 FM radio, Akan radio commentary on Asempa 94.7 FM and livestreaming on Myjoyonline.com, we’ve got you covered all-tournament long.last_img read more

Will Smith leads Dodgers’ home run barrage in Miami

first_imgThe rookie right-hander retired the first nine batters he faced and didn’t allow a ball hit out of the infield until the fourth inning. May gave up just one run on three hits in 5 2/3 innings earning his first major-league win.“Dustin didn’t get ahead as much as he did his last start, wasn’t as sharp,” Roberts said.“In spurts there were some good throws in there. Getting ahead, he didn’t do as good a job. But when you don’t have your best stuff or your best command, to still go out there and put up zeroes, that’s where you have to tip your hat to a young player like Dustin.”It remains to be seen how May might fare in October — if given the chance this year. But August has been a breeze.Since being promoted from Triple-A at the start of the month, May has a 2.65 ERA and 1.18 WHIP over three starts with 15 strikeouts and just two walks in his first 17 big-league innings.“That they’re just normal people too. They get out like everybody else,” May said when asked what he had learned about big-league hitters in that time. “The only real difference is they hit the mistakes a little bit harder. So I just have to minimize the mistakes on my end.” The man Smith passed in both categories, Cody Bellinger, also homered Tuesday, matching his rookie season total (39) with 41 games to go.Justin Turner, Corey Seager and Matt Beaty also hit home runs as the Dodgers pounded Marlins pitchers. The first three (Jordan Yamamoto, Wei-Yin Chen and Austin Brice) didn’t give up a single hit — but gave up six home runs and five doubles (three to A.J. Pollock).The Dodgers didn’t get a single until the 12th of their 15 hits in the game (a two-out base hit by Kristopher Negron in the ninth) and that was immediately followed by another double, Ferguson’s, and the only triple of the night. Three runs scored when Marlins center fielder Lewis Brinson made an unsuccessful dive for Beaty’s line drive, allowing three runs to score.All of that made maintaining his curly locks in the Miami humidity Dustin May’s only real worry.Related Articles Dodgers’ Max Muncy trying to work his way out of slow start It ended with catchers pitching for both teams. Bryan Holaday got the last out in the top of the ninth becoming the only one of six Marlins pitchers to record an out and not give up a run. Russell Martin topped that, closing out the game with a scoreless bottom of the ninth — maintaining his career 0.00 ERA after three appearances.“It was as good of a night as we’ve had all year and that’s saying a lot,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said of the offensive assault which included back-to-back home runs on two occasions. “We only had two singles and that didn’t come until the ninth inning. Just really good at-bats all around to a man, really.“It’s just a relentless approach.”Rookie catcher Will Smith hit two of the Dodgers’ six home runs and drove in three of the runs. The two-homer game was Smith’s first, yet another item checked off his big-league bucket list. His nine home runs and 26 RBI are the most over the first 23 games of a career by anyone in franchise history — more of an offensive impact than the Dodgers could rightfully have expected.“Yeah, I guess so, I mean, up to this point as far as the production. You know you can bet on the makeup and the work ethic,” Roberts said. “He’s just very confident right now. He stays in the strike zone, has a really good plan every time he steps in the box and when he gets a pitch he’s not missing it.” Dodgers hit seven home runs, sweep Colorado Rockies Fire danger is on Dave Roberts’ mind as Dodgers head to San Francisco center_img Cody Bellinger homer gives Dodgers their first walkoff win of season How Dodgers pitcher Ross Stripling topped the baseball podcast empire PreviousLos Angeles Dodgers’ Will Smith watches his solo home run during the fourth inning of the team’s baseball game against the Miami Marlins, Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2019, in Miami. At right is Marlins catcher Jorge Alfaro. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)Los Angeles Dodgers’ Justin Turner is congratulated in the dugout after hitting a two-run during the seventh inning of a baseball game against the Miami Marlins, Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2019, in Miami. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky) SoundThe gallery will resume insecondsLos Angeles Dodgers’ Cody Bellinger (35) tosses his bat after striking out during the first inning of the team’s baseball game against the Miami Marlins, Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2019, in Miami. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)Miami Marlins starting pitcher Jordan Yamamoto stands on the mound as Los Angeles Dodgers’ Corey Seager, left, rounds first base after hitting a two-run home run during the fourth inning of a baseball game Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2019, in Miami. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)Los Angeles Dodgers’ Corey Seager runs the bases after hitting a two-run home run during the fifth inning of the team’s baseball game against the Miami Marlins, Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2019, in Miami. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)Miami Marlins’ Starlin Castro holds his helmet after flying out during the ninth inning of the team’s baseball game against the Los Angeles Dodgers, Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2019, in Miami. The Dodgers won 15-1. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)Miami Marlins relief pitcher Wei-Yin Chen waits as Los Angeles Dodgers’ Cody Bellinger runs the bases after hitting a solo home run during the seventh inning of a baseball game Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2019, in Miami. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)Miami Marlins starting pitcher Jordan Yamamoto throws during the first inning of the team’s baseball game against the Los Angeles Dodgers, Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2019, in Miami. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)Los Angeles Dodgers’ A.J. Pollock runs after hitting a double during the fourth inning of the team’s baseball game against the Miami Marlins, Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2019, in Miami. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)Los Angeles Dodgers’ Corey Seager (5) is met by A.J. Pollock (11) at the plate after hitting a two-run home run during the fourth inning of a baseball game against the Miami Marlins, Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2019, in Miami. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Dustin May is high-fived after being removed during the sixth inning of the team’s baseball game against the Miami Marlins, Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2019, in Miami. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)Los Angeles Dodgers’ Justin Turner watches two-run home run during the seventh inning of the team’s baseball game against the Miami Marlins, Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2019, in Miami. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Dustin May, right, hands the ball to manager Dave Roberts (30) as he is removed during the sixth inning of the team’s baseball game against the Miami Marlins, Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2019, in Miami. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)Los Angeles Dodgers catcher Russell Martin delivers a pitch in relief during the ninth inning of the team’s baseball game against the Miami Marlins, Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2019, in Miami. The Dodgers won 15-1. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)Miami Marlins assistant trainer Mike Kozak, right, talks with home plate umpire Chad Fairchild after Fairchild was hit by a pitch thrown by Miami Marlins reliever Jarlin Garcia during the ninth inning of the Marlins’ baseball game against the Los Angeles Dodgers, Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2019, in Miami. The Dodgers won 15-1. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)Los Angeles Dodgers’ Will Smith watches his solo home run during the fourth inning of the team’s baseball game against the Miami Marlins, Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2019, in Miami. At right is Marlins catcher Jorge Alfaro. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)NextShow Caption1 of 15Los Angeles Dodgers’ Will Smith watches his solo home run during the fourth inning of the team’s baseball game against the Miami Marlins, Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2019, in Miami. At right is Marlins catcher Jorge Alfaro. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)ExpandMIAMI — It’s a long way from the top to the bottom of the National League.The Dodgers, the league’s best team with 80 wins, hammered that point — along with a lot of pitches — home Tuesday night, battering the league’s worst team, the Miami Marlins, 15-1.The Dodgers tied a franchise record with 13 extra-base hits (six home runs, six doubles and a triple) and set a Marlins Park record with six home runs. Nine different Dodgers had at least one extra-base hit — including reliever Caleb Ferguson who now has two major-league hits to cherish.The lopsided evening played out in front of announced crowd of 8,729 fans — many of them wearing Dodgers blue and not Marlins … whatever their latest team color is. Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorlast_img read more