MOSCOW – Saudi Arabia’s national soccer team coach, Juan Antonio Pizzi, said on Wednesday that his boys can beat Russia in the 2018 FIFA World Cup opening match if they manage to control the ball and counteract the Russian team’s strong points.
The Argentine coach made his remarks at a press conference on the eve of the Saudi Arabia-Russia clash.
“My style is to compete ... Our objective is to beat Russia,” Pizzi said.
Pizzi declined to comment on the Egypt-Uruguay match, as both teams are matched with Saudi Arabia in Group A, noting that the only way to succeed is to focus on each game as it comes along.
Asked about the pressure that the Russian team may feel when they make their debut as the hosts of this year’s tourney, Pizzi acknowledged that this point may work in Saudi Arabia’s favor but added that all the teams in Russia feel some kind of pressure.
For his part, Saudi team captain Osama Hawsawi thanked God for the opportunity to play in the World Cup and expressed confidence that he and his teammates can advance from the group stage to the next round.
“I think we have to do everything in our power to get through the group (stage). I don’t think it’s impossible. Anything is possible in soccer,” Hawsawi said.