Coach Herve Renard called Tuesday on his Saudi Arabia players to ensure they leave their mark on the World Cup in Qatar and are remembered “forever.”
Frenchman Renard’s rousing half-time team talk in Saudi Arabia’s shock come-from-behind victory over Argentina has gone down in legend.
A short clip of Renard firing up his World Cup minnows when trailing 1-0 at half-time to a Lionel Messi penalty – they bounced back to win 2-1 — proved a viral hit.
He admitted that his team talks don’t always have such a dramatic effect.
“I accepted for the communications department to record one minute (at half-time) so this day I was lucky because it worked,” Renard said at a press conference before Saudi Arabia play Mexico in their final group game.
“But I’m coaching for more than 20 years now and with a lot of humility I can tell you it was not working all the time, unfortunately!”
Given that his team’s comeback was against one of the world’s greatest ever players in Messi, “there is a big impact, it will stay forever,” Renard said. “At least some people will remember me.”
Having beaten Argentina but then lost to Poland, Saudi Arabia need to beat Mexico on Wednesday in their final Group C match to guarantee a place in the knock-out rounds.
He recalled that the last time Saudi Arabia reached the second round was in 1994, 28 years ago.
“For our players, it’s a very good generation but if they want the fans to remember them they have to make history, otherwise everybody will forget in 20 or 30 years,” Renard said.
Getting through to the knockout phase could be extra special for Renard given the possibility his side could face France.
“Of course I know the draw, I’d be a liar if I said I hadn’t studied the draw,” he said.
“Let’s concentrate on qualification, putting all our energy into achieving it and if ever tomorrow you’re here and it’s happened, with a big smile I’ll say it will be a great clash.”
With Saudi Arabia on the brink of a historic qualification, Renard was asked if the Mexico clash was the biggest match of his life.
But he insisted that winning two finals at the Africa Cup of Nations – with Zambia in 2012 and Ivory Coast in 2015 – remained more important.
“Those are meetings that you must not mess up, otherwise you will regret it your whole life.
“Having regrets is the most harmful thing you can have in life, and you must always be positive.”
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