Saudi Arabia manager 'very excited about our chances at the World Cup'
Juan Antonio Pizzi's team scheduled to play a friendly on Wednesday against Algeria and then Greece six days later
Saudi Arabia manager Juan Antonio Pizzi says he is pleased with his team’s World Cup preparations as they ramp up this week in Marbella.
The Saudi squad have been in Spain for the past week and a half following the conclusion of the Saudi Pro League season on April 12. The team are scheduled to play a friendly on Wednesday against Algeria and then Greece six days later, before the group moves to Switzerland for another camp.
Saudi Arabia, who last contested the World Cup in 2006, have been placed in Group A in Russia, where they will take on the hosts in the tournament’s opening game before clashes against Uruguay and Egypt.
For Pizzi, though, all sights are trained on that first encounter with Russia at the Luzhniki Stadium on June 14.
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“Our planning is working very well for the next World Cup,” he said. “We started in January with a training camp, and then in February, another one last month and now in Marbella, Spain and the last one to come in Switzerland.
“Our focus is totally on the first game against Russia and the players are working very hard for that. We have time to prepare the World Cup: we started on April 25 and have almost two months to prepare for the first game, so we’re very happy with the time. We are very excited about our chances at the World Cup.”
Pizzi was speaking in Dubai on Friday night, where he attended the draw for the 2019 Asian Cup, the Asian Football Confederation's marquee event that takes place in the UAE early next year.
Saudi Arabia, three-time winners of the continent’s premier competition, were drawn in Group E together with Qatar, Lebanon and North Korea. The Saudis last won the tournament in 1996, the only previous time it has been staged in the Emirates.
Updated: May 5, 2018 06:21 PM