Hervé Renard, the French wolf who devoured Messi’s dreams

Between the two halves of their opening encounter at the World Cup Qatar 2022, which ended late with a goal by the great Lionel Messi, the Saudi national team’s players were overcome with the emotion and anxiety of losing.


The Saudi national team, which seemed the weakest link in the third group, was able to explore the biggest surprises in the Qatar World Cup 2022 so far and overturn its delay with the goal of a brilliant and exciting victory (2-1).


One of the leaders of the resounding success of Saudi football in the Lusail stadium was a French coach who derived his football savvy from his name, Renard, which means “the fox” in French.

Before the start of the second half, Hervé Renard, the French national team coach of Saudi Arabia, pushed his side harder than ever to accomplish a first-ever World Cup victory.


Renard was able to use his tactical cunning to block the way for the “Tango” team, not only to stop its pursuit of a record-breaking unbeaten record in 37 international matches but also to overthrow the dreams of Messi’s companions from a great height.


A Real Inspiring Coach


The French coach, Renard, was not one of the coaches who show off their abilities and achievements, but rather he was one of those who let the ball speak for them.


Before the start of the Qatar World Cup, Renard said, “The Green Falcons will not play under pressure, and their goals will not be to seek to equal what Saudi football achieved in the 1994 World Cup, but they will only show a beautiful image of Saudi football.”


Despite what is known for his strictness, Renard was often willing to ease the pressure on the players


This was evident in most of his statements, even after the impressive victory over Argentina in the third round, when he confirmed that the celebration of the victory would not exceed 20 minutes.


Renard said: “We celebrated this victory for 20 minutes, but we must not forget that we will play two difficult matches. You can win the first match and then lose the next two matches and be deposited”.


Renard added, “Let’s celebrate this victory, but we have to be ready for the next match, when you play the World Cup, everything can happen in football.”


The ceiling of the Argentine national team’s aspirations was high, as it entered the World Cup in Qatar after many nominated it to regain a world title that was absent from the country of legend Maradona 36 years ago.


Renard was planning on the opposite side to lead Saudi football to a historic achievement by qualifying for the second round of the World Cup for the first time since its first participation in the 1994 World Cup in America.


African achievements and World Cup dreams


Renard, 54, is described as a crazy coach who has calmness as much as he has enthusiasm, as he inspired his players with motivating words between the halves of the Saudi Arabia and Argentina match that had the effect of magic on their performance.


His words made every member of the team shine, starting with goalkeeper Mohammed Al Owais, who was named the best player in the match, to Salem Al Dosari, who scored a great goal.


Saudi defender Abd al-Ilah al-Maliki summed up what happened during the break, when Argentina was ahead by a goal, by saying, “We have a crazy coach who motivated us between the two halves, and said words to us that made us want to eat grass impulsively.”



Renard’s success with the Saudi national team was not the only noteworthy event in his coaching career; he had also enabled the Moroccan national team to qualify for the 2018 World Cup in Russia following a thrilling victory against Ivory Coast in the pivotal match in November 2017.


In his inspiring experiences in Africa, the French coach achieved two other achievements in his career, which was to lead Zambia to its first title in the African Cup of Nations in 2012,


Renard also won the same title with Ivory Coast 3 years later, becoming the first coach to lead two teams to the continental championship.


Renard took over the training of the Saudi national team in July 2019, after an experience at the head of the Moroccan coaching staff and participation in the World Cup in Russia, in which he was eliminated from the first round, but he made good performances, most notably his tie with Spain.


So far, the French coach has achieved 22 wins, 11 draws, and 7 defeats with the Green Falcons, results that prompted the Saudi Football Association on May 27 to extend his contract until June 2027.

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