Saudi Arabia’s sports authorities threatened to hold members of the national team ‘accountable’ after their humiliating 5-0 defeat to Russia in the opening match of the World Cup.
The game was attended by Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who sat next to Fifa president Gianni Infantino and Russian head of state Vladimir Putin.
‘The result was disappointing and unsatisfactory,’ Adel Ezzat, president of the Saudi Football Federation (SFF), told Al-Arabiya television Friday.
A ‘number of players’ including goalkeeper Abdullah Al-Mayouf would be held accountable, he added.
Some players to be punished
Ezzat said that some members of the team will face ‘penalties’ for their disappointing performance in the game against Russia.
‘This result is totally unsatisfactory, because it does not reflect the true level of our preparedness,’ Ezzat said.
‘The collapse was not because of fitness, but errors in passing the ball, technical errors.
‘Several players will face a penalty – goalkeeper Abdullah Al-Mayouf, striker Mohammad Al-Sahlawi and defender Omar Hawsawi,’ he added.
Details of the punishment are yet to be revealed by the Saudi football authorities.
How it looked just before kick-off... pic.twitter.com/0eAJ1bAsH1— AS English (@English_AS) 14 June 2018
This is the first time Saudi Arabia reaches the World Cup finals since the 2006 edition in Germany.
Head coach Juan Antonio Pizzi took over the national team in November last year after the SFF sacked Edgardo Bauza, who had only been in charge for two months.