Saudi Arabia

Saudi FA extends Juan Antonio Pizzi’s contract until Feb 2019

Saudi FA extends Juan Antonio Pizzi’s contract until Feb 2019

DAMIR SAGOLJ

REUTERS

The Argentine Juan Antonio Pizzi will be in charge for next year’s Asian Cup in the United Arab Emirates.

The Saudi Arabian Football Federation (SAFF) has extended Juan Antonio Pizzi’s contract as head coach of the national team until the end of the Asian Cup in February 2019.

SAFF announced the contract extension on Tuesday, a day after the Green Falcons claimed a surprise victory over Egypt in their last World Cup game.

‘The Saudi Arabian Football Federation extends the Saudi national team manager Juan Pizzi's contract until the end of the Asian Cup tournament,’ the FA wrote on Twitter.

Marked improvement

The 50-year-old Argentine began coaching Saudi Arabia in November, with a contract due to expire after the end of the country’s participation at the World Cup in Russia.

Pizzi’s hopes of staying beyond the tournament looked slim, as the Green Falcons were thrashed 5-0 in their first World Cup game against Russia.

However, the Saudis showed a marked improvement in their subsequent games, losing 1-0 against Uruguay and achieving a 2-1 victory over Egypt, the country’s first at a World Cup since beating Belgium in 1994.

‘I’d like to reiterate that I and the whole staff is really, really happy with the players and the way they have responded together with the response we have had from the association,’ Pizzi said after the match on Monday.

The Argentine has won four of his 12 games in charge of the Saudi team. He is expected to improve that win ration at the Asian Cup in the UAE, bidding to win the tournament for the first time since 1996.

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