Saudis appoint Peseiro to salvage World Cup bid

RIYADH - Portugal's Jose Peseiro has been appointed national team coach of Saudi Arabia in a bid to ensure the Gulf giants' passage to the 2010 World Cup finals. The former Panathinaikos and Rapid Bucharest boss becomes the Kingdom's 20th coach since 1994 and is tasked with salvaging the Saudis' slumping World Cup qualifying campaign. The former Asian champions are currently fourth in their five-team group and have four games remaining. They have qualified for the finals on the last four occasions. Saudi Arabia's soccer association confirmed the appointment when contacted by Reuters on Wednesday. Peseiro, 48, was assistant coach to Carlos Quieroz at Real Madrid from 2003-04 and has also coached Sporting Lisbon, whom he took to the 2005 UEFA Cup final. The top two teams in each of the two Asian groups will advance to South Africa 2010, with an additional berth available to the third-placed side via a series of playoffs.