Saudi Arabia World Cup 2022 squad: Herve Renard announces final 26-man team

Saudi Arabia World Cup 2022 squad
(Image credit: PA)

The Saudi Arabia World Cup 2022 squad has been announced, after manager Herve Renard whittled down his 32-player provisional list to the final 26. 

In the past few years, the Green Falcons have proved there’s a lot more to Saudi Arabian football than Newcastle United.

Saudi Arabia secured qualification for back-to-back World Cups with two games to spare, topping a third round group that included both Japan and Australia. With the World Cup on their doorstep, there is growing optimism that Herve Renard’s side can match, or even exceed, their 1994 achievement of making it into the last 16 – battling Mexico and Poland for second place is hardly an exercise in futility.

In order to succeed at the Qatar World Cup 2022, Saudi Arabia will need to retain the disciplined aggression they showed during qualifying. After second-round draws with Yemen and Palestine early on in Renard’s tenure, Saudi Arabia’s passage to Qatar was strong, even if five of their seven wins in the third round were 1-0. They also won all five home games and beat Oman just across the border, showing they relish Middle Eastern conditions. 

Several key players are club-mates at Al Hilal, including midfielders Salem Al Dawsari, Mohamed Kanno and Salman Al Faraj, and Renard has built on that familiarity to create a cohesive unit. Defensively sound, the team kept six clean sheets in third round qualifying.

As with many West Asian nations, an entirely domestic squad lacks top-level experience; the Saudi FA tried to tackle that in 2018 by loaning out players to Spanish clubs, but it didn’t really work. Meanwhile, Renard can’t decide upon his best striker, with 22-year-old Firas Al Buraikan proving less effective as a lone frontman and Saleh Al Shehri bringing experience but inconsistency.

Saudi Arabia World Cup 2022 squad

Saudi Arabia World Cup 2022 squad: The final 26-man team

  • GK: Mohammed Al-Owais (Al-Hilal)
  • GK: Mohammed Al-Rubaie (Al-Ahli)
  • GK: Nawaf Al-Aqidi (Al-Nassr)
  • DF: Yasser Al-Shahrani (Al-Hilal)
  • DF: Mohammed Al-Breik (Al-Hilal)
  • DF: Ali Al-Bulaihi (Al-Hilal)
  • DF: Sultan Al-Ghanam (Al-Nassr)
  • DF: Saud Abdulhamid (Al-Hilal)
  • DF: Abdulelah Al-Amri (Al-Nassr)
  • DF: Hassan Tambakti (Al-Shabab)
  • DF: Abdullah Madu (Al-Nassr)
  • MF: Salman Al-Faraj (Al-Hilal)
  • MF: Salem Al-Dawsari (Al-Hilal)
  • MF: Nawaf Al-Abed (Al-Shabab)
  • MF: Abdullah Otayf (Al-Hilal)
  • MF: Hattan Bahebri (Al-Shabab)
  • MF: Mohamed Kanno (Al-Hilal)
  • MF: Abdulellah Al-Malki (Al-Hilal)
  • MF: Sami Al-Najei (Al-Nassr)
  • MF: Ali Al-Hassan (Al-Nassr)
  • MF: Nasser Al-Dawsari (Al-Hilal)
  • MF: Abdulrahman Al-Aboud (Al-Ittihad)
  • MF: Riyadh Sharahili (Abha)
  • FW: Firas Al-Buraikan (Al-Fateh)
  • FW: Saleh Al-Shehri (Al-Hilal)
  • FW: Haitham Asiri (Al-Ahli)

Saudi Arabia top scorers

2 goals: Salem Aldawsari

1 goal: Saleh Alshehri

Saudi Arabia yellow cards

1 yellow card: Salem Aldawsari, Nawaf Alabid, Abdulelah Almalki, Ali Albulayhi, Saud Abdulhamid, Mohammed Alowais, Saleh Al-Shehri, Ali Al-Hassan, Hassan Altambakti, Abdullah Madu, Abdulelah Al Amri, Hattan Babhir

Saudi Arabia manager

Who is Saudi Arabia's manager at the 2022 World Cup?

Herve Renard is well regarded and has pedigree after leading Morocco to a first World Cup in 20 years in 2018. The suave 54-year-old is also the only manager to win the Africa Cup of Nations with two different countries (Zambia and Ivory Coast). He took this job in mid-2019 and led a strong qualifying campaign with a tactically flexible approach. 

Saudi Arabia star player

Who is Saudi Arabia's best player?

Highly decorated winger Salem Al Dawsari, who won the 2021 AFC Champions League MVP award after leading Al Hilal to a second continental title in three years, has spent the majority of his playing career with the Saudi giants, bar a brief loan spell at Villarreal. The 31-year-old netted a late winner against Egypt at the last World Cup.

How many players are Saudi Arabia allowed to take to the World Cup 2022?

National managers were allowed to bring 26 players to last summer’s European Championship for the first time at a major tournament, as a special measure brought in due to the COVID-19 pandemic – while last year's Copa America allowed squads of 28 players.

Now it has been announced that 26-player squads will return for the Qatar World Cup, an expansion from the usual 23-man teams.

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Greg Lea

Greg Lea is a freelance football journalist who's filled in wherever FourFourTwo needs him since 2014. He became a Crystal Palace fan after watching a 1-0 loss to Port Vale in 1998, and once got on the scoresheet in a primary school game against Wilfried Zaha's Whitehorse Manor (an own goal in an 8-0 defeat).

With contributions from