Saudi Arabia's sports authority lashes out at team for opening-day drubbing

Saudi Arabia concede

Al-Sheikh claims Saudi Arabia failed to meet their requirements "even by five per cent" following the heavy defeat.

Two goals from Denis Cheryshev and another three from Yury Gazinskiy, Artem Dzyuba and Aleksandr Golovin ensured a comfortable victory for the hosts at a packed-out Luzniki Stadium.

Speaking on Twitter shortly after the game, Al-Sheikh felt the national team - who came second in AFC Group B qualifying, above Australia - fell well short of expectations.

"We've done everything we could for the national team players," Al-Sheikh lamented.

"We've been covering all their expenses for three years, we've hired the best coaching team and a world-class head coach for them, but they did not fulfil what was required of them even by five per cent.

"We must accept this reality, their abilities and capabilities are like that."

Even though Saudi Arabia have games against Uruguay and Egypt still to play, Al-Sheikh said that the country will look to completely overhaul its youth system by training around 1,000 youngsters aged 12-16 to create an improved national team.

FFT would normally chuckle at such an overreaction – but then we remember watching that defensive display all over again. Oh dear. 

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