Saudi crown prince tells team to ‘play without pressure’ at World Cup

Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has applauded his national team for qualifying for Qatar’s World Cup, calling the appearance a “necessity for Saudis,” in a meeting with the squad on Sunday.

With less than 30 days to the World Cup, the de-facto ruler met with players of the Saudi national football team, encouraging them to enjoy the tournament as expectations aren’t high.

“I know that our group is very difficult in the World Cup, and I ask you to play comfortably,” said bin Salman.

“We’re following what you’re doing, and we hope the future is better,” he added.

Qatar’s pitches will be Saudi Arabia’s sixth FIFA World Cup tournament. The team played in the 1994, 1998, 2002, 2006, and 2018 editions of the tournament.

The Gulf kingdom secured a World Cup spot after winning in the AFC Third Round Group B.

Ranked 51st, behind Qatar, the Saudis will face Argentina, Mexico, and Poland in a demanding Group C of the tournament.

The Saudis have been undergoing their final preparation camps for the formidable matches, defeating North Macedonia over the weekend 1-0.

Last month, Saudi Arabia held the United States [USMNT] to a 0-0 draw, embarrassing the American team on the pitch.

After the match, the coach of USMNT, Gregg Berhalter, admitted that improvement is desperately needed for his squad.

Regionally, Saudi Arabia is a powerful football team as they have reached a record of six Asian Cup finals, winning three in 1984, 1988, and 1996.

However, when it comes to the international pitch, the Saudis have flopped. Their best performance was in 1994 when they reached the round of 16.

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