Argentina – Saudi Arabia – 1: 2, who stopped Messi – the story of coach Herve Renard, who is, facts

On the third day of the World Cup in group C, the main sensation already banged – the Saudi Arabian team won a strong-willed victory over Argentina – 2: 1. This is very different from the start of the team at the last World Cup. Then the Russian team with Yuri Gazinsky in the center of the field and Ilya Kutepov in the center of defense defeated the Saudis 5:0. Now everything is different, because Herve Renard is working with the team.



Argentina should learn from Russia how to play in the first match of the World Cup!  The first sensation of the tournament

Argentina should learn from Russia how to play in the first match of the World Cup! The first sensation of the tournament

Won African Cup twice

Renard is 54 years old. Once he was a defender and played in not the coolest French teams – if you heard something about Cannes (not to be confused with Caen), then the names Stade de Vallury and Draguignan are hardly something even Ligue 1 fans will be told. In 1999, Renard started as a coach: first at Draguignan, then in China (Guizhou Renhe club) and England (Cambridge United). By the way, it was in Cambridge that Renard revealed John Ruddy, the future goalkeeper of Norwich and Wolverhampton. The goalkeeper recalled:

John Ruddy

John Ruddy

Wolverhampton goalkeeper

“I was “green” not just for the base, but in general for the goalkeeper. I was terribly nervous in the first matches, but Herve charged me with confidence – he is good at this. Basically, he launched my career.”

For a couple of months, Renard even worked in Vietnam. In 2007, the coach flew into African football – he became an assistant to Claude Le Roy in the Ghana national team. Then Renard led the Zambian national team, with which he reached the 1/4 finals of the African Cup. Then Chipolopolo broke up with the coach for a year. The Frenchman worked for a couple of days with the Angola national team, and then briefly dropped by USM Algiers.

In the second entry into the Zambian national team, Renard created a sensation – he beat Côte d’Ivoire with Didier Drogba and other stars in the final of the African Cup – 2012.

Herve Renard in the Zambian national team

Herve Renard in the Zambian national team

Photo credit: liewig christian/Getty Images

Chisamba Lungu and company were stronger in the penalty shootout – 8:7 (regular time and overtime ended 0:0). And three years later, Renard again took the African Cup, but with the Ivorians. The coach recalls that success: “Unlike Zambia, I had fantastic players in Ivory Coast. I just trusted them. It was the combination that helped us succeed. In the final against Ghana, when we missed the first two penalties of the series, I knew it wasn’t over yet. We all wanted to do the impossible. The main assessment for me – Kolo and Yaya Toure said that this is the main success in their career. And that’s after all they’ve won at club level.”

Renard has a close connection with Africa – his wife is from Senegal, and the coach speaks of the region with warmth.

“Here I feel at home. Africa gives me freedom. I don’t think I could live permanently anywhere else. The Continent has brought me exceptional recognition in all areas.”

Another cool moment from Renard’s African career is the 2018 World Cup with the Moroccan national team. Then the team fought smartly, but flew out of the group. At first, the Moroccans lost 0:1 to Iran with complete dominance. Then minimally lost to Portugal. And in the last round they gave out a cabin 2:2 with Spain. In all matches, Renard boldly played high pressure and did not sit on the defensive.

It seems that today fate returned the debt for that tournament.

Renard at the 2018 World Cup

Renard at the 2018 World Cup

Photo: Elena Razina, Championship

Unique methods and charisma

Former Cambridge striker Jermaine Easter recalls his experience with Renard: “In 2004, Hervé did what I saw in clubs only after five or six years. Renard was on another level in terms of fitness and nutrition. There were no sauces, we ate dietary products, this helped to reduce the percentage of fat in the guys. At that time, such methods were something special.

True, at the club level, Renard never achieved significant success – in between different teams he worked in France – with Sochaux and Lille, but unsuccessfully. But the methods of the coach came in handy in the national teams. In 2019, Saudi Arabia entered Renard. In the new place, the Frenchman immediately identified the main vector for the development of the national team:

Herve Renard

Herve Renard

Saudi Arabia head coach

“There is not enough talent in football right now. You have to run, you have to press. When you lose the ball, your reaction in the next few seconds is very important. For example, I love Liverpool football – even without injured players, Klopp keeps the system. Everyone works together as a team. This is what I like”

In the final qualifying round of the Asian qualification, Saudi Arabia overtook Japan and Australia in the group. “Actually, we played the qualification very well. We tried to press very high to take the ball away. And if you look at the statistics, most of the time in all the games we had the ball.”



Without a leader and against Messi.  Portrait of Saudi Arabia before the 2022 World Cup

Without a leader and against Messi. Portrait of Saudi Arabia before the 2022 World Cup

Against Argentina, the Saudis used a high line of defense, which is why they missed three times (excluding penalties from Messi), but from an offside position. And the maximum return of the players and the subtle match management of Renard is confirmed by Firas Al-Buraikan. The nominal striker from Al-Nasr plowed on the right flank, closing a non-core role, and only in the end moved to his native position.

“Wherever I go, I always try to have a good team spirit: the players play together. I always repeat the same thing – we do not play for ourselves, we do not play for the show. Sometimes you don’t have to play fantasy football. You just need to be a team. Think about the team first. And only then think about yourself, ”Renard said before the start of the World Cup. Today we saw the team on the field.

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