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Saudi ArabiaSaudi Arabia
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Saudi Arabia's squad, new coach might struggle to come together

Ian Darke leads the ESPN panel in predicting the 2018 World Cup winner with names of Germany, Brazil, France and England among the list.
ESPN FC's Craig Burley does not feel Russia will emerge from Group A that also contains Saudi Arabia, Egypt or Uruguay.

The 2018 World Cup is just over a month away, and all 32 teams are preparing in earnest for their shot at the trophy in Russia. ESPN FC is previewing every team ahead of the opening game on June 14. Find all 32 teams here.

Who they are

Captain: Osama Hawsawi
Manager: Juan Antonio Pizzi
Nickname: The Green Falcons
FIFA rank (as of April 12, 2018): 70

How they qualified

Saudi Arabia secured their place at the World Cup finals for the first time since 2006 with a second-place...

 By John Duerden

Saudi Arabia boss names squad for World Cup warmup matches

The ESPN FC crew preview Saudi's Arabia chances of advancing out of their group for the second time in their World Cup history.

Saudi Arabia coach Juan Antonio Pizzi has named a 28-man squad for the pre-World Cup friendlies against Italy, Peru and Germany.

The Green Falcons, who open the tournament against hosts Russia in Group A on June 14, returned to Riyadh on Thursday after a three-week Spanish training camp that featured wins over Algeria and Greece.

There were few surprises in Pizzi's selection, which includes three players -- Fahad Al-Muwallad, Salem Al Dawsari and Yahya Al-Shehri loaned to La Liga clubs in January.


ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

Saudi World Cup referee given lifetime ban for attempted match-fixing

Martin Ainstein's tour of World Cup host cities arrives at Sochi's Fisht Stadium, which will host six World Cup matches this summer.
Ian Darke leads the ESPN panel in predicting the 2018 World Cup winner with names of Germany, Brazil, France and England among the list.
On 1 May the Trophy has returned to Russia, the host country of the upcoming FIFA World Cup, where it was welcomed by 2002 Brazilian winner Gilberto Silva.

The Saudi Football Federation (SAFF) confirmed World Cup-bound referee Fahad Al Mirdasi has been given a lifetime ban from football for a match-fixing attempt.

Al Mirdasi, one of Asian football's most experienced officials, received his punishment after confessing to offering to fix the King's Cup final in Al Ittihad's favour.

A statement from the SAFF also said they requested a lifetime global ban from FIFA and for him to lose his World Cup spot.

"FIFA notes the information that referee Fahad Al...

 By Chris Wright

Saudi cup final sees 'plane' follow ball

Al Ittihad emerged victorious over Al Faisaly in the Saudi Kings Cup final on Saturday evening -- a game that also happened to feature one of the strangest advertising stunts ever witnessed at a football match.

Indeed, fans were left scratching their heads as a miniature jumbo jet plane (carrying a full flight crew) was rigged up to follow the movement of the ball as it moved around the pitch.

While utterly bemusing, the elaborate gimmick certainly gave new meaning to the phrase "flying down the...