By user Bobo

Saudi Arabia are yet another new team this year. They appear to have recovered from their 8-0 thrashing at the hands of Germany in the 2002 World Cup to become something of a prospect for Asian football. They have been victorious in the Asian Cup on three occasions, and the Falcons now have Marcos Paquetá at their helm. His new affirmation of "fun football" and mental preparation has helped the Saudi Arabians as they work at their grace and style at the same time as learning to reach the back of the net.

Saudi Arabia's qualification came courtesy of a 100% record against the teams of Turkmenistan, Indonesia and Sri Lanka, and was completed over a year later after finishing top of their group which contained South Korea, Uzbekistan and Kuwait. And all this conceding only two goals in these twelve games.

The Saudis' stars include all-time cap leader Mohamed Al-Daeyea, who back in 2001 nearly signed for Manchester United, of all teams. He later decided to settle at home with Asian Champions' League winners Al-Hital. Also, goal-scoring leader Majed Abdullah, who played during the 1994 finals, and was Asian Footballer of the Year three times.

These credentials play well into the hands of the Saudis, who have been Asian Cup champions on three occasions, including two consecutive victories in the eighties. However, their record in the World Cup is not quite as rosy, where, despite reaching the second round back in the United States in '94, they have not gone past the first round since.

It would be good to see them get a result against the likes of Spain, Tunisia or the Ukraine, though most of the work will be staving off the damage and coming home with their heads held high.

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