Saudi Arabia coach Hervé Renard sorry to disappoint mother

Nov 25, 2022, 11:41 PM | Updated: Nov 26, 2022, 1:46 pm
Saudi Arabia's head coach Herve Renard gestures during the World Cup group C soccer match between P...

Saudi Arabia's head coach Herve Renard gestures during the World Cup group C soccer match between Poland and Saudi Arabia, at the Education City Stadium in Al Rayyan , Qatar, Saturday, Nov. 26, 2022. (AP Photo/Francisco Seco)

(AP Photo/Francisco Seco)

              Saudi Arabia's head coach Herve Renard, right, stands for the Saudi national anthem prior to the World Cup group C soccer match between Poland and Saudi Arabia, at the Education City Stadium in Al Rayyan , Qatar, Saturday, Nov. 26, 2022. (AP Photo/Francisco Seco)
            
              Saudi Arabia's head coach Herve Renard controls the ball at the sideline during the World Cup group C soccer match between Poland and Saudi Arabia, at the Education City Stadium in Al Rayyan , Qatar, Saturday, Nov. 26, 2022. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)
            
              Saudi Arabia's head coach Herve Renard shouts out as gives instructions from the side line during the World Cup group C soccer match between Poland and Saudi Arabia, at the Education City Stadium in Al Rayyan , Qatar, Saturday, Nov. 26, 2022. (AP Photo/Francisco Seco)
            
              Saudi Arabia's head coach Herve Renard directs his team during the World Cup group C soccer match between Poland and Saudi Arabia, at the Education City Stadium in Al Rayyan , Qatar, Saturday, Nov. 26, 2022. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)
            
              Saudi Arabia's head coach Herve Renard gestures during the World Cup group C soccer match between Poland and Saudi Arabia, at the Education City Stadium in Al Rayyan , Qatar, Saturday, Nov. 26, 2022. (AP Photo/Themba Hadebe)
            
              Saudi Arabia's head coach Herve Renard shouts out as gives instructions from the side line during the World Cup group C soccer match between Poland and Saudi Arabia, at the Education City Stadium in Al Rayyan , Qatar, Saturday, Nov. 26, 2022. (AP Photo/Francisco Seco)
            
              Saudi Arabia's head coach Herve Renard gestures during the World Cup group C soccer match between Poland and Saudi Arabia, at the Education City Stadium in Al Rayyan , Qatar, Saturday, Nov. 26, 2022. (AP Photo/Francisco Seco)

AL RAYYAN, Qatar (AP) — Sorry, mom.

Saudi Arabia coach Hervé Renard felt he disappointed his mother when Poland beat his team at the World Cup on Saturday.

The French coach said before the match that it was going to be very special for her because her parents were Polish, “but she will wear her Saudi national shirt. Don’t worry.”

It’s the first World Cup that Renard’s mother has attended and she was at Lusail Stadium to see one of the biggest upsets when his team defeated Argentina 2-1 in its opening match.

“I think every week she’s watching maybe two, three games,” Renard said. “She loves football, so of course, she was very happy.”

There was no repeat upset Saturday as Robert Lewandowski scored one goal and set up another in Poland’s 2-0 win.

“She won’t be happy with me this evening,” Renard said. “I’m sure she’s really sad. But I will tell her, you always repeat to me, ‘Never give up. Always work hard and the chance will come back.'”

Qualifying for the second round is still possible for Saudi Arabia after its loss to Poland.

“Like I said before, we are still alive,” Renard said.

The 54-year-old Renard was already well liked for his success with the Saudi Arabia team since taking over in 2019 and his popularity has grown even more since the win over Argentina.

Renard was swarmed by admirers after press conference Friday when local journalists lined up to take selfies with him. The suave Frenchman patently smiled his broad smile, flashing immaculate teeth for the photos and he appeared in no hurry to leave.

Renard has had great success at the international level. He surprisingly guided Zambia to its first Africa Cup of Nations title in 2012, then repeated the feat with Ivory Coast three years later.

The former Lille and Sochaux coach helped Morocco qualify for the 2018 World Cup. It was the first time in 20 years Morocco had reached the tournament. His team only managed one point from three group stage games, however, losing 1-0 to both Iran and Portugal before drawing 2-2 with Spain.

This World Cup is already better.

Against Poland on Saturday, Saudi Arabia had twice as many shots at goal as Poland did. Poland was boosted by goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny, who had a penalty save and several other vital blocks.

“We didn’t lose the game today because we are unlucky. We lost the game to them because we were not efficient,” said Renard, who praised Szczesny. “He did his job, a fantastic job. But nobody discovered him today, huh? He’s a great goalkeeper.”

Renard has pride in how his team has played in both of its World Cup games so far.

“I don’t think a lot of people (thought) Saudi Arabia was able to play this kind of football,” he said. “This is the reason why I’m proud of them.”

Renard referred to the vocal support the Green Falcons received at Education City Stadium, where the enthusiastic Saudi fans turned the game into a home one, and he hopes for more of the same for the final group game against Mexico on Nov. 30 back at Lusail – where his team beat Argentina.

“I hope they won’t give up,” Renard said of the fans. “Because when you are fans, you need to support your team when it’s a fantastic day, but you also need to support your team to make the history during the third game.”

___

AP World Cup coverage: https://apnews.com/hub/world-cup and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

FILE - Former heavyweight boxing world champion Wladimir Klitschko leaves after a meeting with Germ...
Associated Press

Boxer Klitschko joins fight against Olympic path for Russia

GENEVA (AP) — Olympic gold medalist Wladimir Klitschko has joined Ukraine’s fight against IOC plans to let some Russians compete at the 2024 Paris Summer Games. The former heavyweight champion suggested in a video message published Monday that sports leaders will be accomplices to the war if athletes from Russia and its military ally Belarus […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

UK police chiefs apologize to Hillsborough disaster families

LONDON (AP) — Britain’s police chiefs promised a “cultural change” on Tuesday as they apologized to families of the victims in the 1989 Hillsborough tragedy, the U.K.’s worst sports disaster which saw 97 people killed during a crush of soccer fans at an overcrowded stadium. “For what happened, as a senior policing leader, I profoundly […]
1 day ago
FILE - Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce, left, talks to his brother, Philadelphia Eagles c...
Associated Press

Brother vs. brother: Kelces prepare for Super Bowl showdown

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Donna Kelce is going to have to pull out that now-familiar custom jersey — the one with Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce’s front stitched to Philadelphia Eagles center Jason Kelce’s back — one more time this season. At least this time, she’ll get to see her boys in […]
1 day ago
Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow (9) walks back to the sidelines during the second half of...
Associated Press

Analysis: NFL wasn’t at its best in conference championships

The NFL didn’t put on its Sunday best for the conference championships. Before the San Francisco 49ers ran out of luck and quarterbacks, they were burned by a fourth-down catch by Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Devonta Smith that wasn’t even a catch. Although Kyle Shanahan could have thrown a challenge flag, the league’s replay assist […]
1 day ago
Philadelphia 76ers' Joel Embiid reacts after a play duining the second half of an NBA basketball ga...
Associated Press

Analysis: All-Star reserve voting will lead to some snubbing

Brace yourself. There’s going to be some angry people in the NBA on Thursday night. With good reason. The votes from the coaches are now in, and on Thursday, the NBA will reveal the 14 players — seven from the Eastern Conference, seven more from the Western Conference — who got picked to be reserves […]
1 day ago
Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard, left, drives to the basket on Atlanta Hawks center Cli...
Associated Press

Lillard scores 42 as Trail Blazers hold off Hawks 129-125

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Damian Lillard scored 42 points, Anfernee Simons hit a tiebreaking 3-pointer with 34 seconds left and the Portland Trail Blazers held off the Atlanta Hawks 129-125 on Monday night. Dejounte Murray had 40 points, eight rebounds and six assists for the Hawks, who played without star point guard Trae Young (ankle). […]
1 day ago
Saudi Arabia coach Hervé Renard sorry to disappoint mother