Saudi Arabian coach Herve Renard’s halftime speech against Argentina has been revealed — and it’s shed plenty of clarity on how his side pull off one of the great World Cup upsets.
Renard, who caught fans attention in Australia during the World Cup qualifying last year for his model good looks, once again showed he’s more than just a pretty face.
Some Aussie fans even called him “the next James Bond”.
But he can most certainly coach as well as Saudi Arabia dropped just one match in World Cup qualifying and booked a place directly to Qatar.
So at halftime on Tuesday when Argentina took a 1-0 lead into the break, having had three chances disallowed due to off-side calls, Renard showed just what a leader of men he is.
Fed up having watched his side get torn apart in defence, only to be saved by the officials, Renard’s passionate halftime speech quickly went viral.
“What are we doing here?” he began.
“This is our pressing? Pressing doesn’t mean you go high.
“Messi at the middle of the pitch, he has the ball, you stay (hands up) in front of the defence.
“You don’t know you have to go and mark him in the middle? Take your phone, you can make a picture with him if you want!
“You are in front of the defence, you have nobody. You have to follow him,” he said as he ran around the locker room, showing his charges what to do.
“With ball you are good. Did you see what you did?
“Don’t you feel something? Don’t you feel we are able to come back? You don’t feel it?
“Come on guys, this is the World Cup. Give everything.”
Currently the video has 5.9m views.
But the true test is how the players respond.
Saleh Al-Shehri equalised three minutes later before Salem Al-Dawsari booted the world No. 51 Saudis into the lead within 10 minutes of the second stanza against the world No. 3 side.
It was one of the biggest boilovers the Cup has seen as legendary commentator Martin Tyler said: “This outcome was unthinkable.
“Saudi Arabia have done it. Arguably the greatest achievement in the nation’s history.
“Argentina labelled favourites, joint favourite, second favourite, call it what you will but at the other end of the spectrum for the side that have beaten them here.”
The 54-year-old Frenchman Renard played 215 games as a professional player before moving into coaching at the end of his career.
He has since coached Zambia and the Ivory Coast to African Cup of Nations victories, and qualified for the 2018 World Cup with Morocco.
But in 2019, he became the manager of Saudi Arabia and has held the role since.
CODE Sports’ Adam Peacock wrote: “This is all kinds of awesome. Bloke has a bit going for him, but am sure he has a fault, like a reluctance to wash up, or something …
“And what is really to admire is the translator, who is completely in sync with Herve’s tone. Angry, then forceful, then calm, then loud again. Best Supporting Actor.”
CBS Sports Serie A reporter Marco Messina tweeted: “Herve Renard’s speech to his team at halftime. Saudi Arabia scored 2 goals in less than 10 minutes into that second half to beat Argentina. Wow.”
MMC laws adviser Jonny Singer posted: “I could not love Herve Renard any more! Also, how great is the translator?”
Saudi Arabia will be looking for another massive result on Sunday morning at midnight, straight after the Socceroos play Tunisia.