Juan Antonio Pizzi picks Spanish-trained trio in Saudi pre-World Cup squad
Saudi Arabia’s Argentine coach Juan Antonio Pizzi has called up three players who trained at La Liga clubs to his expanded pre-World Cup squad ahead of a training camp in Switzerland.
The 28-man squad, which will meet up on Sunday, includes players sent to Spain’s La Liga in January to gain vital experience as part of an agreement between the kingdom’s General Sports Authority and the Spanish league.
Fahad al-Mawallad was loaned from Al-Ittihad to Levante, Salem al-Dawsari of Al-Hilal went to Villarreal and Yahya al-Shehri of Al-Nasr joined Liganes.
Another six players also joined Spanish second division sides.
The Saudis will train in Switzerland for two and a half weeks to prepare for the kingdom’s first World Cup appearance since 2006, and the fifth in their history.
The Greens will play their opening match against hosts Russia on June 14, followed by group stage clashes with Egypt and Uruguay.
They will also play three friendlies in the runup to the World Cup, facing off with Italy on May 20, Peru on June 3 and Germany on June 8.
The final 23-man squad is due to be announced by June 4, according to FIFA rules.
Goalkeepers: Mohammed al-Owais (Al-Ahli), Abdullah al-Mayouf (Al-Hilal), Yasser al-Mosaileem (Al-Ahli), Assaf al-Qarni (Al-Ittihad)
Defenders: Osama Hawsawi (Al-Hilal), Omar Hawsawi (Al-Nassr), Motaz Hawsawi (Al-Ahli), Ali al-Bulayhi (Al-Hilal), Mohammed Jahfali (Al-Hilal), Yasser al-Shahrani (Al-Hilal), Mansour al-Harbi (Al-Ahli); Mohammed al-Burayk (Al-Hilal), Saeed al-Muwallad (Al-Ahli)
Midfielders: Abdulla Otayf (Al-Hilal), Salman al-Faraj (Al-Hilal), Abdulmalik al-Khaibari (Al-Hilal), Abdullah al-Khaibari (Al-Shabab), Mohammed Kanno (Al-Hilal), Hussein al-Moqahwi (Al-Ahli), Taisir al-Jassim (Al-Ahli), Hattan Bahebri (Al Shabab), Salem al-Dawsari (Al-Hilal, Villarreal/ESP), Yahya al-Shehri (Al-Nassr, Leganes/ESP), Nawaf al-Abid (Al-Hilal), Fahad al-Muwallad (Al-Ittihad, Levante/ESP), Mohammed al-Kuwaikbi (Al-Ettifaq)
Forwards: Mohammed al-Sahlawi (Al-Nassr), Mohannad Assiri (Al-Ahli)
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- For lesser mortals, the overhead kick is a volley executed with the back to the ground, feet twirling in the air and face turned either to the sky or the chin locked on the chest.