In a recent FIFA World Cup 2026 qualifiers clash, Saudi Arabia emerged victorious with a 4-0 win over Pakistan, but the Saudi team's head coach, Roberto Mancini, acknowledged Pakistan's impressive performance and progress in the post-match press conference.
Mancini emphasized the challenging nature of football, stating, "In the world of football, there is no easy match, and the Pakistani national team performed well."
Despite succumbing to a 4-0 defeat, the Pakistani team showcased resilience, particularly in defense, until the 50th minute when they conceded a penalty.
The Men in Green maintained their determination, holding their own against the fifth-best Asian team until Saudi Arabia scored two late goals in stoppage time.
Mancini, renowned for his coaching achievements, started his career with Fiorentina in the 2001/02 season, securing the 'Coppa Italia' in his debut season.
His successful coaching journey continued with Lazio, Inter Milan, and Manchester City, where he led the team to an English Premier League title in the 2011/12 season.
After coaching Italy from 2018 to 2023, winning the UEFA European Championship in 2020, Mancini recently took charge of the Saudi Arabian national team, aligning with crown prince Mohammad bin Salman’s vision 2030. His contract with Saudi Arabia extends until 2027.
Despite the defeat to Saudi Arabia, the Pakistani team earned respect for their performance.
Looking ahead, Saudi Arabia is set to face Jordan in the second match of the 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifiers on November 21, 2023, at the Amman International Stadium.