Embattled Saudi Arabia coach Juan Antonio Pizzi revealed the team has received no official explanation for the fire that affected their flight to Rostov-on-Don, where they will seek to bounce back from a humiliating 5-0 defeat suffered against Russia in the opening match of the World Cup.
Saudi Arabia have endured the toughest start to the tournament of any side, as the unexpected thrashing at the hands of the relatively unfancied hosts was followed by a minor mid-air emergency during an internal flight from their training base near St Petersburg, as they prepare for a daunting assignment against Uruguay.
While Pizzi claimed the squad had faith in the pilot and crew and did not panic during the incident, he was surprised to hear an official statement had been released by the Russian transport authorities, with the players and staff apparently still unaware of the exact cause of the problem.
"Well, as for the event yesterday [Monday], you've seen the pictures, they speak for themselves, but we don't know anything else, we have had no further info," he said.
"We didn't feel afraid, we trust the pilots, we were cool and calm. The pictures point to some emergency but we didn't feel concerned and it won't affect our performance."
| يبدأ بعد قليل المؤتمر الصحفي للمدير الفني للمنتخب خوان بيتزي واللاعب تيسير الجاسم وذلك في قاعة المؤتمرات في ملعب روستوف أرينا، للحديث عن مباراة الأوروغواي.#معاك_يالأخضر#worldcup2018 pic.twitter.com/HlepIwavce— المنتخب السعودي (@SaudiNT) June 19, 2018
The Saudi defence proved singularly ill-equipped to cope with a Russia side that had not won any of their past seven friendly matches, and the challenge is only set to increase against Uruguay's heavyweight front two, Barcelona's Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani of Paris Saint-Germain.
Somewhat optimistically, Pizzi insisted the focus of the Saudi team will not merely be suppressing the threat posed by Uruguay's attackers, but repairing the damage done to their reputation in the humiliation against Russia.
"All the matches are different and tactical plans are also differ depending on your opponent," Pizzi said.
"Also, individual qualities of players tend to differ. Precisely because, as you rightly said, they have two players in attack who are world-class players.
"We have other priorities, more important than worrying about Cavani and Suarez. We have to prove we are at the same level of quality as they are."
Midfielder Taisir Al-Jassim, meanwhile, claimed his team-mates have already put the defeat in Moscow and the engine fire behind them and are determined to restore the faith of supporters in the team.
"Now that we have come to the hotel we have forgotten all the events that took place," he said.
"We are focused on the match with Uruguay. Each and every player aims at changing the image that we have conveyed because it is not the true image of Saudi football."
20 de julio 2018
|Neymar backs ´genius´ Ronaldo to make Serie A great again|
|Sanchez to face San Jose Earthquakes as Mourinho grows desperate in attack|
|Ibrahimovic to watch England at Wembley – Zlatan will honour Beckham bet|
|Cubs use five-run fifth inning to trump Cardinals|
|Manchester United 1 America 1: Mata salvages draw for Red Devils|
|Steelers´ Super Bowl window getting smaller - Brown|
|Neymar cares about PSG and will stay amid Real Madrid speculation|
|NFL, NFLPA at ´standstill agreement´ over anthem policy|
|Guardiola: It would´ve been a mistake for Jorginho to join City|
|Angels star Ohtani cleared to resume pitching|
|´I don´t give a f***´ – Cousins hits back at critics after Warriors move|
|Merritt leads Barbasol Championship|
|Ruud awakening for Ferrer in Bastad|
|Nibali withdraws from Tour de France with back fracture|
|Fabinho: I´ll try to convince Mbappe to join Liverpool|
|Beating Messi boosted France´s World Cup belief – Lloris|
|Carnoustie saving the worst until last|
|McIlroy´s youthful exuberance could be a bad sign for Carnoustie contenders|
|Saints triumph at second-placed Wigan|
|Anfield atmosphere sweetened Alisson on Liverpool|
|Bouchard reaches Gstaad quarter-finals|
19 de julio 2018
|´What are you waiting for?´ - Alisson reveals Salah text messages|
|´Full package´ Alisson could not be missed - Klopp|
|Alisson to Liverpool: Brazil star becomes most expensive goalkeeper in history|
|Alisson to Liverpool: Brazilian´s stats blitz Mignolet, Karius|
|Liverpool sign Alisson in world-record deal|
|The Open 2018 diary: Spieth´s got ball skills as Finau proves the scratch golfer|
|Woods: Score doesn´t reflect how well I played|
|Can we go to Paris now? - Thomas in a hurry after conquering Alpe d´Huez|
|Thomas: I could have finished stronger|
|Kisner shines at baked Carnoustie as McIlroy, Rahm and Thomas loom|
|Sarri´s mentality made me a better footballer - Jorginho|
|Tax rates played a role in Ronaldo joining Juventus, says LaLiga president|
|Aggressive McIlroy doing it his way, not the fairway|
|I let him have it - Spinazzola ribs Ronaldo over Juve shirt number|
|Thomas makes it back-to-back wins|
|Ramos may remain for Spain but Luis Enrique promising surprises|
|Cazorla still playing through pain after Villarreal appearance|
|Vegas to Carnoustie - a hellish trip for Jhonattan|
|NFL training camp 2018: Five under-the-radar rookies to watch|
|Woods off to a flyer as Thomas charges|
|Sanchez given green light to join Man Utd tour|
|Greipel, Groenewegen and Gaviria latest sprinters to abandon Tour de France|
|Luis Enrique hopeful over Pique as he plots a Spanish evolution|
|I had a brain fart - Spieth disappointed with missed opportunity|
|I´ve sacrificed too much to quit, says injury-plagued Rossi|
|Klopp rejects Henderson´s plea to return early to Liverpool training|
|Open champion Spieth loses ground in scrappy finish|
|Alexis Sanchez hints visa issue sorted as United States trip beckons|
|Kovac an admirer of Pavard, expects James to stay|
|Dzeko happy at Roma and eyeing silverware|
|Eels win basement battle with Bulldogs|
|Kluivert to follow Totti´s example after taking ´big step´ with Roma|
|Kisner hopes to return Claret Jug favour to Spieth|
|FIBA bans 13 players & two coaches over Philippines-Australia brawl|
|Spieth and Rahm in the mix as Kisner sets the target|
|Monchi insists Roma remain ambitious as Liverpool close in on Alisson|
|Cavendish thanks ´race that shaped career & heart´ after cruel Tour exit|
|No Trent Bridge Ashes Test as England confirm schedule|
|Ajax tell Barcelona not even ´insane´ money will buy De Ligt, De Jong|
|Hamilton agrees two-year Mercedes extension|
|Uran withdraws from Tour after failing to shake off injuries|
|Spieth tees off Open defence|
|Zidane has shown no will to coach France, insists FFF president|
|Risking the curse - Steelers star Brown lands on Madden 19 cover|
|Pogba silenced his critics with World Cup displays – Ibrahimovic|
|Warburton overwhelmed by support following retirement|
|Wilshere excited by tactics of Wenger-like Pellegrini|
|Deschamps never considered France exit prior to World Cup win|
|Persepolis eye Champions League after Iran impress at World Cup|