If you didn’t know Herve Renard – a two-time African Cup of Nations winner with Zambia and Ivory Coast – before the World Cup, you certainly do now.
The Saudi Arabia manager led his team to a historic opening win against Argentina, which you may well have heard about. In fact, it was so historic that Wednesday was declared a national public holiday in the country.
Now, footage has emerged of Renard’s inspirational team talk, delivered at half-time with his side 1-0 down to one of the pre-tournament favourites and with a mountain to climb in the second period.
And climb that mountain they did, with stunning goals from Saleh al-Shehri and Salem al-Dawsari earning a momentous victory. Their coach’s words clearly had the intended effect.
With hair like that, we should have guessed he knows how to use the hairdryer treatment. To fire up his team, Renard started with a simple question: “What are we doing here?”
He continues with intensity, telling his players that pressing doesn’t mean stopping to take out their phone and snap a photo of Lionel Messi.
“He has the ball. You are in front of their defence! He has nobody!” Renard shouts.
With the aid of his translator, Renard amps it up even further, running across the dressing room to demonstrate how tight he wants his players.
Before sending them back out on the field, the Frenchman also engages his team on an emotional level, imploring them to respond to the occasion.
“You don’t feel something!?” he asks. “Did you see what you did!? You don’t feel we are going to come back!? You don’t feel it!? They play relaxed. Come on! Come on, guys! This is the World Cup! Give everything!”
And respond they did, with this half-time team talk now earning iconic status alongside the win itself. Take a bow, Herve. That’s how you do it.
USMNT players apologize for World Cup elimination
US men’s national team players took to social media to apologize to fans following their elimination from the 2022 World Cup.
After failing to qualify for the 2018 edition of the tournament, the American side entered Qatar with high hopes. The team kicked off with draws against England and Wales, before triumphing 1-0 over Iran to make the knockout round as second place of Group B.
Gregg Berhalter’s side was forced to face the Netherlands on Saturday at Khalifa International Stadium for the highly anticipated match up. Despite an energetic start to the game, the USMNT ultimately lost 3-1, with goals from Memphis Depay, Daley Blind and Denzel Dumfries proving to be the difference between the two sides.
The Americans will now look forward to the 2026 World Cup where they will serve as hosts alongside Mexico and Canada.
France vs Poland: Confirmed lineups
In Sunday’s last-16 matchup at the Al-Thumama Stadium, Poland and France, the current champions, prepare for battle after both teams lost in their World Cup 2022 group stage campaigns.
Les Bleus completed first in Gathering D to endure to the knockout rounds, while Czeslaw Michniewicz’s men set up a bind with the holders subsequent to putting second in Gathering C.
Which World Cup team is the best at penalty shootouts?
Penalty shootouts and World Cups go hand in hand. Most sides practice their spot kicks for years on end in the build-up to the global tournament, but preparation can go out the window when crunch time comes.
While not certain – Spain and France have won the World Cup in recent memory without being involved in a shootout – the likelihood of teams needing to win at spot kicks to reach the final is large enough.
Here are the sides with the best penalty shootout records at men’s World Cups.
Argentina and Germany have the best records in penalty shootouts at the World Cup with four victories apiece.
Argentina have competed in the most WC shootouts – five in total – and have only lost one, back in the 2006 quarter finals when they were defeated 4-2 by Germany after misses from Daniel Ayala and Esteban Cambiasso. Germany themselves have a 100% record, winning all four of their shootouts.
While outfield players like Andreas Brehme, Lothar Matthaus, Jose Serrizuela, Jorge Burruchaga and Maxi Rodriguez proved themselves to be excellent penalty takers with two scored each across different tournaments, both sides also needed brilliant goalkeepers.
Sergio Goycochea became an icon for Argentina in 1990, saving penalties in quarter-final and semi-final penalty shootout victories against Yugoslavia and Italy respectively. German legend Harald Schumacher was also on hand for his nation to save two penalty strikes in shootouts against France in 1982 and Mexico in 1986.
Best player scoring records in World Cup penalty shootouts
Taking a penalty at the World Cup is known to be a proper test of a player’s minerals. Some have wilted under the pressure, but a number of stars have stepped up and scored in different shootouts when it mattered.
Modern stars like Luka Modric, Ivan Rakitic and Arjen Robben are among those to have netted in separate penalty shootouts at the same World Cup.
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