- Sami Al Jaber is among the best forwards Saudi Arabia has ever produced
- A distinguished member of the aspect at 4 FIFA World Cup™ competitions
- Al Jaber: “The present technology deserves its place at Russia 2018”
Sami Al Jaber referred to as time on his lengthy worldwide profession on 23 June 2006, a day after his Saudi Arabia crew misplaced to Spain and exited the 2006 FIFA World Cup Germany™ having completed backside of their group.
Not solely was that match Al Jaber’s final with the Inexperienced Falcons, it was additionally their final World Cup outing up to now, with the Saudis lacking out on the next two world finals earlier than qualifying for Russia 2018 final 12 months.
Nearly 12 years on from scoring the final of his world finals targets, Al Jaber spoke to FIFA.com about his World Cup recollections and what Russia 2018 means to Saudi Arabia’s gamers.
FIFA.com: What recollections do you might have of your 4 World Cups?
Sami Al Jaber: I keep in mind every thing from 1994 onwards. I am very proud to have appeared at 4 World Cups in a row. Taking part in within the competitors is a novel expertise as a result of there are tens of millions of individuals watching you. In 1994, in case you’d requested the American individuals to speak about Saudi Arabia they would not have recognized what to say. Soccer is a really fast approach of getting your self recognized.
The world finals after that had been wonderful. I used to be fortunate sufficient to attain at a couple of World Cups and to develop into an iconic participant in Saudi Arabia. There are numerous gifted gamers in my nation however there aren’t many who’ve scored in a World Cup. I’ve vivid recollections of every of these competitions.
Which match stands out most of all in your profession?
The one in opposition to Tunisia on the Allianz Enviornment in Munich in 2006, a sport I scored in. It got here 12 years after my first World Cup look. God gave me a beautiful reward in permitting me to finish my profession by repeating the achievement.
After I went via one-on-one in opposition to the keeper, I noticed my entire life as a footballer flash earlier than my eyes. That aim allowed me to finish my profession on a excessive be aware, earlier than I introduced my retirement.
Following your final worldwide look in 2006, Saudi Arabia needed to wait till final 12 months earlier than making their return to the World Cup. Why do you suppose it has taken so lengthy?
I believe we had a handover from one technology to the following after 2006 and there was some instability too. The present technology deserved to qualify, although I believe half the gamers might be contesting their final World Cup.
The typical age is a bit of over 28 and I can not see this technology making it to the following World Cup. Among the youthful gamers can have a possibility to indicate what they’ll do and earn a transfer to Europe. Mohamed Salah has proven that the door to Europe’s leagues is open for gamers from the Arab nations which have certified for the World Cup.
Three issues it is advisable learn about Al Jaber’s worldwide profession:
- Received 156 caps for Saudi Arabia and scored 46 targets
- His worldwide profession lasted 13 years and 285 days
- Performed at 4 World Cups, scoring three targets in all, the primary of them in opposition to Morocco at USA 1994
What sort of impression will having a brand new coach have on the crew? And what’s your view on Juan Antonio Pizzi taking up?
He is an amazing man and a superb coach. He picked up some strong expertise with Chile on the Copa America and the Confederations Cup final 12 months. We do not have gamers like [Alexis] Sanchez and [Arturo] Vidal in Saudi Arabia. The competitors you get on the World Cup is so much harder than in our nationwide league.
Pizzi has introduced in a wonderful health coach who labored at Valencia, and the gamers needs to be as much as the job as a result of the home league shouldn’t be adequate if you wish to have the health you want for the World Cup. I ought to know all about that.
What’s your view on Saudi Arabia’s group?
We have been very fortunate as a result of it is the primary time that we will play within the Opening Match of a World Cup. Tens of millions of individuals might be watching to see how Saudi Arabia get on after such a protracted absence. It is a match I might actually like to play in.
It will not be straightforward to tackle Russia in Moscow, what with the president there and all of the followers, but it surely’ll be a novel event. That match may very well be a primary step in the direction of qualification for the second spherical or simply an unforgettable reminiscence.
️That is how the #WorldCup will kick off within the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow!
️14 June 2018, right here we come!#WorldCupDraw pic.twitter.com/hbrLPowPaJ
— FIFA World Cup (@FIFAWorldCup) December 1, 2017