Saudi Arabia name Pizzi as third coach in three months

Former Chile coach Pizzi will lead Saudi Arabia at the World Cup
Saudi Arabia name Pizzi as third coach in three months
Juan Antonio Pizzi Photo: Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images
By AFP
Tue 28 Nov 2017 07:53 PM

Former Chile boss Juan Antonio Pizzi was named as Saudi Arabia's third head coach in as many months on Tuesday, after Edgardo Bauza's surprise sacking last week.

Pizzi will lead Saudi Arabia at the World Cup, having resigned as Chile coach after failing to take the two-time defending Copa America champions to Russia.

Pizzi, an  Argentinian, takes over a Saudi team that Dutchman Bert van Marwijk led to  World Cup qualification before leaving in September over a contract dispute. Bauza, another Argentinian, took over but his short stay was ended due to poor friendly results.

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Argentine Edgardo Bauza's dismissal comes just two months after he was appointed

Former Barcelona striker Pizzi, 49, coached Chile to the 2016 Copa America title and also coached Valencia between 2013-14.

"We wanted Pizzi because of his achievements in the past and his ambitions for the future," Saudi Arabian Football Federation president Abdel bin Mohammed Ezzat said in a statement.

"We will do all we can to support him during preparations for the World Cup."

Saudi Arabia qualify for 2018 World Cup in Russia

Fahad Al Muwallad's second-half winner booked Saudi Arabia's place in their fifth World Cup competition

Pizzi will represent Saudi Arabia at the World Cup draw in Moscow on Friday, as the Asian nation prepare for a first finals appearance since 2006.

Saudi Arabia, whose best World Cup effort came with a run to the last 16 on their tournament debut in 1994, booked their ticket for Russia by finishing second to Japan in Asian qualifying Group B.

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