Puzzles for Juan Antonio Pizzi to solve during the Green Falcons’ World Cup camp in Spain.

Puzzles for Juan Antonio Pizzi to solve during the Green Falcons’ World Cup camp in Spain.

LONDON: With the World Cup getting ever closer Arab News takes a look at three issues Juan Antonio Pizzi will be looking to sort out over the next two matches against Algeria and Greece in Spain.

1 — The surprise call-up of Haroun Kamara represents Juan Antonio Pizzi’s last roll of the dice in his search for added firepower. The 20-year-old Al-Qadisiyah forward has played only seven league games, but caught the eye with four goals and two assists. Born in Jeddah to Guinean parents, Kamara would represent a risky selection, but with Pizzi’s side managing just five goals in four games, the Argentine coach knows he must try to find an alternative to first-choice Mohammed Al-Sahlawi. Hazza Al-Hazza, Mujahid Al-Mania and Mohannad Assiri have all failed to grab their chance. Will Kamara?

2 — They may have shipped four goals, but Saudi Arabia genuinely appeared a much-improved team in their last friendly against Belgium. Confident on the ball, with quick passing, good shape, and well-drilled movement, they kept possession impressively at times, playing out from defense and working the channels. There is a fine line, however, between being comfortable and being complacent. Can Pizzi rid his team of the individual errors that consistently put them under unnecessary pressure? Triangles in the penalty area work against Moldova, but as Belgium proved, against better sides this is potentially self-destructive. Knowing 
when to play long will be essential if the Green Falcons are to enjoy success in Russia.

3 — The return of Nawaf Al-Abed will give Pizzi something he has lacked since taking the reins — a genuine game-changer. The Al-Hilal winger was instrumental to the Green Falcons’ qualifying, but has been out with various injuries since last October. Following successful surgery on a groin issue, the 28-year-old has traveled to Spain and is expected to feature against Algeria and Greece. Can he quickly find his feet, fitness and form? Can Pizzi get the best out of a player who has a habit of stepping up in times of need and importance?

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