National Team - Lions ● Jun 10, 2021

Preview: Lions take on Saudi Arabia in final qualifier


Tatsuma Yoshida addresses the media ahead of Singapore’s match against Saudi Arabia, 10 June 2021 (Photo: Saudi Arabian Football Federation)


RIYADH, 10 JUNE 2021 – The Lions will conclude their FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ and AFC Asian Cup China 2023™ Preliminary Joint Qualification Round 2 campaign tomorrow night when they take on Saudi Arabia in their final Group D match.


The hosts, who lead the group with 14 points from six games, will seal progress to the next round if they beat Singapore and second-placed Uzbekistan fail to do likewise against Yemen.


Ranked 65th by FIFA, 94 spots above the Lions, the unbeaten Saudis will be a stern test for Tatsuma Yoshida’s charges. However, the Japanese wants his side to show their character after two consecutive defeats against Palestine and Uzbekistan.


“Tomorrow, we will do our best,” he said at the pre-match press conference earlier this afternoon at Mrsool Park Stadium, which will play host to the match. “Now that we are here (at this point), we have to leave the (result of the previous) match behind.


“It will be a very tough game but we don’t have to be afraid and don’t have to be scared; actually, we have nothing to lose… we have to try and have to show how we can play.”


Izwan Mahbud, 10 June 2021 (Photo: Saudi Arabian Football Federation)


The Lions will be missing defender Shakir Hamzah, who withdrew from the squad earlier in the day. This could open the door for uncapped attacker Idraki Adnan to be included in the matchday squad, while centre-back Baihakki Khaizan will earn a 140th cap – second-most in Lions history, two behind Daniel Bennett – should he make an appearance.


Regardless of the personnel that takes to the pitch, goalkeeper Izwan Mahbud called for the Lions to give one final push.


“We are disappointed (with the previous two losses) but we have to move on and fight for everything in the last game to (try and) make it a good end to the campaign for us,” he said. “Respect the opponent but do not fear them and we just have to give our all.”


The match will be broadcast LIVE on Mediacorp’s Channel 5, meWATCH platform and YouTube channel.


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