Newcastle United’s owners PIF will have been delighted watching the World Cup on Tuesday, as their native Saudi Arabia dramatically beat Argentina.
Lionel Messi and co are one of the favourites to win the entire tournament, but they were embarrassed in their opening game.
Saudi Arabia were 1-0 down at half time, but rallied in the second half to win 2-1 thanks to goals from Saleh Al-Shehri and Salem Al-Dawsari. It was an incredible game that included some outstanding defending, as the Green Falcons did all they could to secure a historic victory.
It will go down as one of the biggest shocks in World Cup history. Herve Renard’s side did something no one thought they could on Tuesday morning, shocking the footballing world with their performance.
Questions will begin to swirl about how far Saudi Arabia can go in this World Cup, and it is something that will be of interest to Eddie Howe and Newcastle.
Newcastle to face Saudi Arabia champions Al-Hilal next month
His side are set to travel to Saudi Arabia next month, heading to Riyadh for a warm weather training camp. It will be the second time Newcastle have been to Saudi Arabia in 2022, having experienced a similar trip to Jeddah at the start of the year.
Howe’s side are scheduled to play a friendly during their time there. They will face Saudi Pro League champions Al-Hilal on December 8th.
And interestingly, their squad includes the bulk of the Saudi Arabia national team that beat Argentina. Out of the 11 starters, nine of them play their club football for Al-Hilal.
So could Newcastle effectively be about to play against the side that beat Messi and co? Saudi Arabia have two more group games, with their final fixture set for November 30th against Mexico.
Just over a week later, the Magpies will play their friendly versus Al-Hilal, so perhaps those players will feature if Saudi Arabia still fail to make it out of the group stage.
Given their performance against Argentina, Howe’s side could be in for a very tough game early next month.