Carlos Alberto Parreira and the day he was fired by the King of Saudi Arabia in the middle of the World Cup

The Brazilian Carlos Alberto Parreira is the coach with the most World Cups, although his name is also linked to an unusual fact: he was dismissed from his position in the middle of the France 98 competition. The order came from the King of Saudi Arabia, who did not endure two consecutive defeats .

In December 1997, six months after the start of the 1998 World Cup in France, Carlos Alberto Parreira was contacted by the Saudi Royal Family to become coach of Saudi Arabia, a team that was part of Group C, along with hosts France, Denmark and South Africa. .

The Brazilian, who arrived with the label of being world champion with the ‘Scratch’ in 1994, signed a contract for one million dollars, according to newspapers of the time. The coach had previously directed Kuwait, in Spain 82, and the United Arab Emirates, in Italy 90.

Of the 22 footballers called up by Parreira, six played for Al Ahli in the Saudi Professional League, five for Al Hilal (a team where the Peruvian André Carrillo currently plays) and the others belonged to different teams in the local tournament.

two consecutive losses

The Brazilian coach Carlos Alberto Parreira only led two games in charge of Saudi Arabia: against Denmark and France. (PHOTO: PHILIPPE HUGUEN / AFP)

On June 12, 1998, Saudi Arabia made its debut against Denmark, one of the candidate teams to qualify for the round of 16. The result was favorable to the selection of the Laudrup brothers by the slightest difference in a rather discreet match, in which Al-Deayea, a Saudi goalkeeper, was the great figure.

Six days later, Parreira’s team had to face the strongest rival in the group and one of the favorites to win the World Cup, France. The Brazilian strategist only made one change and surprised by leaving a clean sheet during the first half hour of play.

However, the expulsion of Al Khilaiwi, in the 18th minute, was decisive and France ended up thrashing 4-0, with goals from Henry, Trezeguet and Lizarazau. In that game, Zinedine Zidane (69 ‘) would also be sent off.

The result left Saudi Arabia with no options to try to qualify for the round of 16, due to the tie between Denmark and South Africa.

King Fahd fired Parreira in the middle of the World Cup

The two consecutive defeats and, consequently, the early elimination of Saudi Arabia in the 1998 World Cup, motivated the King Fahd dismissed the Brazilian coach a day later, without allowing him to direct the last game, against South Africa.

Fahd bin Abdulaziz became King of Saudi Arabia on June 13, 1982, after the death of his brother Khalid bin Abdulaziz.  (PHOTO: AFP).

Fahd bin Abdulaziz became King of Saudi Arabia on June 13, 1982, after the death of his brother Khalid bin Abdulaziz. (PHOTO: AFP).

The decision was communicated to Parreira, through his eldest son, Prince Faisal, who presided over the Saudi Football Federation.

“I would have liked to finish. It makes me sad because I have nothing to reproach myself for, neither as a man nor as a professional”, said Parreira that time, according to .

With new DT, Saudi Arabia ruined South Africa’s plans

The Brazilian’s technical assistant, Mohammed Al-Kariachi, He was appointed to direct the last game of the Saudi team, against South Africa, a team that still had a mathematical chance of qualifying second, after its draw against Denmark.

The Africans had to thrash ‘The Sons of the Desert’ and hope that France beat the Danish team. The ‘Gauls’ defeated the team led by Schmeichel and company, but the South Africans could not defeat Parreira’s former team.

The match, played on June 24, 1998, ended in a 2-2 draw and both teams said goodbye to the World Cup without a victory.

In the present World Cup in Qatar 2022, Saudi Arabia will be part of Group C, along with the teams of Argentina, Mexico and Poland.

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