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    Soccer News: “It’s an honor to meet Messi,” said the head coach of the Saudi Arabia national team ahead of the World Cup match with Argentina

    Lionel Messi kicks off his World Cup campaign on Tuesday against Saudi Arabia, whose head coach is looking forward to the test.

    Hervé Renard’s men face Argentina in the first leg of Group C, and the seasoned French coach insists his team is in Qatar for more than just catching up.

    All six of Messi’s previous World Cup goals came in the group stages, and this season he has scored 12 goals in 19 games for Paris Saint-Germain.

    Speaking at a press conference on Monday, Renard said: “Cristiano [Ronaldo] and Messi are football legends, and thanks to them, football has become different. It’s an honor for me to be here and play against them.

    “When there is a fight, you have to be one hundred percent motivated to beat the best. This is the beauty of the sport. There are always surprises in sports.

    “We must be ready. First of all, we have to be very good in all three games, not just against Argentina. All three are equally important.”

    Saudi Arabia will face Mexico and Poland after defeating Albiceleste, which seems like an incredibly difficult task for Renard’s men in Group C.

    While acknowledging that Saudi Arabia was unlikely to qualify, Renard insisted that his team, ranked 51st in the FIFA rankings, one place below host country Qatar, would “fight against the predictions”.

    “We love being forgotten from the outside,” he said. “We like that we are considered the smallest team. It doesn’t matter to us. This is justified if we take into account the FIFA rating.

    “I don’t think we’ll make it to the next round, but we’re here to fight against predictions. There are surprises at the World Cup and that’s the mentality we have.”

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