A video has emerged of the extraordinary half-time hairdryer treatment that Saudi Arabia manager Herve Renard delivered to his players before they pulled off one of the World Cup’s greatest ever shocks.
The team were trailing 1-0 at half-time and footage has been posted on the official Twitter account of the Saudi team which shows Renard shouting at his players via an interpreter and telling them that pressing does not mean standing so that they can have a picture taken with Lionel Messi.
Walking constantly around a rectangular table, the former Cambridge United, Zambia, Angola, Ivory Coast and Morocco manager does not put so much as a crease into his always perfectly-ironed white shirt during a monologue that begins with a question: “What are we doing here?”
He then says that pressing, “Doesn’t mean, Messi, in the middle of the pitch, he has the ball, you stand in front of the defence, take your phone, you can make a picture with him if you want! He has the ball. You are in front of their defence!! He has nobody!!”
Hervé Renard, Saudi Arabia coach's speech at half time vs. Argentina. Talks about the marking and Lionel Messi.pic.twitter.com/GZdfM2WSU6
— Roy Nemer (@RoyNemer) November 24, 2022
The Saudi players are sat in silence as Renard’s talk gradually gathers momentum with added hand actions, volume and even includes a quick sprint.
“You don’t feel something!?” he asks. “Did you see what you did!? You don’t feel we are going to come back!? You don’t feel it!? They play relaxed. Come on!! Come on guys!!! This is the World Cup!! Give everything!!!” He then impersonates a statuesque demeanour. “When you are at the edge of the box, you are like this! Be concentrated! C’mon! Move yourself!”
The interpreter also shouts to mirror Renard’s emphasis and the Saudi players respond by applauding.
They had fallen behind to a 10th-minute Messi penalty. Saudi Arabia then scored twice in 10 minutes at the start of the second-half before holding firm defensively to prevail with an historic 2-1 victory.
Renard's team now face Poland on Saturday while Argentina will almost certainly need to defeat Mexico to keep their hopes alive of a third World Cup triumph on what is Messi’s fifth appearance in the tournament.
The video has also gone viral on TikTok under the headline titled, ‘The most underrated coach in history’.