Saudi Arabia men’s football team head coach Roberto Mancini was left impressed by the Pakistan football team despite winning 4-0 in the first match of the FIFA World Cup 2026 qualifiers round two.
In the post-match press conference of the Saudi Arabia – Pakistan football match, Mancini expressed, “In the world of football, there is no easy match, and the Pakistani national team performed well.”
Pakistan defied Saudi Arabia for the large parts of the game and looked solid defensively until the 50th minute as they conceded a penalty. The Men in Green showed a lot of grit and determination until Saudi scored two goals in the five-minute stoppage time at the end of the second half to make the scoreline look a lot more dominating.
Despite a 4-0 result, the Men in Green held their heads high as they went toe-to-toe with the fifth-best Asian team in football.
As for Mancini, he has won laurels wherever he has gone to coach football sides. He began his coaching career in the 2001/02 season with Italian Seria A side Fiorentina.
He won the coveted ‘Coppa Italia’ in his first season. He then coached another Italian club called Lazio, where he won the Coppa Italia again in 2003/04. After that, he began to coach mainstream teams such as Inter Milan and finally Manchester City.
In the 2011/12 football season, his City side won the English Premier League (PL) on the last day when they faced Queen Park Rangers (QPR) at the Etihad Stadium. Argentine striker Sergio Aguero scored in the 94th minute to help City win the match 3-2, as well as the PL title.
He left Man City in 2013, then had stints in Turkey and Russia, before heading back to his motherland, Italy. He coached Italy from 2018-2023, and it was during this time he won the UEFA European Championship (Euros) in 2020.
Mancini recently joined Saudi Arabia as a head coach, keeping in mind crown prince Mohammad bin Salman’s vision 2030. His contract runs till 2027. After defeating Pakistan, Saudi Arabia face Jordan in the 2nd match of the 2nd round of 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifiers at Amman International Stadium, on 21st November 2023, 9 PM (Pakistan time).