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Tuesday, 11 June, 2002, 15:38 GMT 16:38 UK
Saudis leave in high spirits
Robbie Keane sets Ireland on their way with the first goal against Saudi Arabia
Robbie Keane (number 10) sets Ireland on their way
Saudi Arabia coach Nasser Al-Johar took consolation in the fact his team were in good company as they departed the World Cup.

The Saudis lost all three of their Group E games, conceding 12 goals and without scoring one themselves.

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We've learned a lot of lessons and gained a lot of experience
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Saudi Arabia coach Nasser Al-Johar
Al-Johar said: "World champions France have also gone out in the first rond without scoring any goals.

"We played very well, especially in the first half, but we missed a lot of chances that could have made a big difference to the result.

"We've learned a lot of lessons and gained a lot of experience from our participation in this tournament.

"But we will go home and discuss all the negatives with the Saudi Football Association.

"We will rebuild our team again to get lots of positive results in the future."

Saudi Arabia's goalkeeper Mohammed Al-Deayea said the ball was at fault for Ireland's final goal in their 3-0 win.

"For the third goal, I blame the ball," said Al-Deayea, announcing he would step down from international football.

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We did our best but God didn't want to give us any goals
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Mohammed Al-Deayea

Just three minutes from time the goalkeeper conceded his 12th goal of the tournament, despite getting both hands to Damien Duff's powerful drive.

"During the shots, the shape becomes completely different," Al-Deayea said of the Fevernova ball which has come in for both acclaim and criticism from players.

"It's a ball which is good for the forwards, bad for the goalkeepers.

"Don't just ask me, ask other goalkeepers and you'll get the same answer."

Ireland's keeper Shay Given certainly felt sympathy for Al-Deayea.

"The ball was like a bar of soap," he said.

Mohammed Al-Deayea looks on in dismay as Damien Duff's shot slips through his hands and into the net
Al-Deayea fumbled Duff's shot for Ireland's third

"Because of the wet conditions, the grip wasn't very good at all.

He was probably sweating as much as I was and my gloves were drenched. I had to change them for a dry pair at half-time."

Al-Deayea said he was relieved to be heading home, but admitted he was not completely happy with his own performance in these World Cup finals.

"I'm not satisfied. I let in a lot but that's football," he said, speaking through an interpreter.

"We did our best but God didn't want to give us any goals."


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SAUDI ARABIA V REP OF IRELAND
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 SQUAD PROFILES
GROUP E
  P GD PTS
GERMANY 3 +10 7
IRELAND 3 +3 5
CAMEROON 3 -1 4
SAUDI ARABIA 3 -12 0




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