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Saturday, 1 June, 2002, 13:24 GMT 14:24 UK

Saudis vow to bounce back

Saudi Arabia coach Nasser Al-Johar pledged that his sorry side would bounce back from their "disastrous" 8-0 defeat by Germany.

The Group E underdogs suffered the third worst hiding in finals history as they shipped four goals in each half in Sapporo.

But their coach vowed that his team would pick themselves up from their humiliation.

And he even put on a brave enough face to claim that they could still qualify for the second phase.

Al-Johar said: "It was a disastrous result and our team performed badly.

"There was definitely a sudden collapse in the game. This was not our real team.

"The true Saudi team was the one that played against Uruguay, Denmark, Brazil in friendly matches and also against Senegal," said the coach.

Saudi Arabia beat Uruguay and Senegal and lost narrowly to Brazil and Denmark in those warm-ups.

Al-Johar added: "I am so sorry for the spectators and for the people back in Saudi Arabia. But I am also responsible."

And he added: "I didn't expect this from my players. I'm very disappointed.

"Some players did not play very well at all but we have two more matches to play and we can still qualify.

"We promise our fans in Saudi Arabia and in the Arab world to do our best in the next two matches."

Al-Johar has a mountain to climb to lift his team for Thursday's match against African champions Cameroon.

Saudi Arabia's former Asian Player of the Year, Nawaf Al-Temyat, hardly touched the ball on Saturday.

Only veteran striker and captain Sami Al-Jaber posed any threat in a match in which the German goalkeeper, captain Oliver Kahn, was completely untroubled.

Saudi Arabia's defeat was the worst in the finals since Hungary hammered El Salvador 10-1 in 1982.


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