World Cup 2022. Hervé Renard: the White Magician who gave the big blow against Argentina but calls for caution

Posted 2022/11/23 45 0

DOHA (Special envoy).- The cameras did not get tired of taking this man like a film actor, with a blonde gabled hairstyle and an impeccable tight-fitting white shirt. Hervé Renard smiled at the end, when the Slovenian referee Slavko Vincic delayed the end of the game. A mocking laugh, as if asking for mercy to be able to celebrate. This 54-year-old Frenchman has just delivered the first big blow of Qatar 2022, with his Saudi Arabia they beat Argentina 2-1, which means a blow to one of the favorites from the previous one.

However, far from all the euphoria, Renard chose caution when it came to post-match statements: “When Saudi players win something, they feel like they’re flying. But I’ll be there for the other two games to tell them to keep their feet on the ground. We can only have a good celebration for 20 minutes and that’s it, there are still two games to go.”

“When you come to the World Cup, you have to believe in yourself, anything can happen in football. Argentina is a fantastic team, but crazy things can happen in football,” said the DT, who also sent a message to the Saudi fans: “We need even more support. There were a lot of Saudis today, but we need more for the other two games.”

To the jumps: the vehement Renard gives indications to his directed
To the jumps: the vehement Renard gives indications to his directedClive Brunskill – Getty Images Europe

a good story

Behind this man there is a good story. Zinedine Zidane was one of those who frustrated him. The French crack was 19 years old. The, Herve Renard, he had already turned 22. They were teammates at Cannes for three seasons, until 1993. “Coming up against the great players made me realize that my hierarchy was third-rate,” he accepted. But he went, even, much lower. To the amateur contests, in the sixth division. Soccer was definitely not his thing. He played a few more years, but at 30 he got tired. He prematurely shut down his career. It was very obvious and there was no point in insisting. Those were difficult years, at 3 in the morning he would get on the truck to collect garbage. He also worked cleaning buildings. For all that he knows that life is not easy. In what way did he change so much, to the point of offering you today to be before his second World Cup?

The Saudi Arabian coach continued to be linked to the modest team from which he retired, Sporting Club de Draguignan. As a footballer he couldn’t convey much, but his passion reached those boys who did their best in the regional league in a different way. He promoted them two years in a row. He made it to the fourth category. His compatriot Claude Le Roy (African soccer guru) took an interest in him and opened the doors to a different world. He offered to get on his project. A gamble. He had nothing to lose…why not? He left as his assistant China, in the main team of Shanghai.

Then he recommended it to Cambridge, in England’s League Two. One thing led to another, until it led him to lead on the African continent. Renard became two-time African Cup champion (2012 with Zambia and 2015 with the Ivory Coast). They began to call him the “White Magician”. He tried in his country, in Sochaux and in Lille. He failed at both. He returned to the continent that treated him best. There he also passed through Angola, Algeria and Morocco. He now he lives in Dakar. But the reasons why he has his residence there are not footballing. He married the Senegalese Viviane Dieye in 2016. She is the widow of another legendary French coach: Bruno Metsu.who led Senegal to the 2002 World Cup and who died in 2013, a victim of cancer.

“In Africa I feel free. I don’t think I can live anywhere else, ”he said in a note with Hola Morocco magazine, where he made the cover after obtaining the position of that country’s national team. But Saudi Arabia convinced him to move to the Arab world. After qualifying for the World Cup, he renewed his contract until 2027.

Due to his particular personality, Herve Renard is a celebrity in several African countries
Due to his particular personality, Herve Renard is a celebrity in several African countriesKARIM SAHIB – AFP

How did your team get to this World Cup? This year he played 15 games, between friendlies and qualifiers. They won 4 (all 1-0, against Oman, Australia, North Macedonia and Iceland), drew six (China, Ecuador, USA, Albania, Honduras and Panama) and lost four (2-0 with Japan and 1- 0 with Colombia, Venezuela and Croatia).

“Argentine soccer players play as a team, they fight together and they have a talent that makes a difference. It is one of the great favorites for the World Cup. It’s not just Messi, they also have Lautaro Martínez, a great striker. We know all his strengths, they are better than us”, the DT had said in the previous one.

Herve Renard with Viviane Dièye, Bruno Metsu's widow and his current wife
Herve Renard with Viviane Dièye, Bruno Metsu’s widow and his current wife

Scaloni and Renard had already been face to face. On March 26, 2019, in Tangier, when the Frenchman was heading to Morocco. The team could only break the African team seven minutes from the end, with a goal from Ángel Correa for the final 1-0.

“Prince Mohammed bin Salman received us and congratulated us on qualifying for the World Cup,” he said in his first attention to the press in Doha. He remarked to us that there was no pressure, that we had to show a beautiful image of Saudi football. That does not mean that we are going to limit ourselves to the contrary ”. Now, with the shock of the premiere, the prince can be very proud of this Frenchman who put the Saudi team on the lips of the world.

A man of vehement harangues


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