MX23RW : Saturday, July 31 12:17:05| >> :600:4485558:4485558:
Jun 11, 2021 at 7pm UK
SingaporeSingapore
0-3
Saudi ArabiaSaudi Arabia

Fandi (18'), Sujad (21'), Syahin (44'), Arifin (61')
FT(HT: 0-0)
Al-Dawsari (84'), Al-Muwallad (87'), Al-Shehri (90+6')
Al-Dawsari (44'), Al-Malki (61')

Preview: Singapore vs. Saudi Arabia - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Friday's World Cup Qualifying - Asia clash between Singapore and Saudi Arabia, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

With their hopes of a maiden World Cup appearance already dead in the water, Singapore will simply want to play with their heads held high against group leaders Saudi Arabia at the King Saud University Stadium on Friday.

Tatsuma Yoshida's side were thrashed 5-0 by Uzbekistan last time out, while Saudi Arabia's unbeaten start continued with a comfortable 3-0 success over Yemen.


Match preview

The Singapore faithful have never witnessed their side turn out on the biggest stage of them all in the World Cup, and a dismal qualification period means that their agonising wait for a maiden appearance at the prestigious competition will continue.

Yoshida witnessed his side take four points from their opening two clashes with Yemen and Palestine, but they have since lost four of their most recent five battles in Group D and are five points adrift of the top two with one game remaining.

June has certainly been a forgettable month for Singapore, who lost 4-0 to Palestine earlier this month before being put to the sword 5-0 by Uzbekistan on Monday, during which Genoa's Eldor Shomurodov found the back of the net and Irfan Fandi came off the bench just to score an own goal.

Yoshida's side find themselves languishing in fourth place in Group D and have little but pride on the line as they gear up to meet Saudi Arabia, but a fourth-placed finish could be the difference between qualification for the playoff round or the third qualifying round of the 2023 Asian Cup.

In stark contrast, Saudi Arabia are well on course for back-to-back appearances at the World Cup following their short-lived venture at Russia 2018, as Herve Renard's crop are sweeping aside the competition in Group D.

Yet to suffer defeat ahead of their penultimate game of the group, Saudi Arabia have collected 14 points from 18 on offer to sit atop the pile, and they prepare to do battle with Singapore on a three-game winning streak in qualification.

Despite the 16 month-long break in between qualifying matches amid the coronavirus pandemic, Saudi Arabia came back with a bang by beating Palestine 5-0 in March, and they followed that up with a 3-0 triumph over Yemen on Saturday.

All three of Saudi Arabia's strikes in their most recent victory came in the opening 45 minutes, as Fahad Al-Muwallad took his international tally to 16 goals with a brace after Salem Al-Dawsari's 14th for his country saw the deadlock broken after just four minutes.

Saudi Arabia have not been assured of a place in the third World Cup qualifying round just yet, with second-placed Uzbekistan just two points behind before their final-day clash, but they eased to a 3-0 win over Singapore during their first meeting in October 2019.

Singapore World Cup Qualifying - Asia form:
  • W
  • L
  • L
  • W
  • L
  • L

Singapore form (all competitions):
  • L
  • L
  • W
  • D
  • L
  • L

Saudi Arabia World Cup Qualifying - Asia form:
  • D
  • W
  • D
  • W
  • W
  • W

Saudi Arabia form (all competitions):
  • L
  • W
  • L
  • W
  • W
  • W



Team News

Two of Singapore's most influential players have not been able to link up with the squad this time around, as striker Ikhsan Fandi is injured while 100-cap midfielder Hariss Harun is out due to personal reasons.

Hafiz Sujad lasted all of 29 minutes against Uzbekistan before being withdrawn and could cede his place to Shawal Anuar here, and the likes of Anumanthan Kumar and teenage protege Ilhan Fandi could earn some game time on the final matchday.

Having had a six-day break to rest and recuperate in between matches, Saudi Arabia coach Renard ought to stick with the majority of the same XI who got the job done in convincing fashion over Yemen.

However, midfielder Abdullah Otayf is suspended after picking up his second booking of qualifying last time out, so Sami Al-Najei could fill the void in the engine room.

Renard may be tempted into an alteration or two with one eye on the clash with Uzbekistan, though, and competition up top is rife with Abdullah Al-Hamdan and Firas Al-Buraikan hoping to stake their claims for spots.

Singapore possible starting lineup:
Mahbud; Suzliman, Adli, Khaizan, Hamzah; Sulaiman, Kumar; Halim, Hanapi, Anuar; Fandi

Saudi Arabia possible starting lineup:
Al-Owais; Al-Ghannam, Tambakti, Madu, Al-Shahrani; Al Malki, Al-Najei; Al-Muwallad, Al-Faraj, Al-Dawsari; Al-Shehri


SM words green background

We say: Singapore 0-2 Saudi Arabia

These two sides have been heading in opposite directions since their first meeting of the group almost a year ago. The confidence could hardly be lower in Singapore's camp, whereas Saudi Arabia are only looking upwards.

Renard and his players will surely have one eye on their top-of-the-table battle with Uzbekistan, but they ought to prepare for that meeting in ideal fashion with all three points here.



Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting under 3.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Under 3.5:data


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How you voted: Singapore vs Saudi Arabia

Singapore
13.6%
Draw
9.1%
Saudi Arabia
77.3%
22
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Saudi Arabia's Taiseer Al Jassam celebrates scoring their first goal with Yasser Al-Shahrani during the international friendly with Germany on June 8, 2018
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Saturday's key events


TRIATHLON
· After silvers in both the men's and women's events, Team GB will be fancied to get on the podium again in the mixed relay (11.30pm-1am)

SWIMMING
· Touted as Michael Phelps's successor, Caeleb Dressel already has two gold medals from these Games and he will be going for a third in the men's 50m butterfly final (2.30am)
· It is Katie Ledecky vs. Ariarne Titmus III in the women's 800m freestyle final, with Ledecky entering as firm favourite (2.46am)
· Great Britain will be heavily fancied to add another gold medal to their swimming haul, having produced by far the fastest qualifying time for the mixed 4x100m medley relay final (3.43am)

ATHLETICS
· Dina Asher-Smith is one of three British women in the 100m semi-finals (3.01am-3.20am), and will hope to challenge for a medal in what is likely to be a star-studded final (1.50pm)
· The inaugural Olympic 4x400m mixed relay event concludes with Great Britain one of the eight finalists going for gold (1.35pm)

RUGBY SEVENS
· Team GB's dreams of an unlikely gold are still alive in the women's event as they face France in their semi-final (3.30am). The winners will face either New Zealand or Fiji in the gold medal match later in the day (10am)

SAILING
· Gold medals are up for grabs in the windsurfer - RS:X finals. Emma Wilson participates for Team GB in the women's final (6.33am), while Tom Squires is in action in the men's (7.33am)

TENNIS
· Following his shock semi-final defeat, ending his hopes of a Golden Slam in 2021, Novak Djokovic battles for bronze against Pablo Carreno Busta (7am)
· The women's singles event reaches its conclusion with the gold medal match between Belinda Bencic and Marketa Vondrousova

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