Pizzi names final Saudi Arabia squad
Kuala Lumpur: Playmaker Nawaf Al Abed missed out as head coach Juan Antonio Pizzi named Saudi Arabia's final squad for the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia.
Argentine Pizzi named the 23-man squad shortly after Saudi Arabia fell to a 3-0 defeat to Peru in a friendly in St. Gallen, Switzerland on Sunday and Al Abed missing out wasn't a big surprise as the Al Hilal player was coming off a season blighted by injuries.
Al Abed came on as a substitute against Peru but Pizzi obviously must have felt that taking him to Russia would be risky.
His absence, however, will be a blow as Al Abed scored four goals in Saudi Arabia's qualifying campaign - a haul that helped seal a return to the FIFA World Cup for the first time since the 2016 edition.
Also dropped from the final squad were goalkeeper Assaf Qarny, defenders Mohammed Jahfali and Saeed Al Mowalad and midfielder Mohammed Al Kuwaykibi.
Saudi Arabia, who will play in Group A, have been training in Switzerland in preparation for the FIFA World Cup. They face hosts Russia in the tournament opener on June 14 before taking on Uruguay on June 20 and Egypt five days later.
Sunday's 3-0 defeat to Peru followed the 2-1 loss to Italy on May 29. Peru's goals were scored by Andre Carrillo (20th) and captain Paolo Guerrero (41st, 64th).
Pizzi's team have one more friendly lined up - against defending FIFA World Cup champions Germany on June 8
Saudi Arabia squad
Goalkeepers: Mohammed Al Owais (Al Ahli), Yasser Al Mosailem (Al Ahli), Abdullah Al Mayouf (Al Hilal).
Defenders: Mansoor Al Harbi (Al Ahli), Yasser Al Shahrani (Al Hilal), Mohammed Al Breik (Al Hilal), Motaz Hawsawi (Al Ahli), Osama Hawsawi (Al Hilal), Omar Hawsawi (Al Nassr), Ali Al-Bulaihi (Al Hilal).
Midfielders: Abdullah Al Khaibari (Al Shabab), Abdulmalek Al Khaibri (Al Hilal), Abdullah Otayf (Al Hilal), Taiseer Al Jassim (Al Ahli), Houssain Al Mogahwi (Al Ahli), Salman Al Faraj (Al Hilal), Mohamed Kanno (Al Hilal), Yahya Al Shehri (Al Nassr), Hattan Bahebri (Al Shabab), Salem Al Dawsari (Al Hilal).
Forwards: Fahad Al Muwallad (Al Ittihad), Mohammad Al Sahlawi (Al Nassr), Muhannad Assiri (Al Ahli).