Saudi players to pay the ‘penalty’ for heavy World Cup defeat to Russia

Three of Saudi Arabia's squad are facing "penalties" after the 5-0 opening-day football World Cup loss to Russia sparked a furious backlash in the country.

Saudi's defeat was widely hailed as one of the worst performances at a World Cup in recent times, and almost certainly rules them out of progressing to the last 16.

It was the biggest loss by a side in an opening match since Brazil beat Mexico 5-0 in Geneva in 1954.

3 players in particular have been singled out for criticism by Adel Ezzat, head of the Saudi Football Federation.

"We are very disappointed by the defeat," said Ezzat.

"This result is totally unsatisfactory, because it does not reflect the true level of our preparedness. Several players will face a penalty - goalkeeper Abdullah Al Mayouf, striker Mohammad Al Sahlawi and defender Omar Hawsawi."

Turki al-Sheikh, the country's sports authority chief, also hit out at the players, complaining in a video posted on Twitter that the players put in "less than five per cent effort".

He added: "We've done everything we could for the national team players. They've blackened my face. We've been covering all their expenses for three years, we've hired the best coaching team and a world-class head coach for them, but they did not fulfil what was required."

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