Tue. Dec 6th, 2022

It was the latest international trophy of Herve Renard’s incredible coaching career when Saudi Arabia stunned Argentina in their World Cup opening game on Tuesday.

However, he is far from his rough days at Cambridge United, where he was fired from the Football League second-place club.

Herve Renard leads Saudi Arabia to a historic win over Argentina in Qatar

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Herve Renard leads Saudi Arabia to a historic win over Argentina in Qatar1 credit
The French had a tough time in his short fight at Cambridge.

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The French had a tough time in his short fight at Cambridge.1 credit

His miserable spell at East Anglia in 2004 included a defeat to Boston United in 14 of their 26 games in the bunker.

Now Qatar celebrates beating one of the tournament favourites, in 2022.

To be fair to Renard, his short stint at Abbey Stadium was a mark in his distinguished time as a manager spanning 13 teams and nine countries over 23 years.

The 54-year-old former defender started his coaching career with SC Draguignan in his native France in 1999.

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After his collapse at Cambridge, he led the sides in Vietnam before taking his first job as national team boss in Zambia and then back in France.

He led them to the quarterfinals of the first African Cup of Nations in 14 years in 2010, but stepped down to take over in their neighbor Angola.

Within 18 months, Renard was back in Zambia via USM Alger in Algeria and stunned the football world by leading the Copper Bullets to their first Afcon victory in 2012.

In the final, they beat a star-studded Ivory Coast side, including the Toure brothers and Didier Drogba, on penalties.

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Fast forward three years, though, and the Ivorians were celebrating their own Afcon success, led by the Renard man.

Renard, who again won 0-0 in extra time, became the first coach to win the Africa Cup of Nations with two different countries.

A failed spell with Lille led to another spin on the international stage to lead a new African team, leading Morocco to their first qualifier in 20 years, the 2018 World Cup.

Bernard took over as head of Saudi Arabia in 2019 with the task of providing qualification for Qatar 2022.

And the Green Falcons did it in style, outpacing Group B ahead of Japan and Australia.

When they took a short trip across the border to Qatar, the manager said: “We are rivals. We did not come to the World Cup to have fun.”

Renard led Ivory Coast to an Afcon victory in 2015, three years after winning with Zambia.

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Renard led Ivory Coast to an Afcon victory in 2015, three years after winning with Zambia.1 credit

And they proved it in their Group C opening when the 51st-placed side stunned Argentina, which boasted arguably the best player of all time on their side.

Despite falling behind Lionel Messi’s early penalty, they survived three VAR offside calls to knock out their South American kick – they dealt them a double hit right after halftime and went on for a famous win.

Renard said, “All the stars in the sky have aligned for us, but remember that Argentina is still a great team.

“It’s football, sometimes totally crazy things can happen.

“We can just have a good celebration for 20 minutes and that’s it, two more games.

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“When you come to the World Cup, you have to believe in yourself, anything can happen in football.”

Indeed, anything can happen in football – especially when the team is led by Herve Renard.

Celebrity win sparks crazy celebrations full time

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Celebrity win sparks crazy celebrations full timeCredit: Reuters
Renard was a defender during his days playing in France.

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Renard was a defender during his days playing in France.1 credit
He has been in management for 23 years and managing teams in nine different countries.

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He has been in management for 23 years and managing teams in nine different countries.1 credit