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Al Jaber and Al Deayea retire

June 24, 2006 03:45 IST

Saudi Arabia goalkeeper Mohamed Al Deayea and striker Sami Al Jaber both retired from international football on Friday after the 1-0 defeat by Spain ended their World Cup hopes.

Al Deayea holds the world record for international caps with 181 for Saudi Arabia since making his debut in 1990. Both players are veterans of four World Cups and helped the Saudis reach the second round in 1994.

"I am very proud. This was my fourth World Cup and it will have a great memory for me because I managed to score a goal [against Tunisia] and we played a great game against Spain today," Al Jaber, who has 163 caps, said.

"It feels just like yesterday that I started in my first World Cup [in 1994]. Hopefully Saudi Arabia will develop their level and I will be able to help them."

A spokesman for the national team confirmed that both players will continue playing for the Saudi club Al Hilal.


Al Deayea and Al Jaber were both recalled to the national squad by Brazilian coach Marcos Paqueta during the qualification campaign, although Al Deayea did not add to his tally of caps at the finals in which Mabrouk Zaid played all three games.

Al Jaber, who had a brief spell in English football with Wolverhampton Wanderers in 2000, said the performance against Spain had helped to make up for the 4-0 hammering by Ukraine in their second match.

"Today we showed that we prepared well for this World Cup and that the Ukraine result was just a bad day for us," said Al Jaber, who scored his 44th international goal in the 2-2 draw against Tunisia.

"If we had beaten Tunisia then maybe things could have been different, we were unlucky to concede a late equaliser."

With the Saudi soccer federation notorious for hiring and firing coaches, the striker said he hoped Paqueta, who also coached Al Hilal, would stay on.

"He must be given more time to develop the national team," he said.


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