Frank Rijkaard: Saudi team ‘can learn a lot’ from Spain

Saudi Arabian head coach Frank Rijkaard spoke on Wednesday ahead of the his side’s international friendly with World and European champions Spain.

The last time Saudi Arabia faced Spain in an international friendly, they needed an injury-time winner from striker Fernando Llorente to seal an unconvincing 3-2 win ahead of the 2010 World Cup.

While head coach Vicente del Bosque will be hoping for a more ruthless performance from the defending World and European champions, his counterpart, Frank Rijkaard will be hoping otherwise as he leads the Saudi side.

Despite the tiresome journey from the Middle East to the northwest region of Spain, Rijkaard is adamant that the friendly can bode well for the future development of his team.

SOUNDBITE (English): Frank Rijkaard, Saudi Arabia head coach
“Yes of course. I think it’s a special game for the players of Saudi Arabia, playing against Spain (who are) number one in the world, with such great players. They are excited and it will be a learning experience for them.”

The Saudis’ last fixture, saw them lose 4-2 away to Australia in February during an Asian World Cup qualifier.

Rijkaard was full of praise for del Bosque’s side.

SOUNDBITE (English): Frank Rijkaard
“I think first of all you have to enjoy (the match). As I already said, playing against such high quality players, it can bring you much (success) for the future, because you see them acting (and) handling the ball. You see them playing together. You see them having ball possession. So you can learn a lot of it. But I think we have to make the best of it. Not be afraid, enjoy the game and do everything we can. But of course, there is a lot of difference (between the two teams).”

Spain host Saudi Arabia in Galicia on Friday before they turn their attention to qualification for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.