FIFA World Cup 2026 Qualifiers: Constantine says Pakistan didn’t deserve to lose by four goals against Saudi Arabia

Pakistan lost 4-0 on Thursday

By Web Desk
November 17, 2023
 Stephen Constantine with the Pakistan players during a training session. - PFF

Pakistan team’s head coach Stephen Constantine said on Thursday that his side didn’t deserve to lose by four goals against Saudi Arabia during the FIFA World Cup 2026 Qualifiers in Al-Ahsa.

Pakistan team, who are playing the second round of the Asian Qualifiers for the first time in their history, conceded three goals in the second half after a spirited performance in the first 45 minutes. The Shaheens failed to score a goal and lost the match 4-0.

"It was always going to be a difficult game for us. Considering where we were two months ago, we didn't deserve to lose 4-0. We conceded at the start of both halves, which is probably the worst time to concede goals,” Constantine said during the post-match press conference.

"We expected a difficult match and we conceded an early goal. I promise that my team will be better in the upcoming matches.

"If you face a team as good as the Saudi team, you must always be focused. We have players whose primary sport is not football. Some of them do not remember the last time they played this game.

"Saudi Arabia is one of the best teams in Asia, so I asked the players to play without fear. Our chances are not easy, especially as we face strong teams, and we must prepare well for the Tajikistan match.”

Reflecting their respective FIFA rankings, Saudi Arabia at 57 and Pakistan at 193, the match unfolded as anticipated, with Saudi Arabia emerging victorious as expected.

Jordan and Tajikistan are the other teams in Pakistan’s group. These four teams will play against each other on a home and away basis and then the top two nations will progress to the third round while the bottom two teams will move into the third round of the 2027 Asian Cup Qualifiers.

Being a host country of the 2027 Asian Cup, Saudi Arabia have already qualified for the continent’s major showpiece.

Pakistan are now set to play against Tajikistan in Islamabad on November 21, while the remaining qualification matches will be played next year in March and June. The top two qualify for the third round of qualifiers, in which 18 teams are split between three groups.