A 23-year-old wide man, Al-Muwallad is Saudi Arabia’s bounding, boundlessly energetic force of chaos. Judging off the highlights above—in which he can be seen breezing past defenders as if they moved in slow motion, blasting the ball into the upper corners of the net, scoring a beauty of an outside-the-box bicycle kick, chipping a goalkeeper by flipping the ball some 15 feet in the air before it comes down and bounces over the goal line, dinking another keeper with a cheeky Panenka penalty, and altogether freaking the fuck out in celebration of many of these assorted highlight reel plays—you can bet on Al-Muwallad attempting one or two highlight reel–worthy plays. And it wouldn’t be too far-fetched to think one or two of those moves of his just might come off, too.


How They Play

I don’t know if you’ve heard this already but Saudi Arabia are the worst team in the World Cup. They know this, their opponents know this, and their smart, Argentina-born Spanish manager Juan Antonio Pizzi will have prepared them for this fact. Which is to say, expect lots of defending, long balls out to the attacking midfielders to spark counters, and hopeful shots from distance or crosses from wide. It won’t be pretty, but then again World Cup games by the worst teams in the tournament rarely are.


Group A Fixtures

All times Eastern

June 14, 11 a.m.: Russia vs. Saudi Arabia at Luzhniki Stadium

June 20, 11 a.m.: Uruguay vs. Saudi Arabia at Rostov Arena

June 25, 10 a.m.: Saudi Arabia vs. Egypt at Volgograd Arena