Hervé Renard’s fairytale journey from Cambridge to World Cup mastermind

Saudi Arabia’s swashbuckling upset of Argentina was overseen by a coach whose bravery brought unthinkable rewardsWhen Morocco surprisingly lost on penalties to Benin in the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations, falling short of a quarter-final spot, it was tempting to wonder whether Hervé Renard had lost his sheen. The Frenchman had nothing to prove at that level but this time his sureness of touch had deserted him and, fulfilling a pledge he had made to himself before the tournament, he resigned.Three weeks later he pitched up as Saudi Arabia manager and in signing for a struggling federation that had churned through 10 coaches in the previous decade, there was a sense he risked burying himself in a footballing desert.

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