The Saudi Arabian football team fought tenaciously to salvage its pride in a close 1-0 defeat to Cameroon on 6 June. Although the defeat eliminated Saudi Arabia’s chances of progressing to the second round, it will have encouraged fans still reeling from the thumping 8-0 defeat inflicted by Germany on 2 June.

Saudi coach Nasser al-Johar had promised a better performance against the highly rated African side, and he was not disappointed. ‘It was a disastrous result [against Germany] and the team performed badly,’ he said on 5 June. ‘We promise our fans in Saudi Arabia and the Arab world to do better for our next two games.’

Tunisia, the only other Arab team in the competition, lost 2-0 to Russia on 5 June and needs good results against Japan and Belgium to progress.