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Riyadh: Former Chile boss Juan Antonio Pizzi was named as Saudi Arabia's head coach on Tuesday, after Edgardo Bauza's removal last week.

Pizzi will lead Saudi Arabia at the FIFA World Cup 2018, having resigned as Chile coach after failing to take the two-time defending Copa America champions to Russia.

Pizzi, an  Argentinian, takes over a Saudi team that Dutchman Bert van Marwijk led to  World Cup qualification before leaving in September. Bauza, another Argentinian, took over but his short stay was ended last week.

Former Barcelona striker Pizzi, 49, coached Chile to the 2016 Copa America title and also coached Valencia between 2013-14.

"We wanted Pizzi because of his achievements in the past and his ambitions for the future," Saudi Arabian Football Federation President Abdel bin Mohammed Ezzat said in a statement.

"We will do all we can to support him during preparations for the World Cup."

Pizzi will represent Saudi Arabia at the World Cup draw in Moscow on Friday, as the West Asian nation prepare for a first Finals appearance since 2006.

Saudi Arabia, whose best World Cup effort came with a run to the last 16 on their tournament debut in 1994, booked their ticket for Russia by finishing second to Japan in Group B of the Asian Qualifiers. 

Source: AFP

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