Saudis pummel six past Guatemala
© AFP

Saudi Arabia cruised past Guatemala, scoring six unanswered goals in their Group D encounter in Armenia to book their place in the Round of 16. Yahya Dagriri, Yasir Alfahmi, Mohammed Alfatil, Yasir Alshahrani, Ibrahim Alibrahim and Salem Aldawsari all got on the scoresheet for the Saudis, while Guatemala were left to endure yet another thrashing at these finals.

Saudi Arabia immediately had Guatemala on the back foot, despite the Central Americans insertion of five new players into their starting line-up. The Saudis had their first chance on goal when Alibrahim threaded a through ball to Dagriri, but Guatemala keeper Roberto Padilla was up to the task.

After Yasir came close with a free-kick, Saudi Arabia found their breakthrough on 16 minutes. Maan Khodary’s long-range pass reached Dagriri, who proceeded into the area to fire a low shot into the far left corner of the Guatemalan net.

Guatemala had their first real chance with a shot from Elias Vasquez, but goalkeeper Abdullah Alsdairy parried it away for the corner. The Central Americans' attack was short lived, however, and after a missed one-on-one chance for Dagriri, the Saudis doubled their lead.

Yasir, who was more likely intending to cross, edged the ball past Padilla to score from a tight angle. Before the break, the Saudis came close to scoring another two, Alfahmi hitting the woodwork and Salem Aldawsari with a glaring miss.

Things went from bad to worse for the Guatemalans in the second half as Saudi Arabia were relentless on the attack. Padilla was able to deny chances from Aldawsari and Fhad Almuwallad to open the half, but after a nice bit of work from Dagriri on the left flank, Mohammed Alfatil fired a shot that found its way into the net for the Saudis' third goal of the night.

Alshahrani made it four just under ten minutes later when he beat Kevin Norales in the area to hit a powerful shot into the roof of the net. Guatemala struggled to create anything on the attack, and Alibrahim and Alnassar added insult to injury, completing a comprehensive victory for Saudi Arabia with strikes in the 83rd and 89th minutes respectively.

Saudi Arabia will go to battle for first spot in Group D against Nigeria on 6 August, while Guatemala will be searching for an answer against Croatia.