Unverified video footage showed the wing of the airplane in a fire, in which the Saudi Arabia national team was traveling. The Saudi Arabian Football Federation was quick to release a statement saying that the players are safe.
The Saudi Arabia national team, currently playing in the FIFA World Cup 2018, survived a scare after their plane caught fire mid-air. The Group A team was traveling from Moscow to Rostov-on-Don for their second match against Uruguay on Wednesday.
Unverified video footage showed the wing of the airplane on a fire. However, the Saudi Arabian Football Federation was quick to release a statement saying that the players are safe.
“The Saudi Arabian Football Federation would like to reassure everyone that all the Saudi national team players are safe, after a technical failure in one of the airplane engines that has just landed in Rostov-on-Don airport, and now they’re heading to their residence safely,” the SAFF said in a statement.
The players could be seen leaving the plane – a Russian Airlines Airbus A319-100 – shortly after landing. Saudi Arabia’s World Cup campaign begun on a poor note as they went down to hosts Russia 5-0 in the opening match of the 2018 edition.
On Wednesday, Saudi Arabia will face off with Uruguay, who are hoping to appease some worries after only beating Egypt 1-0 thanks to a late goal.
Bizarrely, two-time World Cup champions Uruguay has never beaten the ‘Green Falcons’; Saudi Arabia won a friendly in 2002 while 2014 friendly ended in a draw.
In another potential source of reassurance for the perennially underachieving Saudis, the usually ruthless Suarez missed three chances against Egypt on Friday in their opening game.
But Group A favorites Uruguay is still widely expected to clobber Saudi Arabia, the second-lowest World Cup team in the FIFA rankings at No. 67.