The Saudis’ hopes of spoiling the Irish party have been hit by the news that strikers Sami Al Jaber and Obeid Al Dossary have been ruled out.
Former Wolves forward Al Jaber, who will retire from international football after the finals, had been shaking off an ankle injury only to be laid low with appendicitis.
It is a sad end to Al Jaber’s international career, having played 150 times and scoring in the last two World Cups.
Prince Turkiy Bin Khaled, head of the Saudi delegation, said: ‘‘Al Jaber has undergone an appendix operation and it is certain he will not take part in the match.
‘‘Al Dossary needs an operation on his left knee ligaments and is obviously not fit to play against the Irish’’
Saudi Arabia coach Nasser Al Johar has however promised his team will regain some lost pride and spoil the Republic of Ireland’s passage into the last 16.
After opening their campaign with an 8-0 humiliation by Germany, Al Johar’s men gave a vastly-improved performance in a 1-0 defeat to Cameroon.
But the 42-year-old coach believes they can end their World Cup with victory against Ireland, who will be looking for the three points they need to book their place in the second round.
‘‘We will play as well as we did against Cameroon and return home with a memorable result,’’ said Al Johar.
‘‘We apologise again wholeheartedly to the Saudi fans after our two defeats and we promise them we will beat Ireland.’’
Goalkeeper Mohammed Al Deayea believes the Ireland game on Tuesday will give them another chance to show their true form.
‘‘The real face of Saudi football was against Cameroon when the players performed as they normally do,’’ said the goalkeeper, who will win his 165th cap against Mick McCarthy’s men.
‘‘The Irish game will not be easy, but we have no choice but to win so we persuade people and especially the Saudi people that we can play at the highest level.’’