BY DAILY SABAH WITH AA
With only four days to go until the world’s biggest football event kicks off, Arab teams are gearing up to make the most out of this winter’s Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup.
With the Qatari national team, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, Egypt, Algeria, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Kuwait and Iraq from Arab countries have made at least one appearance in the World Cup so far.
The teams of Saudi Arabia, Tunisia and Qatar were able to qualify for the 22nd edition of the FIFA World Cup and Qatar is the first Arab nation to host a World Cup event.
Morocco, Tunisia and Saudi Arabia are among the tournament’s most experienced, with five World Cup appearances, followed by Algeria with four, Egypt with three and the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Iraq and Qatar with only one appearance each.
The Pharaohs paved the way
Egypt was the first Arab side to qualify for the international tournament, making it for the first time at the Italy 1934 World Cup and the Pharaohs were absent until 1990.
Morocco was the first Arab African nation to qualify for the World Cup round of 16. They won the group stage ahead of England, Poland and Portugal in the 1986 Mexico tournament.
Regardless of their resilience, the team was eliminated by West Germany in a narrow defeat.
Saudi Arabia was the first Arab Asian nation to advance to the knock-out after they came second in their group against the Netherlands, Belgium and Morocco in the U.S. in 1994.
The Saudi side lost to Sweden 3-1 in the Round of 16.
In addition to Morocco and Saudi Arabia, Algeria came off the group that included Belgium, Russia and South Korea at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. Germany beat Algeria 2-1.
Morocco and Saudi Arabia are the Arab countries with the most games played at the World Cup, with 16 matches each. The Carthage Eagles of Tunisia are second, making 15 appearances.
Egypt and Kuwait are yet to taste a World Cup win, as Iraq and the United Arab Emirates did not manage to collect a single point so far.
Saudi Arabia’s Sami al-Jaber is the highest goal scorer with three World Cup goals among Arab nations.
Salah Assad, Abdelmoumene Djaboua and Islam Slimani from Algeria, Abdulrahman Fawzi and Muhammed Salah from Egypt, Salaheddine Bassir, Abdeljalil Hadda and Abderrazak Khairi from Morocco, Saudi Arabia’s Fuad Amin and Wahbi Khazri from Tunisia have managed to find the net twice each.
The Qatar 2022 will be the first World Cup tournament in the northern hemisphere that will not be held during the summer season.
The 29-day football event will kick off on Nov. 20 with an opener match between Qatar vs. Ecuador at 4 p.m. GMT at the al-Bayt Stadium and conclude with the final match at the 80,000-capacity Lusail Iconic Stadium on Dec. 18.