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Saudi Arabia National Football Team

Saudi Arabia is a nation with a growing interest in football and fiery rivalries with some of its regional neighbors. They have a number of Asian trophies to their name and have become a regular at the World Cup in modern times.

The resources being poured into the sport in Saudi Arabia suggest that the national team will only get better from here on out.

Want to see how The Saudi Arabia National Football Team will do in the Qatar 2022 World Cup? Click the links below to bet on your favourite World Cup matches!

Tuesday November 22 – Argentina vs Saudi Arabia (Lusail Iconic Stadium, Lusail; kick-off 11am).

Friday November 25Poland vs Saudi Arabia (Education City Stadium, Al Rayyan; kick-off 2pm).

Wednesday November 30Saudi Arabia vs Mexico (Lusail Iconic Stadium, Lusail; kick-off 8pm).


Team History

Saudi Arabia National Football’s Disjointed Start

As with many international teams starting in Asia, Saudi Arabia National Football team’s early days were not made up of a cohesive national team. Instead, the country’s first representatives were picked from some of the top clubs in the land.

This first took form in 1951 when this mismatch of Saudi players faced off against the Egyptian Ministry of Health, and that went down as Saudi Arabia National Football’s first-ever national game.

However, it would be two years until a proper Saudi team competed in a number of friendlies, most notably in Damascus, Syria.

Taking Football Seriously

It didn’t take long for the Saudi Arabia National Football Team to work out that they wanted to see the team compete properly. They got their first opportunity to do so in 1957 during the Pan-Arab games, which wasn’t the most prestigious or official tournament but gave the side a good chance to test their mettle.

The Saudi Arabian Football Federation, which had been started the year earlier, initially appeared to be a driving force for the team’s participation in the international game. However, the excitement from the 1957 Pan-Arab games was allowed to fizzle out, and fans would have to wait until the 1984 Asian Cup to see the team compete in their first proper tournament.

Getting in the Swing of Things

Things started moving fast once the side got a taste for official competition. Saudi Arabia National Football took home the Asian Cup in 1988 and 1996 and, in the modern day, qualifies for every Asian cup without fail. Qualification for the World Cup would come about later but similarly became something that the fans expected.

The first successful World Cup qualification campaign was for the 1994 finals in the United States. They performed well for a first-time team, reaching the round of 16 before losing to Sweden. While the qualification stage remains navigable for the Saudi team, they are yet to surpass the distance they went in their debut World Cup.

Riding the Arab Wave

With the 2022 World Cup being held by neighboring Qatar, Saudi Arabia is keenly aware that football is on the up in the Arab world. As a result, the nation has poured vast resources into the domestic league and the grassroots game, with links to prestigious international players surfacing in recent years.

With the amount of backing the Saudi Arabia National Football team has got, fans will be hoping that soon the team goes from being one of the best in Asia to one that can compete seriously with the rest of the world. The 2022 World Cup in Qatar marks the beginning of the future for football in the Arab world.

Saudi Arabia National Football Trivia

  • Saudi Arabia National Football Team’s record goalscorer Majed Abdullah netted 72 goals for his country and holds the title of all-time top scorer in the Saudi professional league with 189 goals in 194 appearances.
  • Saudi Arabia has a couple of fiery rivalries based on historical tensions. Matches with Iraq have become one of the sport’s most fiercely contested rivalries since the 1970s, while games between Saudi Arabia and Iran are based on a rivalry that goes back since before football began.

Soccer Saudi Arabia Leagues