Saudi Arabia national football team
The Saudi Arabia national football team (Arabic: المنتخب العربي السعودي لكرة القدم) represents Saudi Arabia in men's international football and The team's colours are green and white. Saudi Arabia are known as Al-Suqour (The Falcons) and Al-Akhdhar (The Green), The team represents both FIFA and Asian Football Confederation (AFC).
|Nickname(s)||الأخضر (al-‘Akhḍar, "The Green One")|
الصقور الخضر (aṣ-Ṣuqūr al-‘Akhḍar, "The Green Falcons")
|Association||Saudi Arabian Football Federation|
|Sub-confederation||WAFF (West Asia)|
|Head coach||Hervé Renard|
|Most caps||Mohamed Al-Deayea (178)|
|Top scorer||Majed Abdullah (72)|
|Current||65 (27 May 2021)|
|Highest||21 (July 2004)|
|Lowest||126 (December 2012)|
| Lebanon 1–1 Saudi Arabia |
(Beirut, Lebanon; 18 January 1957)
| Timor-Leste 0–10 Saudi Arabia |
(Dili, East Timor; 17 November 2015)
| United Arab Republic 13–0 Saudi Arabia |
(Casablanca, Morocco; 3 September 1961)
|Appearances||5 (first in 1994)|
|Best result||Round of 16 (1994)|
|Appearances||10 (first in 1984)|
|Best result||Champions, (1984, 1988, 1996)|
|Arabian Gulf Cup|
|Appearances||24 (first in 1970)|
|Best result||Champions, (1994, 2002, 2003)|
|FIFA Arab Cup|
|Appearances||7 (first in 1985)|
|Best result||Champions, (1998, 2002)|
|Appearances||3 (first in 2012)|
|Best result||Group stage (3 times)|
|FIFA Confederations Cup|
|Appearances||4 (first in 1992)|
|Best result||Runners-up (1992)|
Considered one of Asia's most successful national teams, Saudi Arabia have won the Asian Cup three times (1984, 1988, and 1996), reached a joint record six Asian Cup finals and have qualified for the World Cup on five occasions since debuting at the 1994 tournament. Saudi Arabia is the first AFC nation to reach the final of a senior FIFA competition, when it achieved during the 1992 King Fahd Cup, which would eventually become the eventual FIFA Confederations Cup. Only Japan managed to repeat this feat, in the 2001 FIFA Confederations Cup.
In the 1994 World Cup under the leadership of Jorge Solari, Saudi Arabia beat both Belgium and Morocco in the group stage before falling to Sweden in the Round of 16. Thus Saudi Arabia became the second Arab national football team in history to reach the Round of 16 in a World Cup, after Morocco's Round of 16 elimination in the 1986 FIFA World Cup, and one of the few Asian national football teams (others being Australia, Japan, South Korea, North Korea) to accomplish such a feat to date.
The idea of a Saudi national team first came about in 1951, when a Saudi XI team consisting of players from Al-Wehda and Al-Ahli took part in a friendly game against the Egyptian Ministry of Health on June 27, 1951 at the Al-Saban Stadium in Jeddah. The following day, the Egyptians took on a Saudi team made up of players from Al-Ittihad and Al-Hilal in Al-Bahri in Jeddah. On August 2, 1951, His Royal Highness Prince Abdullah Al-Faisal organized a third friendly with the Egyptian team against a Saudi National XI with players from Al-Wehda, and Al-Ahli. By then the idea of a national select team to represent the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia was already in full flow, and in 1953 the first-ever Saudi team traveled to play friendly matches abroad. The same year, a Saudi team traveled to Damascus to play friendly matches as part of then-Crown Prince Saud bin Abdulaziz’s visit to the country on April 1953. In 1957, the Saudi national team took part in their first international tournament at the 2nd Pan-Arab Games in Beirut, where King Saud was invited to attend the opening ceremony and the inauguration of the Camille Chamoun Sports City Stadium with Lebanese President Camille Chamoun on October 18, 1957. The first game played at the stadium was between the national teams of Lebanon and Saudi Arabia. Abdulmajeed Kayal scored for the Saudis while Levon Altonian netted for the home side. The Saudi players came from teams from Jeddah and Mecca, while the team was given support and encouragement from Prince Abdullah Al-Faisal for their trip to Beirut.
Though their football federation was established in 1956, the Saudi Arabia national team did not participate in a tournament until they qualified for the AFC Asian Cup in 1984, which they won. They subsequently became one of Asia's most successful national teams, reaching the next four consecutive Asian Cup finals and winning two of them (1988 and 1996). They have qualified for every Asian Cup since, but their best performance in that period was reaching the final in 2007.
Saudi Arabia qualified for their first FIFA World Cup in 1994. Under the leadership of Jorge Solari and with talents like Saeed Al-Owairan and Sami Al-Jaber, reinforced by national veteran Majed Abdullah as team captain, Saudi Arabia beat both Belgium and Morocco in the group stage before falling to Sweden in the Round of 16. Saudi Arabia qualified for the next three World Cups, but did not win a group stage match in any of them. They failed to qualify for the 2010 and 2014 tournaments.
Saudi Arabia secured qualification for the 2018 tournament, ahead of Australia. However, they started on a sour note by letting host Russia rout them 0–5 on the opening match, making this the second largest victory of any host nation at the FIFA World Cup. The record of the host's largest opening victory is still by Italy, beating the United States 7–1, in 1934. Once again, Saudi Arabia failed to reach the next round, after suffering another defeat, this time, losing 0–1 to Uruguay. Saudi Arabia's performance in the tournament was deemed to be their worst performance since 2002 World Cup, where they were beaten 8-0 by Germany in their opening game and finished 32nd and bottom in the final rankings. Although they were eliminated, they managed to salvage some pride by winning their final group stage match (and their first win at a World Cup since 1994) against Red Sea neighbours Egypt.
After the 2018 World Cup, Saudi Arabia participated in the 2019 AFC Asian Cup with a very high optimism after an acceptable performance in the World Cup, with the Saudis won its first World Cup game since 1994 edition. However, Saudi Arabia finished second in the group stage, after falling to Qatar in the final game, and had to face another giant, Japan, in the round of sixteen. The Saudis dominated the whole game, but ultimately lost 0–1 due to poor finishing and crashed out from the competition.
On 15 October 2019, Saudi Arabia played its first-ever game with Palestine in the West Bank. The game marked a change in policy for Saudi Arabia, which has previously played matches against the Palestinian team in third-party countries, the visit was condemned by some Palestinian activists who considered the game as a start of normalizing the relations between Saudi Arabia and Israel, but it was viewed by the Palestinian National Authority as a support for their sovereignty over the West Bank. The game ended in a scoreless draw.
Kits and crestsEdit
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Saudi Arabia national football team kits.|
The Saudi Arabia national football team's first kit are traditionally white and the second kit are green (flag colors).
|Le Coq Sportif||2004–2005|
Due to historical reasons, matches against Iran have been frequently followed and seen by Saudis as the most important rival. This stems from the strong hatred between Saudi Arabia and Iran, in particular recent years due to religious sectarianism and historical enmities. Saudi Arabia is trailing behind the series, but only one game defeat, with 4 wins, 6 draws and 5 losses. It's one of 10 most heated rivalries with political influence.
Saudi Arabia's other heated rival is Iraq. However, the rivalry only began in 1970s. Due to the Gulf War, which Iraq invaded Saudi Arabia's ally Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Iraq eventually become bitter rival fighting to salvage Arab pride. The two countries since then have an up-and-down in relations, often ranged from lack of cooperation and political confrontation. Iraq almost pulled out of the 21st Arabian Gulf Cup after the country was disallowed to host the competition in a move believed to be motivated by Saudi Arabia.
Historically, Saudi Arabia played most of their home matches in King Fahd International Stadium, located in the capital Riyadh. The stadium was also where some of Saudi Arabia's most important fixtures were when the country hosted the first three King Fahd Cups (predecessor of the Confederations Cup). The stadium was also home to some of Saudi Arabia's big games in the FIFA World Cup qualifiers.
Saudi Arabia started to diversify the use of venues from outside Riyadh in the 2000s, with the 2002 FIFA World Cup qualifiers first round played in Prince Mohamed bin Fahd Stadium in Dammam and the second round played entirely in Prince Faisal bin Fahd Stadium. In the 2006 FIFA World Cup qualifiers second round against Sri Lanka and at the first fixture against Uzbekistan in the third round, Saudi Arabia played again in Prince Mohamed bin Fahd Stadium. It was accelerated from 2010s onward as Saudi Arabia began to play frequent home fixtures in newly-built King Abdullah Sports City in Jeddah and Mrsool Park also in Riyadh.
Recent schedule and resultsEdit
The following is a list of match results from the previous 12 months, as well as any future matches that have been scheduled.
|14 November 2020 Friendly||Saudi Arabia||3–0||Jamaica||Riyadh, Saudi Arabia|
|19:30 UTC+3||Report||Stadium: Prince Faisal bin Fahd Stadium|
Referee: Ahmed Eisa Mohamed Darwish (United Arab Emirates)
|17 November 2020 Friendly||Saudi Arabia||1–2||Jamaica||Riyadh, Saudi Arabia|
||Report||Stadium: Prince Faisal bin Fahd Stadium|
Referee: Yahya Al Mulla (United Arab Emirates)
|25 March 2021 Friendly||Saudi Arabia||1–0||Kuwait||Riyadh, Saudi Arabia|
||Report||Stadium: Mrsool Park|
Referee: Mohamed Bunafoor (Bahrain)
|30 March 2021 2022 W.C. Q||Saudi Arabia||5–0||Palestine||Riyadh, Saudi Arabia|
|20:30 UTC+3||Report (FIFA)
|Stadium: Mrsool Park|
Referee: Mohanad Qasim (Iraq)
|5 June 2021 2022 W.C. Q||Saudi Arabia||3–0||Yemen||Riyadh, Saudi Arabia|
|21:00 UTC+3||Report (FIFA)
|Stadium: Mrsool Park|
Referee: Nivon Robesh Gamini (Sri Lanka)
|11 June 2021 2022 W.C. Q||Singapore||0–3||Saudi Arabia||Riyadh, Saudi Arabia|
|21:00 UTC+3||Report (FIFA)
|Stadium: Mrsool Park|
Referee: Mohanad Qasim (Iraq)
|15 June 2021 2022 W.C. Q||Saudi Arabia||3–0||Uzbekistan||Riyadh, Saudi Arabia|
|21:00 UTC+3||Report (FIFA)
|Stadium: Mrsool Park|
Referee: Ko Hyung-jin (South Korea)
- The following 26 players were called up for the 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers against Yemen, Singapore, and Uzbekistan on 5, 11, and 15 June 2021:
- Match date: 5, 11, & 15 June 2021
- Opposition: Yemen, Singapore, & Uzbekistan.
- Caps and goals are correct as of 15 June 2021, after the match against Uzbekistan.
- Caps and goals including all matches officially recognized by SAFF (also those not recognized by FIFA).
The following players have also been called up to the Saudi Arabia squad within the last 12 months.
|Pos.||Player||Date of birth (age)||Caps||Goals||Club||Latest call-up|
|GK||Amin Bukhari||2 May 1997||0||0||Al-Ain||v. Palestine, 30 March 2021|
|GK||Habib Al-Wotayan||8 August 1996||0||0||Al-Hilal||v. Jamaica, 17 November 2020|
|DF||Muhannad Al-Shanqeeti||12 March 1999||0||0||Al-Ittihad||v. Singapore, 11 June 2021 WD|
|DF||Ziyad Al-Sahafi||17 October 1994||9||0||Al-Ittihad||v. Palestine, 30 March 2021|
|DF||Ahmed Sharahili||6 July 1993||1||0||Al-Shabab||v. Kuwait, 25 March 2021 INJ|
|DF||Saeed Al-Rubaie||4 June 1994||2||0||Al-Ettifaq||v. Jamaica, 17 November 2020|
|DF||Abdullah Hassoun||19 March 1997||1||0||Al-Ahli||v. Jamaica, 17 November 2020|
|MF||Salem Al-Dawsari||19 August 1991||56||15||Al-Hilal||v. Uzbekistan, 15 June 2021 WD|
|MF||Mohamed Kanno||22 September 1994||19||1||Al-Hilal||v. Palestine, 30 March 2021|
|MF||Hassan Al-Amri||21 April 1994||0||0||Al-Qadsiah||v. Palestine, 30 March 2021|
|MF||Housain Al-Mogahwi||24 March 1988||31||2||Al-Ahli||v. Jamaica, 17 November 2020|
|MF||Hattan Bahebri||16 July 1992||29||4||Al-Hilal||v. Jamaica, 17 November 2020|
|MF||Turki Al-Ammar||23 September 1999||4||0||Al-Shabab||v. Jamaica, 17 November 2020|
|MF||Mukhtar Ali||30 October 1997||4||0||Al-Nassr||v. Jamaica, 17 November 2020|
|MF||Ayman Yahya||14 May 2001||1||0||Al-Nassr||v. Jamaica, 17 November 2020|
|MF||Abdulmajeed Al-Sulaiheem||15 May 1994||3||0||Al-Nassr||v. Jamaica, 17 November 2020 WD|
|MF||Nawaf Al-Abed||26 January 1990||48||8||Al-Shabab||v. Jamaica, 14 November 2020 INJ|
|FW||Mohammed Maran||15 February 2001||0||0||Al-Nassr||v. Palestine, 30 March 2021|
|FW||Abdulfattah Adam||1 January 1995||4||2||Al-Raed||v. Jamaica, 17 November 2020|
- As of 20 November 2018
- Players in bold are still active with Saudi Arabia.
- Abdulrahman Fawzi (1957–1961)
- Ali Chaouach (1967–1969)
- George Skinner (1970)
- Mohammed Sheita (1970–1972)
- Taha Ismail (1972–1974)
- Abdo Saleh El Wahsh 1974)
- Ferenc Puskás (1975)
- Bill McGarry (1976–1977)
- Ronnie Allen (1978)
- Danny Allison (1978)
- David Woodfield (1979)
- Rubens Minelli (1980)
- Mario Zagallo (1981–1984)
- Khalil Ibrahim Al-Zayani (1984–1986)
- Castilho (1986)
- Osvaldo (1987)
- Carlos Galletti (1988)
- Omar Borras (1988)
- Carlos Alberto Parreira (1988–1990)
- Metin Türel (1990)
- Claudinho Garcia (1990–1992)
- Veloso (1992)
- Nélson Rosa (1992)
- Candinho (1993)
- Leo Beenhakker (1993–1994)
- Mohammed Al-Kharashy (1994)
- Ivo Wortmann (1994)
- Jorge Solari (1994)
- Mohammed Al-Kharashy (1995)
- Zé Mário (1995–1996)
- Nelo Vingada (1996–1997)
- Otto Pfister (1998)
- Carlos Alberto Parreira (1998)
- Mohammed Al-Kharashy (1998)
- Otto Pfister (1999)
- Milan Máčala (1999–2000)
- Nasser Al-Johar (2000)
- Slobodan Santrac (2001)
- Nasser Al-Johar (2001–2002)
- Gerard van der Lem (2002–2004)
- Martin Koopman (2002)
- Nasser Al-Johar (2004)
- Gabriel Calderon (2004–2005)
- Marcos Paqueta (2006–2007)
- Helio dos Anjos (2007–2008)
- Nasser Al-Johar (2008–2009)
- José Peseiro (2009–2011)
- Nasser Al-Johar (2011)
- Rogério Lourenço (2011)
- Frank Rijkaard (2011–2013)
- Juan Ramón López Caro (2013–2014)
- Cosmin Olăroiu (2014–2015)
- Faisal Al Baden (2015)
- Bert van Marwijk (2015–2017)
- Edgardo Bauza (2017)
- Juan Antonio Pizzi (2017–2019)
- Youssef Anbar (2019)
- Hervé Renard (2019–present)
- *Denotes draws includes knockout matches decided on penalty shootouts. Red border indicates that the tournament was hosted on home soil. Gold, silver, bronze backgrounds indicate 1st, 2nd and 3rd finishes respectively. Bold text indicates best finish in tournament.
FIFA World CupEdit
|World Cup record||World Cup Qualification record|
|Hosts / year||Result||Position||GP||W||D||L||GS||GA||GP||W||D||L||GS||GA|
|1930||Not a FIFA member||No qualification|
|1934||Not a FIFA member|
|1958||Did not enter||Did not enter|
|1978||Did not qualify||4||1||0||3||3||7|
|1994||Round of 16||12th||4||2||0||2||5||6||11||6||5||0||28||7|
|2010||Did not qualify||15||8||4||3||25||15|
|2022||To be determined||3||1||2||0||5||2|
|Total||Round of 16||5/23||16||3||2||11||11||39||120||69||29||22||237||95|
AFC Asian CupEdit
|Asian Cup record||Asian Cup Qualification record|
|1956||Not a AFC member||Not a AFC member|
|1988||Champions||1st||6||3||3||0||5||1||Automatic qualification as champions|
|1992||Runners-up||2nd||5||2||2||1||8||3||Automatic qualification as champions|
|2000||Runners-up||2nd||6||3||1||2||11||8||Automatic qualification as champions|
|2011||Group stage||15th||3||0||0||3||1||8||Automatic qualification as Runners-up|
|2019||Round of 16||12th||4||2||0||2||6||3||8||6||2||0||28||4|
FIFA Confederations CupEdit
|FIFA Confederations Cup record|
|2001||Did not qualify|
Arabian Gulf Cup recordEdit
FIFA Arab CupEdit
Pan Arab GamesEdit
|Pan Arab Games record|
|1953||Did not enter|
|1965||Did not enter|
|1997||Did not enter|
West Asian Football Federation Championship recordEdit
|WAFF Championship record|
|2000||Did not participate|
The following table shows Saudi Arabia's all-time international record, correct as of 18 November 2020.
- Gold Medalists: 2005
- "FIFA Century Club" (PDF). Fifa.com. Retrieved 10 September 2016.
- "Majed Abdullah". RSSSF.
- "The FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking". FIFA. 27 May 2021. Retrieved 27 May 2021.
- Elo rankings change compared to one year ago. "World Football Elo Ratings". eloratings.net. 29 July 2021. Retrieved 29 July 2021.
- "1953.. أول بعثة رياضية إلى الخارج".
- "Saudi Arabia - History".
- "Saudi Arabia reaches World Cup finals with dramatic win over Japan". Arab News. 6 September 2017. Retrieved 8 November 2017.
- Fletcher, Paul (14 June 2018). "World Cup 2018: Russia thrash Saudi Arabia 5-0 in tournament". BBC Sport. Moscow: BBC. Retrieved 21 June 2018.
- Bond, George (20 June 2018). "Are Saudi Arabia the worst team ever at a World Cup?". Talksport. Retrieved 21 June 2018.
- Molinaro, John (9 June 2018). "History of the World Cup: 1934 – Italy wins for Il Duce". Sportsnet. Rogers Media. Retrieved 21 June 2018.
- "World Cup: Uruguay defeat Saudi Arabia 1-0, qualify for knockout stages". Euronews. 20 June 2018. Retrieved 21 June 2018.
- "Germany savage Saudis". BBC Sport. 1 June 2002. Retrieved 2 October 2020.
- "Highlights: Saudi Arabia beat Egypt as both nations eliminated". itv.com. ITV plc. 25 June 2018. Retrieved 27 June 2018.
- Chowdhury, Saj (25 June 2018). "Mohamed Salah scored his second goal of the World Cup but Egypt ended their campaign pointless with defeat by Saudi Arabia at Volgograd Arena". BBC Sport. BBC. Retrieved 27 June 2018.
- "Some booed Saudi-Palestinian soccer match in West Bank even before it started". The Washington Post.
- "2022 FIFA World Cup Qatar™ Qualifiers - Asia - Matches - Palestine - Saudi Arabia - FIFA.com". www.fifa.com. Retrieved 20 October 2019.
- UNDER THE RADAR BUT BRIMMING WITH OPTIMISM
- Reuters[dead link]
- "رينارد يعلن قائمة الأخضر لمباريات تصفيات كأس العالم 2022".
- Naeim Albakr. "Saudi Arabia – Record International Players". RSSSF. Retrieved 14 September 2013.
- "Overview of coaches". ksa-team.com. Retrieved 10 January 2015.
- "Saudi Arabia National Team Coaches". rsssf.com. Retrieved 10 January 2015.
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