Big support awaits Arab teams in first World Cup hosted by an Arab country


The four Arab football teams participating in FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 will have the opportunity to rewrite the history of Arab participation in the tournament when they compete in the first World Cup held in the Arab world.Doha won't just be giving a home team advantage to the Qatar national team, but also to the national teams of Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, and Morocco.

Those three teams will feel they have a home-team advantage thanks to the substantial support they will get in the tournament from Arab fans.The hope is that that support, along with each team's performance, can propel at least one of them to the knockout stages.Only Morocco (in 1986), Saudi Arabia (in 1994), and Algeria (in 2014) have done so.Official reports issued by FIFA on tickets sales reflect fan anticipation of seeing Arab teams feature in the World Cup.FIFA chief operating officer Colin Smith said during a press conference held in Doha last week that Qatar tops the list of the countries in terms of ticket sales.Saudi Arabia is in third place.FIFA said it sold more than 2.89mn tickets, as of the date of the press conference.The Qatar national football team is counting on the fans when they make their first appearance in the history of the competition, with the hope that the team can go beyond the group stage and perform superbly throughout.

Qatar's matches are likely to break record fan attendance set in the FIFA Arab Cup Qatar 2021.The Qatar national football team is fully prepared to meet all the expectations after having set in place a good programme to prepare for the competition.They took part in the 2019 Copa America, 2021 CONCACAF Gold Cup, as well as having participated in 2022 FIFA World Cup qualification matches in Europe.The Qatar team also played several friendlies that are likely to help players gain the necessary experience ahead of their opening match against Ecuador on November 20 as part of Group A that also includes the Netherlands and Senegal.For their part, the Saudi Arabia national football team will hope for an exceptional showing at the competition played in Qatar.They are likely to see strong support thanks to the ease of travel for neighbouring Saudi fans.Saudi Arabia’s Group C includes Argentina, Mexico and Poland.The Saudi Arabia national football team will be depending on support from fans to go further than they did in the 1994 World Cup in the US, when they reached the last 16 stage.Their three group-stage matches are all sold-out.Saudi Arabia will first play Argentina on November 22 at Lusail Stadium, Poland on November 26 at Education City Stadium, and against Mexico on November 30 at Lusail Stadium.

It is also anticipated that the Tunisia and Morocco football teams will receive a big support during the tournament, whether from the fans who will come from the two countries, or from the communities residing in Qatar and neighbouring countries.The Morocco national football team would be looking for a second qualification to the second round since 1986.In their Group F are teams from Belgium, Croatia and Canada.The Tunisia national football team would also be aiming high. In Tunisia’s Groupd D are France, Australia and Denmark.The level of Arab participation in Qatar 2022 equals the record registered by the four representatives in 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, namely Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia.In terms of Arab presence in the tournament, Saudi Arabia, Morocco and Tunisia have qualified six times.Arab participation in a World Cup has been limited: one team in 1934 (Egypt), 1970 (Morocco), 1978 (Tunisia), 2010 (Algeria) and 2014 (Algeria), two teams in 1982 (Kuwait and Algeria) and 2006 (Saudi Arabia and Tunisia), three teams in 1986 (Morocco, Algeria and Iraq), 1998 (Morocco, Saudi Arabia and Tunisia), and four teams in 2018 (Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia).The Tunisia team was the first Arab team to win a World Cup match during the FIFA World Cup Argentina 1978 against Mexico with a score of (1-3).Algeria and Saudi Arabia are the teams with the most trophies (three), Saudi Arabia has lost the most (11), followed by Morocco and Tunisia (nine).

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