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Big Support Awaits Arab teams in First World Cup Hosted By An Arab Country.
- Updated: October 22, 2022
The four Arab football teams participating in FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 will have an 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 give a home team advantage to the Qatari national team only, but also to 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 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.
FIFA Chief Operating Officer Colin Smith said during a press conference held in Doha last week that the State of Qatar topped the list of the top-10 countries in terms of ticket sales. Saudi Arabia came in third place. FIFA said it sold more than 2.89 million tickets.
Qatar national football team is counting on the fans when they make their first appearance in the history of the competition. Qatar’s matches are likely to break record fan attendance set in the FIFA Arab Cup Qatar 2021.
Qatar is fully prepared to meet all the expectations after they set in place a good programme to prepare for the competition. They took part in the 2019 Copa America, and 2021 CONCACAF Gold Cup, as well as the World Cup qualification in Europe. The team also played several friendlies that are likely to help players gain the necessary experience ahead of their opening match against Ecuador on Nov. 20 as part of Group A which also includes the Netherlands and Senegal.
Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia 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. The team will hope to pose a threat to their three competitors in group C, Argentina, Mexico and Poland. Saudi Arabia will depend on support from the fans to go further than they did in the 1994 World Cup in the US when they reached the last 16.
Their three group-stage matches are all sold-out. Saudi Arabia will first play Argentina on Nov. 22 at Lusail Stadium, then Poland on Nov. 26 at Education City Stadium, and then against Mexico on Nov. 30 At Lusail Stadium.
It is also anticipated that the Tunisian and Moroccan teams will receive big support during the tournament, whether from the fans who will come from the two countries, or from the communities residing in Qatar and the neighbouring countries.
The experience of FIFA Arab Cup Qatar 2021 confirms that the two teams will receive considerable crowd support that pushes them to achieve their aspirations, since Morocco has been looking for a second qualification to the second round since 1986, despite being the top-ranked team of group F in which Belgium, Croatia and Canada are included. Tunisia could achieve the same if they do well in group D which includes France, Australia and Denmark.
Tunisia 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), while Algeria and Saudi Arabia are the teams with the most wins (3), Saudi Arabia lost the most (11) followed by Morocco and Tunisia (9).
Saudi Arabia and Morocco have played the most number of World Cup matches (16) among Arab teams.
Morocco has scored the most number of goals (14), compared to 13 of Algeria and Tunisia.