The Green Falcons again is in form after their massive win(5-0) against Palestine on 30th March. This win took their game ahead in the 2nd Round of qualifying matches for the 2022 FIFA World Cup(to be held in Qatar) and 2023 AFC Asian Cup(to be held in Kuala Lumpur). Now, three more matches are in line, which will get concluded by 15th June. If they got past round 2 and reached round 3, they will be automatically qualified for the AFC Asian Cup. If everything goes well in upcoming matches, they’ll have a chance to qualify for FIFA World Cup. With a track record of preparing for FIFA in 1994,1998,2002,2006, and 2018, it won’t be a tough row to hoe for them this time too.
The legacy of Saudi Arabia’s national football team
Let’s look at the legacy of one of Asia’s most successful national football teams. Saudi Arabia’s national football team is no longer out of sight for the world, especially after winning three Asian Cups in 1984,88 and 96. The team also became the first AFC nation that had won the first three consecutive seasons of the FIFA Confederations Cup in 1992,95, and 97; the last Confederation Cup took place in 2017. FIFA has replaced its slot with other FIFA events. Adding the achievements, as of February 2021, Saudi Arabia placed 67th on the FIFA World best teams ranking.
Before 1951, many clubs like Al-Wehda, Al-Ahli, Al-Ittihad, Al-Hilal, etc., to play friendly games and in-house league matches. Still, in June 1951, the Prince of Saudi organized a series of three close games against the Egyptian Ministry of Health, which consist of players from the clubs mentioned above. By then, the Saudi XI team became a national team, and the idea to further improvise the team came into action. After rigorous training of a few selected ones from these clubs, an official National Football team was finally formed in 1953. After that, the team went on to various cordial and beneficial games abroad. From then on, it is still on.
Games for the spirit?
Many of those games were just for the spirit of the sport. Still, many games have paved the way for alliance and meaningful relations between two countries like Qatar, Indonesia, and China. This happened at the time when many games further deteriorated the already plighted relations. For instance, who can forget the famous Iran–Saudi Arabia football rivalry, which arose out of religious sectarianism, or the Iraq–Saudi Arabia football rivalry, which occurred due to the invasion of Iraq on Saudi Arabia during the Gulf War. Whatever happened with the sport, football undoubtedly became the nation’s beloved sport, with many people still rubbing and breathing this beautiful game into them.
Greatest players in history
Football itself produced the best players in the country. The great players of their times like Saeed Al-Owairan and Sami Al-Jaber helped the team beat both Belgium and Morocco before falling to Sweden in the Round of 16 in the World Cup of 1994, the captain-ship of the great Majed Abdullah(who was Messi of his time). This further added to the list of achievements. They became the second Arab nation to reach the Round of 16 in a World Cup. Earlier, it was only attained by Morocco, which was the best Arab team of its time.
A brand new breed of football talent
The new talents like Salem Al-Dawsari and Fahad Al-Muwallad, and dozens more under the mentorship of famous coach Hervé Renard, are also carrying the legacy forward. These days, the nation keeps an eye on them as they will be the future of the Saudi Arabia National Football Team. They are going to influence and inspire upcoming youths of the country and world.
All they have to do is to keep the thrill on for this emotion named football.