The history of Arab nations at the World Cup 

Alaa Moustafa
2 Min Read

The Egyptian national team was drawn to play against Saudi Arabia, Russia (the host), and Uruguay in Group A of the 2018 FIFA World Cup. Saudi Arabia will play the opening match against Russia. Morocco will accompany Spain, Portugal, and Iran in Group B, while Group G includes Tunisia, England, Belgium, and Panama.

Arab teams have a long history in the World Cup. Eight Arab nations managed to qualify for World Cup finals, including Egypt, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Kuwait, and Iraq.

Egypt was the first Arab nation to qualify to World Cup finals when it played in the 1934 World Cup in Italy.

Tunisia was the first Arab African country to win a game in the World Cup, when their team beat Mexico 3-1 at the 1978 World Cup in Argentina. Algeria was the first Arab African national team to win two matches in World Cup finals, beating Germany 2-1, and Chile 3-2, in the 1982 World Cup in Spain that also witnessed the participation of the first Arab Asian country, Kuwait.

Morocco was the first Arab African nation to qualify for the World Cup round of 16, after topping its group that included England, Poland, and Portugal in the 1986 World Cup in Mexico. Algeria was the first Arab African team to qualify for the World Cup twice in a row.

Saudi Arabia was the first Arab Asian team to qualify to the World Cup round of 16 after they came second in their group that included the Netherlands, Belgium, and Morocco in the 1994 World Cup in the USA.

Saudi Arabia was the first Arab team to reach the World Cup four times in a row, after qualifying in 1994, 1998, 2002, and 2006, held in USA, France, South Korea and Japan, and Germany, respectively.

Saudi player Sami Al-Jaber was the first Arab player to play in four successive World Cup tournaments.

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