Kuwait

The past
Kuwait’s appearance at the FIFA Futsal World Cup Thailand 2012 will only be the second time the country has taken part in the finals of a FIFA competition, with the last occasion being the 1982 FIFA World Cup™ in Spain. In regional terms, Kuwait have featured in every AFC Futsal Championship aside from the first two editions. The nation’s three initial tilts at the AFC title were more than promising, with two quarter-final finishes followed by fourth place at Iran 2003, but in recent years the Kuwaitis' standards have slipped somewhat. Indeed, at the four AFC showpieces prior to UAE 2012 the team never once made it past the first round.

The present
Kuwait qualified for the AFC Futsal Championship UAE 2012 after coming runners-up to Qatar in the tournament’s West Asia qualifying event, which they hosted last December. Despite being drawn in a challenging Group D alongside Uzbekistan, China PR and Indonesia, the Kuwaitis set their stall out from the first game in the UAE, drawing against a strong Uzbek outfit before beating Indonesia and China to finish top of the table. In their quarter-final encounter against Australia, the team made it to the end of normal time level at 2-2 before going down to an extra-time winner from the Futsalroos. This performance was enough to book them the final available qualifying berth for Thailand 2012, handed to the best losing quarter-finalist after FIFA Futsal World Cup hosts Thailand progressed to the semi-finals.

The future
Kuwait have enjoyed several fruitful months since the appointment of coach Luis Fonseca. And with his charges responding well to his instructions, the Spanish tactician will have high hopes they can impress in Thailand. “Reaching the World Cup was our goal, but most people thought we weren’t being realistic,” said Fonseca said after the tournament in Dubai. “We knew the players had what it takes to make Kuwait a competitive futsal side, so they deserve a lot of praise for playing to their potential.”

Facts and figures
Key players
Ahmad Alfarsi, Abdulrahman Alwadi, Shaker Almutairi, Abdulrahman Altawail

Qualifying statistics
By drawing 1-1 with Uzbekistan then recording 9-3 and 5-0 wins over Indonesia and China PR respectively, Kuwait took first place in Group D of the AFC Futsal Championship on goal difference ahead of closest challengers Uzbekistan. Come the quarter-finals, Kuwait and Australia were level at 2-2 come the end of normal time, only for the Aussies to snatch an extra-time winner and reach the last four.

The stat
7 - The number of different players who scored for Kuwait at the AFC Futsal Championship, netting a total of 17 goals between them over the course of four games. It is also the number of points won by Kuwait in Group D, as well as their overall tally of goals conceded.