Oman may have failed to make a real impact on the continental stage so far, but few would deny that the Gulf side have the talent to play the role of giantkillers.
Since the ground-breaking qualification for their first-ever AFC Asian Cup finals in 2004, with a series of impressive qualifying performances including a 3-1 stunner against Korea Republic, Oman have made a giant step forward which has put them among the continent's emerging powers.
They succeeded in progressing to their second consecutive Asian Cup finals in 2007 where they managed two draws against group giants Australia and Iraq. However their 2-0 loss at the hands of co-hosts Thailand in the second match proved costly as they failed to qualify for the knock-out stage.
Lack of international experience and exposure remains a key problem for the team, who have been known to concede crucial goals on big occasions. In the opening game against Japan in the Asian Zone's second qualifying round for Germany 2006, they held the three-time Asian champions to a goalless draw in 90 minutes but all their efforts went to waste as they fell to a Tatsuhiko Kubo goal deep in injury time.
In the must-win return leg, they kept the visiting Japanese at bay for the first half but having spurned a couple of good chances in front of goal after the restart, they succumbed again to a 1-0 defeat with Takayuki Suzuki scoring the only goal.
Of the current team at least 12 are playing in the Qatari league, including the midfield dynamo Fawzi Bashir and the impressive Ismail Al Ajmi, who netted 12 goals with Al Shamal this season. The team's most influential figure is Ali Al Habsi, the best goalkeeper in the last two Gulf Cups who became the first man from the country to play in Europe and secured a move to English Premier League side Bolton Wanderers from Norwegian club Lyn Oslo in July of 2005.
A poor start to the 2010 World Cup South Africa™ qualifying campaign, including a 3-0 loss to Japan, resulted in Uruguayan coach Ribas being sacked in favour of local coach Hamad Al Azani. However, the managerial switch did little to bring their campaign back on track, as Oman were eliminated following their draw against Bahrain in the penultimate match.