A middle-of-the-road Asian side, Yemen have never made much of an impact on FIFA World Cup™ qualifying in the region, though they have proved consistent enough to make some of the bigger teams worry. Chances of the Yemenis making their way even into the final group stage of qualifying are never great, but they have gradually improved their international experience and organisation to the extent that an impressive run in qualifying seems only a matter of time.
It remains a fact that, however, Yemen have not been able to compete with the continent's best as they finished bottom of the Gulf Cup in January, 2004 Following a 3-0 home defeat to Thailand in the second round of qualifying for Germany 2006, the Gulf side had their FIFA World Cup qualifying campaign ended with a last-place finish in Group 5 with only five points from six matches.
Their lack of credentials at the continental stage was highlighted in the qualifying campaign for the 2007 AFC Asian Cup, when Yemen found themselves struggling again alongside the likes of Japan and Saudi Arabia. They did beat India home and away, but losses at the hands of the aforementioned big boys cost them a place in the competition finals.
Despite the disappointment, it was the lessons learned that saw the national football governing body undertake the rebuilding process with a long-term plan. As a result, the plan began with a project aimed to improve their infrastructure, including building a national technical centre with medical and training facilities and a youth academy.
Under Egyptian coach Mohsin Salah, Yemen were hoping to shake off their continental troubles with a good run in qualifying for South Africa 2010. But after getting past the Maldives in the first round, they lost out to Thailand to see their hopes shattered yet again.