Qatar’s first bid to reach the FIFA World Cup™ came in 1978, when they finished last in a group containing Bahrain and Kuwait. The national team have participated in the qualifying stages of every FIFA World Cup since then, but have yet to grace the finals. Their best performance was in reaching the fourth and final round of the Asian qualifiers for the 1990 FIFA World Cup, when they finished third in their group behind Korea Republic and United Arab Emirates.
The current crop
The introduction of professional football to the Qatar leagues has improved both the standard of play within the country and the performances of the national side, who won the 2004 edition of the Gulf Cup with a squad led by former AFC Player of the Year Khalfan Ibrahim. Lack of consistency remains a key issue with Qatar going down to Vietnam 2-1 in the return leg in Asia’s second qualifying round for Brazil 2014, although they progressed courtesy of their 3-0 home win. Brazilian coach Sebastiao Lazaroni was dismissed after the team's group stage exit from the Arab Games in December 2011.
The key players
Ibrahim is not the only young Qatari to have enjoyed success in recent years. Uruguay-born striker Sebastian Soria has been a lynchpin of the team’s attack, while playmaker Hussein Yasser, currently with Egyptian powerhouse Zamalek, has experience at the highest levels of European and African football. Up-and-coming youngsters include strikers Hassan Al Haydous, Khaled Muftah and Yousef Ahmad, and defender Ibrahim Majed.
Coach: Fahad Thani
Best performance in a FIFA competition: FIFA U-20 World Cup Australia 1981 (Runners-up)
Former stars: Ibrahim Khalfan, Mansoor Muftah, Mubarak Mustapha