Qualification history
The Sultanate of Oman did not go through the FIFA World Cup™ qualifying process until Italy 1990, at the culmination of which they found themselves bottom of their section. It would subsequently take the Middle East side over ten years to finally obtain a result against one of the traditional Asian powerhouses, and another 13 to actually flirt with qualification. During a remarkable Brazil 2014 campaign, the rapidly improving Omanis finished fourth in Group B in the final round, just four points behind Australia.

The team
Oman have built their team around the golden generation that starred at the 1995 FIFA U-17 World Cup and at three AFC Asian Cups, and that lifted the Gulf Cup in 2009. As some of their key performers, such as long-serving goalkeeper Ali Al-Habsi, are now approaching veteran status, some new blood has recently been brought in to freshen up the squad.

The coach
After taking charge of Cameroon at South Africa 2010, French coach Paul Le Guen put pen to paper with the Omani FA in June 2011. The former Paris Saint-Germain defender has enjoyed relative success since coming on board, guiding his charges to the final round of Asian qualifying and to the 2015 Asian Cup in Australia.

The stat
12 – The number of goals scored by Oman against Laos in a qualifying match for Korea/Japan 2002. The 12-0 result remains the Gulf state’s largest victory ever.

The former stars
Ghulam Khamis, Yusuf Obaid, Hani Al-Dhabit, Amir Salim, Fawzi Bashir