FIFA World Cup™ finals history
Saudi Arabia made their World Cup debut at USA 1994, where they were knocked out by Sweden in the Round of 16. The team subsequently qualified for France 1998, but failed to replicate their heroics from the previous tournament, claiming just one solitary point in the group stage. At Korea/Japan 2002, the Green Falcons lost all three of their matches in a tricky group that featured Germany, Cameroon and the Republic of Ireland, while at Germany 2006 – their fourth qualification in a row – they drew 2-2 with Tunisia, prior to suffering reverses at the hands of Ukraine and Spain.
The Saudi Arabians have stumbled in the last two World Cup qualifying campaigns and were therefore absent from South Africa 2010 and Brazil 2014. Their performances at the AFC Asian Cup have mirrored this decline; after scaling the heights of the final in 2007, they then failed to advance past the group phase at the next two continental competitions (in 2011 and 2015). Following the international retirements of Yasser Al-Qahtani and Saud Kariri, Falcons fans are now anxious for a new generation of gifted Saudi footballers to emerge.
Since 2011, no fewer than five coaches have taken the helm of the Saudi national team, including Frank Rijkaard and Juan Lopez Caro. After their loss in the 2014 Gulf Cup of Nations final, the latter individual was replaced by Romanian tactician Cosmin Olaroiu, who oversaw their dispiriting 2015 Asian Cup campaign. Shortly afterwards, Saudi Arabian Faisal Al Baden took up the reins. In August 2015, the Saudi Football Federation announced they have assigned Dutch coach Bert van Marwijk to lead the Saudis for one year. The 63-year-old coach led Netherlands to the final of the 2010 FIFA World Cup before losing to Spain. Van Marwijk also coached Feyenoord in the Netherlands and German Bundesliga clubs Borussia Dortmund and Hamburg.
13 – The number of matches Saudi Arabia have played on the World Cup stage, winning two, drawing two and losing nine.
The former stars
Fuad Anwar, Fahad Al-Harifi, Sami Al-Jaber, Saeed Al-Owairan, Saleh Nueimah, Majed Abdullah, Mohammed Al-Deayea, Mohaisen Al-Jaman, Nawaf Al-Temyat, Youssef Al-Thuniyan, Yasser Al-Qahtani, Saud Kariri