The one-month countdown to the FIFA Arab Cup

  • The FIFA Arab Cup™ gets under way in a month’s time

  • The stadiums set to stage Qatar 2022 will be in use

  • We deliver 31 stats on the forthcoming tournament

The tension is rising in Qatar. In exactly one month’s time, 16 teams will convene in the emirate for the 2021 FIFA Arab Cup™. The tournament provides both players and fans with an early opportunity to discover the amazing stadiums that will host matches at the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ and to get a taste of the atmosphere they create. With 31 days to go till the big kick-off, starts the countdown.

31 The number of matches Algeria have gone without defeat, an impressive sequence stretching back to October 2018.

30 The number of goals Hamza Al Dardour has scored for Jordan. In netting his first in nearly two years in a friendly against Uzbekistan on 12 October, the veteran Al-Nashama striker pulled level with Hassan Abdel Fattah as their joint-top all-time scorer. 29 The age of Egypt star Mohamed Salah, who is currently in the best form of his career. The Pharaohs and Liverpool attackrer is the Premier League’s top scorer so far this season, with ten goals in nine games.

28 The average age of the Bahrain side in their most recent Qatar 2022 qualifying matches, in June 2021. Suffice to say that they are an experienced unit. 27 The FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking postion of the highest-placed team in the competition: Tunisia. 26 The number of months since Oman’s Ahmed Mubarak last scored for his country, against Yemen on 28 August 2019. The scorer of 23 goals in 180 appearances, the 36-year-old Omani legend has yet to announce his retirement from international football and could yet make the squad for Qatar.

25 The number of wins that Saudi Arabia coach Herve Renard recorded in his time in charge of Morocco, between 2016 and 2019, the most successful spell of his career to date. As fate would have it, Renard will come up against the Atlas Lions in Group C. 24 The number of matches that will be played in the group phase of the Arab Cup, between 30 November and 7 December. At the end of it, eight teams will advance to the quarter-finals. 23 The number of teams taking part in the competition. Seven sides went out in the preliminary phase: Comoros, Djibouti, Kuwait, Libya, Somalia, South Sudan, and Yemen.

22 The number of home-based players in the 23-man squad Bahrain announced for its most recent Qatar 2022 qualifying matches. Only Sayed Dhiya Saeed plays outside the country, in Kuwait. 21 The number of goals Lebanon star and captain Hassan Maatouk has scored in his 91 appearances for his country. The most-capped player and leading goalscorer in the history of the Cedars, Maatouk will be their main man up front at this year’s Arab Cup.

20 The number of coaches who have preceded Tunisia’s Makram Daboub in the Palestine job. A relatively low number, it is explained by the fact that the Palestinian national team only achieved international recognition in 1998. 19 The number of days that the FIFA Arab Cup will run for, from 30 November to 18 December 2021. 18 The number of matches that Qatar will have played in 2021 in the lead-up to the Arab Cup. The hosts could take that number to 24 if they reach the final of the competition.

17 The number of matches Branko Ivankovic has been in charge for with Oman since his appointment in January 2020. His record reads 12 wins, two draws and three defeats. 16 The number of teams taking part at the 2021 Arab Cup. They have been drawn into four groups of four.

15 The number of goals scored in the preliminary round. The highest-scoring match was Palestine’s 5-1 defeat of Comoros. 14 The number of clubs and national teams that Vahid Halilhodzic had coached before taking on the Morocco job in 2019, since when the Atlas Lions have lost just one game: a 3-2 defeat to Gabon in October 2019.

13 The number of goals United Arab Emirates striker Ali Mabkhout has scored in the Asian qualifying competition for Qatar 2022, more than any other player. 12 The number of points Saudi Arabia have collected out of a possible 12 in the third round of the Asian qualifiers for Qatar 2022. The Green Falcons are the only side with a 100-per-cent record at this stage of the competition.

11 The number of European coaches taking part in this year’s Arab Cup: Felix Sanchez (from Spain/coaches Qatar), Gerard Buscher (France/Mauritania), Hubert Velud (France/Sudan), Carlos Queiroz (Portugal/Egypt), Herve Renard (France/Saudi Arabia), Dick Advocaat (Netherlands/Iraq), Bert van Marwijk (Netherlands/UAE), Helio Sousa (Portugal, Bahrain), Vahid Halilhodzic (Bosnia and Herzegovina/Morocco), Ivan Hasek (Slovakia/Lebanon) and Branko Ivankovic (Croatia/Oman).

DOHA, QATAR - JUNE 20: Branko Ivankovic, Head Coach of Oman during the 2021 FIFA Arab Cup Qatar Qualifiers match between Oman and Somalia at Jassim Bin Hamad Stadium on June 20, 2021 in Doha, Qatar. (Photo by Mohamed Farag - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)

10 The number of years that Qatar coach Felix Sanchez spent at La Masia, Barcelona’s fabled youth academy. 9 The margin of defeat in Bahrain’s heaviest ever loss: a 10-1 reverse that came on 5 April 1966 at the hands of Iraq, one of the Reds’ upcoming rivals in Group A.

8 The number of years that Algeria coach Djamel Belmadi has spent coaching in Qatar – the only country in which he had worked before taking on the Fennec Foxes job. In charge at club side Lekhwiya from 2010 to 2012, Belmadi was Qatari national team coach in between 2014 and 2015 and then had a three-year stint with Al-Duhail before taking up his current post. He should feel right at home when the Arab Cup gets under way. 7 The number of matches since Qatar’s last win: a 3-2 defeat of El Salvador in the quarter-finals of the Concacaf Gold Cup 2021.

6 The number of stadiums that will host matches at the Arab Cup, all of which are also venues at next year’s World Cup. You will find information on them here. 5 The number of matches that Tunisia have gone without conceding a goal. 4 The number of Algerian clubs that Sudan’s French boss, Hubert Velud, has coached. He should come across some familiar faces when his side take on the Fennec Foxes in Group D. 3 The number of times that Tunisia and Mauritania, who have been drawn together in Group B, have met in the last two years. The Eagles of Carthage won two of those games, with the other ending in a draw.

2 The number of confederations represented in the competition: the AFC and the CAF. 1 The number of months before the start of the first FIFA-branded Arab Cup, held in Qatar, which will host the World Cup in a year’s time.