Arab participation in the World Cup. They are followed by the hurdle of the round of 16 and wider prospects in Qatar
The presence of Arab countries at World Cup matches dates back to 1934, when Egypt participated in the World Cup, and in the history of the World Cup, only three Arab national teams, Algeria, Saudi Arabia and Morocco, managed to pass the group stage of this competition.
Four Arab countries participated in this year’s World Cup in Qatar, in the largest participation of Arab countries in the history of the World Cup, just as it happened in 2018 in Russia, while Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Morocco and Tunisia participated this year. Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Tunisia and Morocco attended the 2018 games.
Despite the funding and the presence of talent, the question remains why only 3 Arab countries have historically made it past the group stage, always crashing out of the competition at the Round of 16, and what about the performance and fortunes of the Arab countries this year?
Mohammed Harb, a sports analyst who follows the World Cup matches from Qatar, said in an interview with Al-Hurr that “the performance of the Saudi national team is the best among the participating Arab teams this year, despite the loss of the green team to Poland.”
And Muhammad considered that “the Saudi coach is the best among all the coaches of the Arab national teams”, pointing out that “the Saudi national team made excellent use of the preparation period”.
And he believed “the Greens’ game against Mexico will be decisive for a place in the second round”, suggesting that “Saudi Arabia could go further in this World Cup”.
For his part, the sports journalist, who is in Qatar to cover the World Cup matches, Abdel Nasser Harb, said: “Saudi Arabia made a good surprise by defeating Argentina, but if we look at the march of the green national team in the World Cup Qualifiers and friendlies that played before the World Cup and the quality of the players present in the national team, most of whom are from the Al-Hilal club, which is one of the strongest clubs in Asia, shows that the victory over Argentina is not a big surprise.
And Abdel Nasser continues his speech to the website “Al-Hurra” saying that “if it were not for the injuries that occurred in their ranks, the chances of the green team would have been higher to reach advanced roles in the World Cup, and now they have the possibility to qualify for the second round.”
And after their win against Argentina, Saudi Arabia played well against Poland on Saturday but missed a penalty to lose 2-0 at the Education City Stadium in Group C.
The Saudi Arabian national team made a big surprise by defeating Argentina 2-1, a candidate for the world championship title, in the first matches of the two teams of Group C of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
Saudi Arabia plays the Mexican national team on November 30 at the Lusail Stadium, and if Saudi Arabia beats Mexico, they will qualify immediately.
In the event that Saudi Arabia draws with Mexico and Argentina loses to Poland, Saudi Arabia also qualifies.
But if Argentina beat Poland and Saudi Arabia draw with Mexico, then Argentina qualify with 6 points, Poland with 4 points, Saudi Arabia with 4 points and Mexico with two points, and in this case the goal difference between Poland and Saudi Arabia is counted .
As for the last hypothesis, if Saudi Arabia loses to Mexico, they have no hope of qualifying, because Mexico then gets 4 points.
Abdel Nasser points out that “as for the Moroccan national team, it is the most prepared Arab national team among the four national teams that will participate in the World Cup.”
He attributes this to the fact that “a large percentage of players in their ranks participated in foreign professional tournaments, so they played in the championships of France, Germany and England, which are major European championships, and this gives them the experience of how to deal with big teams, in front of European players .”
Abdel Nasser said: “The high fighting spirit enjoyed by the Moroccan national team helps them a lot”, noting that “this spirit exists in most African teams”.
He believed that “Moroccan’s performance and line-up, its diversification in play, pairings and passing, and the enthusiasm of its fans, are all indications that it is the most Arab team ready to qualify for the quarter-finals.”
On the other hand, Mohamed believes that “the Moroccan national team can reach the second round”, but excludes the hypothesis that they will achieve more success than that.
He pointed out that this is due to the fact that “their coach has changed, and we have not seen them give more hope than that, especially since they are not the best tactically, and they helped them win twice as much as the Belgian team in the last game.”
Substitute Abdelhamid Sabiri scored a free-kick that tricked goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois to lead Morocco to a deserved 2-0 win over Belgium on Sunday and boost their chances of qualifying for the last 16 of the World Cup for the first time. since 1986
Sabiri scored from a free kick in the 73rd minute, and Zakaria Abu added to the second goal in stoppage time with a beautiful shot from close range after Hakim Ziyech’s individual skill, reports Reuters.
Against the world’s second-ranked player, Morocco showed more offensive audacity and played defensively firmly and closed the door on the opponent, taking advantage of the enthusiastic cheering at the Al-Thumama Stadium in Doha, in front of around 44,000 spectators.
Mohamed believes that “the game of the Tunisian national team is very normal, and the result it has achieved so far does not reflect high hopes”.
As for Abdel Nasser, he explained: “The Tunisian national team has shown in all its participation in the World Cup that he is a fighter, although the results are not always in their favor.”
He added, “Tunisia does not lose easily in the World Cup, especially since they have a good team of players, and it is one of the most prominent in African countries.”
Despite this, Abdel Nasser dismissed the possibility that the Tunisian national team could compete with other teams. This may be due to the occasional change of coach.
Tunisia lost 1-0 to Australia, which won its first World Cup victory since 2010 at the Jug Stadium, and on Saturday in the final, it complicated the task of advancing to the round of 16 for the first time in its history.
After the epic draw with Denmark in Group D, Tunisia collected one point from two matches, but it seemed that he was getting tired against the physically strong Australia, and coach Jalal Al-Qadri’s offensive solutions were also missing.
Mohammed said that the Qatar national team was “disappointing, especially since the preparation period they had was good and all the equipment was at their disposal, so the performance of the team was not up to the level desired”.
For his part, Abdel Nasser explained that “the Qatari national team has been participating in foreign camps and participating in European championships for about 4 to 5 years. It participated in the European qualifiers for the World Cup, participated in the Copa America, etc.”
And he continued: “The national team stopped the league a few months ago to give the players a chance to train properly, at the request of coach Felix Sanchez, and despite all that, he did not play a good game. Add to those factors the funding that the national team received.”
He said: “Planning was absent from the Qatari team and the fear factor further complicated matters, as it was the first time the national team had participated in such an event in front of such a large crowd.”
Qatar became the first team to bow out of the 2022 FIFA World Cup on Friday after Group A rivals Netherlands and Ecuador drew 1-1.
Qatar did not pick up any points after losing their first game 2-0 to Ecuador and then losing 3-1 to Senegal on Friday.
Qatar cannot qualify, regardless of what happens in their final game against the Netherlands on Tuesday.
Muhammad believes that “the preparation period was different between the Arab teams, and the preparation affects the results”.
He added: “Despite the funding available to all Arab teams, it is not the determining factor for success. There are talents that need to be well established from the start.”
In this context, Abdel Nasser says: “Arab teams always think about financing, but the most important thing is to invest that money in the right way,” and cited the example of the Qatari team that “made big investments, but the planning was not right.”
Abdel Nasser pointed out that “foreign players from younger age groups get the necessary training, but in Arab countries they are not interested in training this age”.