Soccer (football)

10 unknown facts about football in Qatar

As the start of the world’s greatest football tournament is right behind the corner, STATSCORE takes a closer look at Qatar and its relations with football.

The choice of Qatar as the host of the most important football tournament has clearly been controversial. A lot has been said about the country’s political attitudes, its treatment of migrant workers, or the infrastructure. Finally, there’s the disruption of football schedules around the world, which will include the top European leagues due to the winter tournament…

Still, when the first match kicks off, the eyes of the world will be turned to Qatar. And let’s be honest, this type of competition is not just for the die-hard football fans! Quite the contrary, it’s a significant cultural, social, and political event that will draw unprecedented attention from people on all continents.

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This event simply cannot be ignored, and today we’re taking a closer look at the party’s host, Qatar!

TOP 10 facts about football in Qatar

  1. Football first arrived in Qatar in 1940, when the first oil reserves in Dukhan, in the western part of the country, were discovered. The first game was played in 1948 between expatriate oil workers.
  2. Qatar played its first official international game on 27 March 1970 against Bahrain, losing the match 1-2. The Qatar Football Association was created in 1960 and joined FIFA in 1970.
  3. The biggest win for Qatar took place on 3 September 2015, when they beat Bhutan 15-0 in Doha. The biggest defeat happened in 1973 when they lost 0-9 against Kuwait.
  4. Qatar is currently (October 2022) ranked 48th in the FIFA world ranking. The highest position they reached was the 42nd place in 2021.
  5. Historically, Bahrain has been seen as the main rival of Qatar, due to historical issues between the two states. Other major rivalries include the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia.
  6. The greatest successes of the Qatar national team include winning the AFC Asian Cup in 2019, Arabian Gulf Cup in 1992, 2004, and 2014, WAFF Championship in 2014, and the Football tournament at the Asian Games in 2006.
  7. Qatar took part in the 2019 Copa America, having been the second team from outside the Americas to be invited. The Asian team didn’t manage to advance from the group, as they lost matches against Colombia and Argentina, and drew 2-2 with Paraguay.
  8. Al-Sadd is the most successful Qatari club having won AFC Champions League twice (1988/89 and 2011) and the country’s league 16 times. The team also won 18 Emir Cups, and many other trophies.
  9. Qatar is the smallest nation by area that has ever been selected as the host of the ultimate football tournament. Its total area is just 11,581 sq km. The next smallest was Switzerland, which organized the 1954 competition.
  10. The 2022 tournament will be the first ever held in the Arab world. And it will be the second time that the cup is held entirely in Asia after the 2002 tournament in South Korea and Japan. The 2018 tournament was held across European and Asian parts of Russia.

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