The Saudi Arabia national football team becomes the fourth team of the Asian Football Confederation which is qualified for participation in the World Cup. In their qualification group the Greens take the second place and outscore the strong team of Australia. The successful results at home matches where they scored 13 points of 19 become the key to success of the Saudis.
The appearance of Saudi Arabia in the World Cup can be considered a great surprise. Saudi Arabia appeared one of the strongest teams of Asia in the late XX century — the early XXI century, but the today Arabians are no more than a good middling team. The team latest success is connected largely with the name of Bert van Marwijk, the former head coach. The Dutch expert who in 2010 took the Netherlands national football team to the World Cup final managed to build the right defensive play of Saudi Arabia and to avoid decay in the course of the qualifying tournament. After the Arabians secured qualification for the final tournament of the World Cup, the Dutch left his post and gave way to Argentinian coach Edgardo Bauza.
For the fifth time in its history the Saudi Arabia national football team plays on the main tournament of national teams. The first participation of the team in the World Cup 1994 became the most successful. In the World Cup 1994 in the USA, the Saudi Arabia national football team got into the same group with the teams of the Netherlands, Belgium and Morocco.
In the first match the Asian team lost the Netherlands, and the team won the two other meetings. By score 2:1 the Morocco national football team was beat, and in the decisive match the Greens did over Belgium with the minimum score. The goal of Saeed Al-Owairan in the match with Belgium became one of the most beautiful goals scored ever in the World Cups.
Two victories in three matches allowed Saudi Arabia to leave the group for the round of last 16. This stage became insuperable for the Greens. In the round of last 16 the Arabians gave way to the Sweden national football team — the future bronze medalists of the World Cup 1994.
Saudi Arabia took part in the next three World Cups: in France (1998), South Korea and Japan (2002), Germany (2006). All three tournaments were extremely unsuccessfully for the team. In 1998 the SA appeared in the same group with the tournament hosts, the French national football team, and also with the teams of Denmark and the Republic of South Africa. Only in the last match against the Republic of South Africa the Greens managed to find the net and to score points (draw 2:2). Earlier they got swept twice and lost their chances to leave the group.
In 2002 Saudi Arabia failed the tournament completely. The Arabians lost three times in three matches of the group stage against the teams of Germany, Cameroon and Ireland. They scored no goal. The shameful defeat from the German national football team with score 0:8 became one of the largest in the history of Saudi Arabia.
In 2006 the Arabians for the fourth time got to the largest world forum and couldn't leave the group either. The national teams of Spain, Ukraine and Tunisia became an insuperable barrier for the Greens. Totals are one draw, two defeats and the fourth place in the group.
Under the Saudi Arabia belt has one participation in the final of a large tournament. It was in 1992 on the first in the history Confederations Cup. Only four national teams took part in this tournament, the Arabians participated as the Asian Cup Winner. In the semi-final Saudi Arabia surely beat the USA national football team and conceded to the Argentina national football team in the final.
The Arabians are three-time winners of the Asian Cup. Like all main achievements of the national team, the achievements in the Asian Cup fell on the late 20th century. The Greens won the continental competitions in 1984, 1988 and 1996.
The Saudi Arabia team is entirely presented by football players of the national championship. The names of the national team players are little-known for football fans in Europe. The captain of the national team is the most experienced defender Osama Hawsawi who has played in Belgium. Today, Osama has been capped already 124 games of the national team. The top scorer of the team is the forward of the national team Mohammad Ibrahim Mohammad Al-Sahlawi who scored already 27 goals.
Needless to expect much from the Arabians in the World Cup. Most likely, leaving the group will be the ceiling for this team.