Kuwait national football team

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Kuwait
Shirt badge/Association crest
Nickname(s)Al-Azraq (The Blue) (The Blue Wave)
AssociationKuwait Football Association
ConfederationAFC (Asia)
Sub-confederationWAFF (West Asia)
Head coachRomeo Jozak[1]
Most capsBader Al-Mutawa (164)[2]
Top scorerBashar Abdullah (75)
Home stadiumJaber Al-Ahmad International Stadium
FIFA codeKUW
First colours
Second colours
FIFA ranking
Current157 Increase 2 (25 October 2018)[3]
Highest24 (December 1998)
Lowest189 (December 2017)
Elo ranking
Current101 Decrease 11 (17 November 2018)[4]
Highest26 (11 December 1998)
Lowest102 (February 2008)
First international
 Kuwait 2–2 Libya 
(Morocco; 3 September 1961)
Biggest win
 Kuwait 20–0 Bhutan 
(Kuwait City, Kuwait; 14 February 2000)
Biggest defeat
 United Arab Republic 8–0 Kuwait Kuwait
(Morocco; 4 September 1961)
 Portugal 8–0 Kuwait Kuwait
(Leiria, Portugal; 19 November 2003)
World Cup
Appearances1 (first in 1982)
Best resultGroup Stage, 1982
Asian Cup
Appearances10 (first in 1972)
Best resultChampions, 1980

The Kuwait national football team is the national team of Kuwait and is controlled by the Kuwait Football Association. Kuwait made one World Cup finals appearance, in 1982, managing a draw with Czechoslovakia but losing to England and France. During the match against France, a goal was scored by the French because some of the Kuwaiti players stopped playing, having heard a whistle. The goal was initially awarded by the referee, who had not blown, but Kuwait walked off the pitch in protest. They eventually resumed playing only after the intervention of Sheikh Fahad Al Ahmed when he walked down to the pitch to speak to the fourth official and the referee's subsequent decision to disallow the French goal.

They had better success contending for the Asian Cup, reaching the final in 1976 and taking home the winner's trophy in 1980.

Kuwait's 20–0 win over Bhutan in 2000 was at the time the biggest ever victory in international football. It was surpassed in 2001, when Australia beat American Samoa 31–0.

History[edit]

Kuwait's first international match was played in the 1961 Pan Arab Games against Libya which ended in a 2–2 draw. Kuwait's biggest loss was against Republic the United Arab Republic when they were destroyed 8–0 by the Pharaohs in the same tournament. Kuwait national football team has joined the World Cup in 1982 which was held in Spain. Kuwait was placed in the fourth group, and got fourth place after defeats to England and France and a respectable draw with Czechoslovakia. Kuwait has won the Asian Cup in 1980 which was held on its soil. Kuwait won the Final 3–0 against South Korea. Kuwait's historical highest FIFA ranking was the 24th place achieved in December 1998. Bader Al-Mutawa is the most capped player of the Kuwaiti team, and Bashar Abdullah is the top goalscorer in the history of the Kuwait national football team. Kuwait has won the Arabian Gulf Cup ten times, and is the most successful team in winning that competition. Kuwait's most historical manager was Luiz Felipe Scolari, who won the World Cup with Brazil, and was forced to leave the country after the 1990 invasion by Iraq. He led Kuwait to win the 1990 Gulf Cup beating Qatar in The Final. Kuwait's biggest win was against Bhutan which ended in a thrilling 20–0 win, which was the biggest win until Australia won 31–0 against the American Samoa in 2001. Kuwait's most successful years were between 1970–1990 which had players like Jassem Yacoub, Faisal Dakhil, and Sa'ad Al-Hoty.

Suspensions[edit]

On 30 October 2007, Kuwait was suspended by FIFA from all participation in international football, on the grounds of governmental interference in the national football association.[5] The ban lasted less than 2 weeks.[6] On 24 October 2008, Kuwait was again suspended by FIFA from all participation in international football, because of its failure to hold the General Assembly elections by mid-October.[7] FIFA provisionally lifted its suspension on the Kuwait Football Association (KFA) on 22 December 2008.[8]

Once again, on 16 October 2015, Kuwait was suspended for the third time as FIFA did not recognize the new sport law in the country.[9] Kuwait tried to get the suspension lifted at the 66th FIFA Congress but this was rejected and therefore from the earlier announcement on 27 April 2016, the hosting of the Gulf Cup tournament would also be moved to Qatar.[10] The suspension was eventually lifted on 6 December 2017, after Kuwait's adoption of a new sports law. By this time, the team had fallen to the 188th place in the FIFA World Rankings due to its inactivity.[11][12]

On 7 December 2017, it was announced that Kuwait would host the 2017 Gulf Cup tournament after Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain, all withdrew when the tournament was previously set to be hosted by Qatar because of the Qatari diplomatic crisis, so it was moved to Kuwait to please all withdrawn parties to participate.

Team image[edit]

Home Stadium[edit]

The Kuwait National Team has two home stadiums, and they are Jaber Al-Ahmad International Stadium and Al-Sadaqua Walsalam Stadium. Jaber Al-Ahmed International Stadium was built in 2009, and Kuwait celebrated winning the 20th Gulf Cup in that stadium; while Al-Sadaqua Walsalam Stadium is for the Kuwaiti club Kazma SC and was the Kuwait national team home. Following the 2014 FIFA World Cup qualification-AFC Second Round, playing against the Philippines on 23 July 2011, this was the last time Mohammed Al-Hamed Stadium was the Kuwait Home stadium. On 16 May 2012, Kuwait played against the 2011–12 La Liga Champions Real Madrid in Al Kuwait Sports Club Stadium, the home ground of Kuwaiti club Kuwait SC, which Real Madrid won 2–0. Kuwait played their entire 2014 FIFA World Cup qualification-AFC Third Round in Al-Sadaqua Walsalam Stadium, beating the United Arab Emirates 2–1, drawing with South Korea 1–1 and losing to Lebanon 1–0. Before Jaber Al-Ahmed international stadium was finally built in 2009, Kuwait played in Mohammed Al-Hamed Stadium. When Kuwait hosted the 1980 Asian Cup, the tournament was hosted in Sabah Al-Salem Stadium, which has a capacity of 22,000 spectators and was the largest stadium in Kuwait at that time, and Kuwait won their first and only Asian Cup of all time in that stadium. When Kuwait hosted the 1974 Gulf Cup, it was the first time Kuwait had hosted a Gulf Cup competition, and all the matches were played in Al Kuwait Sports Club Stadium. Kuwait were champions of that competition for the first time in their history on home soil, and the third time in a row overall. In 1990, Kuwait hosted the 1990 Gulf Cup for the second time in their history and were crowned Champions of that competition. All of the games were played on Al-Sadaqua Walsalam Stadium. In the 2003 Gulf Cup, Kuwait hosted the competition for the third time, and once again all the matches were played in one stadium, the Al-Sadaqua Walsalam Stadium. However, Kuwait lost the competition. In the 2017 Gulf Cup, Kuwait hosted the tournament for the fourth time. All the matches were played in two stadiums, the Jaber Al-Ahmad International Stadium and Al Kuwait Sports Club Stadium. However, Kuwait were eliminated from the group stage after losing to Saudi Arabia and Oman and drawing with the United Arab Emirates.

Media coverage[edit]

All Kuwait matches are broadcast with full commentary on Kuwait TV 3. These matches are live and exclusive. Al Jazeera Sports broadcast Kuwait matches live and exclusive. So broadcast exclusively on 3 different channels, which is not exclusive. Dubai Sports broadcast Kuwait matches only in special events like the Gulf Cup, Asian Cup and others.

Kit[edit]

Kit providers

Kuwaits traditional colors are blue and white: The blue kits are their home ones and the whites for matches away. Kuwait's official kit provider is currently the German company Uhlsport, starting from 2014. Kuwait wore the blue shirts in the 1980 AFC Asian Cup and the 1982 FIFA World Cup.

Rivalries[edit]

Kuwait vs. Iraq
Statistics vs.  Iraq
Played1 Wins2 Draws Losses GF GA
28 10 8 10 33 31

1. Only matches recognized by FIFA.
2. Wins for Kuwait.

Iraqi rivalry with Kuwait is considered the Arab world's greatest football rivalry of all time.[13] The rivalry began in the mid 1970s and it was the decade from 1976 until 1986 that saw the golden age of football for arguably the finest teams the region has produced. Both nations imposed their complete domination on the Gulf region, and from the Gulf Cup's inception in 1970 until 1990, the tournament was won by only two teams; Kuwait seven times (1970, 1972, 1974, 1976, 1982, 1986, 1990), and despite Iraq's absence in the first three editions and withdrawal in two others, Iraq won it three times (1979, 1984, 1988).[13]

Iraq and Kuwait took their increasingly bitter rivalry to a new level. On 11 June 1976, the two met in the semi-final of the Asian Cup in Tehran; Kuwait took the lead twice, Iraq came roaring back twice, And then, in the 10th minute of extra time, Kamel scored the winner for Kuwait. In 1979, the year Iraq clinched their first Gulf Cup and won over Kuwait 3–1, the two met in a qualifier for the Moscow 1980 Olympic Games, both managed to qualify to the Olympic Games, and both made it to the quarter-finals in Moscow. Iraq also qualified for the 1984 Games in Los Angeles and 1988 Games in Seoul. The 1982 Asian Games was won as well. Kuwait won the 1980 AFC Asian Cup, which they hosted. The nations also left their mark on the world stage. Kuwait qualified for the 1982 World Cup finals in Spain. Iraq matched that in Mexico 1986.[13]

As Iraq and Kuwait traded Gulf titles in 1988 and 1990, few could have imagined that their rivalry on the football field would be replaced by an altogether more catastrophic one on the battlefield. Because of the Gulf war, football would never be the same again. Iraq and Kuwait were in complete avoidance and never met for more than a decade. Kuwait's Blues had a relative recovery of sorts, winning the Gulf Cup in 1996 and 1998, before securing their record 10th title in 2010. Iraqi football, because of Uday Hussein's reign as head of the football association, would take far longer to recover. When it did, it was in glorious fashion, the Lions of Mesopotamia winning the 2007 Asian Cup.[13]

Kuwait vs. Saudi Arabia
Statistics vs.  Saudi Arabia
Played1 Wins2 Draws Losses GF GA
42 13 13 16 44 48

1. Only matches recognized by FIFA.
2. Wins for Kuwait.

Competitive record[edit]

World Cup record[edit]