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Saudi Arabia

Unlike fellow Arabian Peninsula countries like Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, whose local football leagues attract foreign marquee players at the twilight of their careers, the Saudi Professional Football League relay on Saudi players and is not well known outside the kingdom. Well, Saudi local teams – 14 of them play in the first division - do attract foreign players, mostly from Brazil, but we are not talking about UEFA Champion League winners, or even title holder in Europe top leagues. Additional foreign players come mostly from Africa.

Despite little outside attention to its local league, the Saudi Arabia national team is among the most successful teams in Asia, having won the Asia Cup three times (1984, 1988, 1996). The country was not a FIFA member until 1954 and did not enter the qualification rounds until 1974. It qualified for the first time for the 1994 FIFA World Cup USA, where it reached the round of 16. Three more qualifications followed, until two disappointments before the tournaments of 2010 and 2014.

Like its local clubs, the national team relays heavily on players playing in Saudi Arabia's league. As a matter of fact, only two players play outside the kingdom – Faris Abdi who play in the United States and Mukhtar Ali, who plays for Vitesse in the Netherlands.

Unlike its players, the managers' position of the national team during the years has been a mixture of foreign managers and local ones. None of them, however, lasted for very long. In fact, some of them kept their position for only few months. Since 2000, Saudi Arabia had no less than 19 managers. Dutch Bert van Mavrwijk, who amazingly held his position for two whole years and took the Netherlands to the final of the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa, was dismissed from his post after guiding the Saudi's national team for qualification for the 2018 UEFA World Cup. He was replaced By Argentinian Edgardo Bauza, who left a post as the manager of the United Arab Emirates national team. Other notable national team's managers included Dutch Frank Rijkaard and Spaniard Juan Ramon Lopez Caro. As tradition has it, both didn't hold their post for too long.

Goalkeeper Mohamed Al-Deayea is Saudi Arabia most caped player, with 178 appearances between 1993-2006. Majed Abdullah, three times Asia's footballers of the year, is the top goal scorer with 71 goals in 116 caps.

The all-green play their home games at King Fahd International Stadium, which has a capacity of 75,000 seats.


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Saudi Arabia tickets - 2017-2018
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