These five Muslim nations are competing for FIFA World Cup 2018 in Russia
MOSCOW - The FIFA World Cup will run on television screens across the globe from June 14th till July 15th 2018. People are sure to support their teams with a frenzy, with several teams being touted as favourites for the tournament. This will be the 21st edition of the World Cup and will be taking place in Russia.
Out of the total 32 teams taking part in the World Cup, 5 hail from Muslim majority countries. In fact, this is the first time five Muslim nations have qualified for the same World Cup.
Iran was the first Asian Muslim country which qualified for the World Cup. It is ranked 32nd in the world and is also the highest ranked Asian team according to the latest FIFA World Rankings.
Iran has previously qualified for the World Cup four times in 1978, 1998, 2006 and 2014, but was knocked out each time in the group stages. Iran is also one of the most successful Muslim nations since it has won three Asian Cup championships.
Iran only boasts one victory in a World Cup match and that too, interestingly, against the United States. You never know though that this year’s tournament might just be when the Iranians defy all expectations.
The Egyptian Kings qualified for the World Cup after twenty eight years, with their last appearance on the grand stage occurring in 1990. They are currently ranked 46th in the world, according to official FIFA rankings.
Egypt made a brilliant comeback against the Democratic Republic of Congo in the qualifying rounds to qualify for the World Cup. Mohammad Salah, Egypt’s golden man, scored the penalty that sent Egypt to the World Cup in the dying minutes of that match.
The Egyptian national team boasts one of the best players in the world at the moment in Mohammad Salah. Although Salah was injured by Sergio Ramos during the UEFA Champions League Final between his club Liverpool and Real Madrid, Egyptian authorities are hopeful that he will be fit enough to make the World Cup squad.
Saudia Arabia is currently ranked 67thin the world and they rejoin the fray at this year’s World Cup after a hiatus of twelve years, with their last appearance coming in 2006. The Kingdom made its first appearance in the tournament in the 1994 edition that was held in the United States.
Saudia Arabia made their way to the World Cup after they defeated Japan at the King Abdullah Sports City Stadium in Jeddah.
The Saudi team boasts talented players like Fahad Mosaed Al-Muwallad, who is one of the most promising strikers in the world at the moment.
This will be Tunisia’s fourth appearance in the World Cup, with its last appearance coming in 2006. Nicknamed the “Carthage Eagles”, the Tunisian team is currently ranked 14th in the world.
In fact, expect great things from these dark horses since Tunisia was the only team which remained unbeaten throughout the qualifying round for the World Cup.
The Morocco national football team has qualified for the World Cup after a gap of nearly 20 years. They are currently ranked 42nd in FIFA’s global rankings.
Morocco’s team carries the title of the “lions of the atlas” and is currently managed by former French player Herve Renard. This is the fifth time that they have qualified for the World Cup.