Stage set for historic Arab Cup

  • Sixteen teams will contest the FIFA Arab Cup™ in Doha

  • Competition will be played out at six of the stadiums to be used at the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™

  • Field contains two reigning continental champions

This week, the eyes of a football-crazy region will be on Doha, the capital of Qatar, as it hosts the FIFA Arab Cup Qatar 2021™. The first all-Arab competition to be organised by FIFA, it forms part of the preparations for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™, which will take place at the end of next year. Six of the eight stadiums that will host next year’s big event being used for the FIFA Arab Cup: Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium, Al Janoub Stadium, Al Bayt Stadium, Ras Abu Aboud Stadium, Al Thumama Stadium, and Education City Stadium. They all have excellent transport links, allowing fans to attend two games in the same day if they wish.

Lucky seven

The qualifying round of the Arab Cup was held in June this year and saw Sudan, Oman, Mauritania, Lebanon, Palestine and Bahrain all advancing to the finals along with Jordan, who were awarded victory in their tie against South Sudan after several opposition players contracted Covid-19. Those seven teams joined hosts Qatar and eight sides who qualified directly for the finals on account of their positions in the FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking: Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, UAE, and Syria.

Groups

Group A: Qatar, Iraq, Oman, Bahrain Group B: Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, Syria, Mauritania Group C: Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Palestine Group D: Algeria, Egypt, Lebanon, Sudan

Arab Cup trivia

  • The age difference between the oldest player in the tournament and the youngest is 21 years! Born in 1982, Jordan’s Moataz Yassin is 21 years older than Algeria’s Yassin Titraoui, born in 2003.

  • Qatar has been a happy hunting ground for Bahrain in the past. Victorious in the 2019 Arabian Gulf Cup there, they will be hoping for another trophy when they make their return.

  • Two reigning continental champions will be taking part in this year’s Arab Cup: Qatar, who won the Asian title in 2019, and Algeria, crowned African champions that same year. Both sides are aiming to continue their good form in the days ahead.

  • Fourteen of the Qatar players who won the AFC Asian Cup two years ago will be running out at the Arab Cup: Pedro Miguel, Saad Al Sheeb, Abdel Karim Hassan, Tariq Salman, Abdel Aziz Hatem, Ahmed Aladdin, Hassan Al Haydos, Akram Afif, Karim Boudiaf, Bassam Al Rawi, Boualem Khoukhi, Asim Madibo, Almoez Ali, and Youssef Hassan.

The quotes

“The Arab Cup is a wonderful tournament and it is useful preparation for the World Cup. It will be a great opportunity for the Arab countries that will be taking part in the competition and for us too.” Lebanon forward Hilal El Helwe “Algeria will be taking the tournament very seriously. Every team has the same chance of winning and the mental approach will be crucial. We respect all our opponents and we have every faith in the ability of our team.” Algeria coach Madjid Bougherra