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FIFA World Cup Qualifiers

All you need to know about history of Qatar football team

Published at :June 9, 2024 at 3:49 PM
Modified at :June 9, 2024 at 3:49 PM
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Atawaris Warsi


Qatar will be favourites when they meet the Blue Tigers in the FIFA World Cup Qualifiers.

The history of the Qatar football team is a captivating journey marked by perseverance, strategic growth and significant milestones. From its humble beginnings in the 1960s, when the Qatar Football Association was established and gained FIFA membership, the national team has evolved into a formidable presence in Asian football. 

Over the decades, The Maroons have navigated early challenges, celebrated regional successes and achieved historic victories on the international scene. The team’s progress reflects the nation’s dedication to develop football, culminating in memorable achievements such as winning the AFC Asian Cup twice and hosting the FIFA World Cup. As Qatar continue to make their mark in FIFA World Cup 2026 Qualifiers and in global football in general, we at Khel Now take a look at the country’s rich and gradually growing history over the decades:

1960s: Foundations Laid

In 1960, the Qatar Football Association (QFA) was established, marking the formal beginning of organized football in the country. Just three years later, in 1963, the QFA gained official recognition by becoming a member of FIFA. These foundational steps were crucial in setting the stage for Qatar’s future in international football.

1970s: Early Challenges

The 1970s were marked by initial struggles and significant milestones. The Maroons played their first official match in 1970, facing Bahrain in the Gulf Cup and although they lost 2-1, it was a historic moment for the team.

In 1972, the QFA launched the Qatar Football League, providing a platform for domestic talent to develop. The national team celebrated their first international victory in 1974, defeating Oman 4-0 in the Gulf Cup. Despite this success, the team faced challenges, such as failing to advance in the 1978 World Cup Qualifiers.

1980s: Regional Progress

The 1980s saw the Maroons making significant strides in regional football. In 1980, under the management of former Barcelona and Brazil winger Evaristo, Qatar made their debut appearance at the Asian Cup.

Four years later, in 1984, the team reached the Gulf Cup final for the first time, although they narrowly lost to Iraq in a penalty shootout. These achievements highlighted the Maroons’ growing presence in Asian football.

1990s: Near Misses & Triumphs

The 1990s was a decade of near misses and notable victories for Qatar. In 1992, the team qualified for the Summer Olympics, where they managed a win against Egypt and a draw with Colombia. The same year, Qatar clinched their first Gulf Cup title, marking a significant triumph.

However, the team faced disappointment in 1997 when they reached the final round of World Cup Qualifiers, but missed out on a spot at the 1998 World Cup after a decisive loss to Saudi Arabia.

2000s: Building Momentum

During the 2000s, Qatar continued to build on their football foundation. In 2004, Qatar hosted and won their second Gulf Cup, demonstrating their growing dominance in the region.

Two years later, in 2006, they secured their first Asian Games gold medal by defeating Iraq in the final, further solidifying their status in Asian football.

2010s: Historic Achievements

The 2010s was a period of historic achievements for Qatar football. In 2014, the national team had a remarkable year, losing only one match and winning both the West Asia Football Federation and the Gulf Cup championships.

The pinnacle of this decade came in 2019 when Qatar won the Asian Cup for the first time, defeating South Korea in the quarter-finals and four-time champions Japan in the final. This victory was complemented by their participation in the Copa America, where they held Paraguay to a 2-2 draw, but finished last in their group.

2020s: Peaks & Troughs

The 2020s have been a mix of highs and lows for Qatar. In 2021, the team impressed by reaching the semi-finals of the CONCACAF Gold Cup. However, the 2022 FIFA World Cup, hosted by Qatar, proved to be a challenging experience.

The national team exited early after losing all three group matches against Ecuador, Senegal and the Netherlands, setting several unwanted records for a host nation. Redemption came swiftly in 2023 when Qatar won their second consecutive AFC Asian Cup, defeating Jordan in the final and becoming the first team since Japan to defend their title successfully.

With the team now boasting a magnificent record in the FIFA World Cup 2026 Qualifiers, it remains to be seen how far this Qatari side can go in their search for global silverware.

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