It’s turning out to be quite the year for the MENA region in terms of sports. As it is well known, Russia will be holding the World Cup this year, and this year is looking to be a bit tense for the superpowers of the world! But let’s not get into that… Five countries of the MENA region have actually qualified for the World Cup this year! That’s a major leap considering that for the 2014 World Cup, only Iran and algeria qualified.
This year, we’re seeing some tough competition. The first on our list to qualify for the Cup was Egypt, showing off its strength in the football territory with a win against Congo 2-1 at the Borg El Arab Stadium. This was an agonizing breath of fresh air for Egypt, who haven’t seen the finals since 1990, and haven’t seen the World Cup itself since 2010!
It’s been a tough 12 years for Saudi Arabia, whom have failed to qualify for the World Cup since 2008. Luckily, last September they won a game against Japan, finally securing their position at the cups. Their win came at a cost, as days later Van Marwijk announces he is leaving, with Edgardo Bauza replacing him. Wait, it gets worse. After just five games, the Argentinian lost his spot as coach! Currently, a former coach is taking the head role, and we can only hold our breaths and wish them luck!
Ah, Morocco, the queen of our sport-fevered hearts. Their team has seen a bit of drama, but their gaming has been on point recently, impressing many nations with their ambition! It’s been a couple decades since Morocco has entered the finals, which is quite shocking considering all that talent they have at their disposal! We’re definitely rooting for these guys!
Iran seems to always be a breath away from taking that shiny gold cup home. By far, they seem to be the best Asian qualifiers. Win after win, the team carried their country closer to Russia’s World Cup when finally, a 2-0 victory over Uzbekistan sent the country’s people out dancing on the streets of Tehran.
A series of victories carried the Tunisians to their qualifications. The Eagles of Carthage are quite a flexible team, which is a trait that will greatly benefit them in Russia. Our hearts are with them as they face two European football giants to progress to the knockout round of the World Cup for the first time. These men are urged by all to represent the north African country with honor!
The MENA region has got a fan in every corner of Russia now, and we can’t wait to see what the next few months hold for us! Don’t forget to wish them luck and more importantly, don’t forget to leave a smile! 🙂