|Nickname(s)||Al-Azraq (The Blue) |
(The Blue Wave)
|Association||Kuwait Football Association|
|Sub-confederation||WAFF (West Asia)|
|Head coach||Rui Bento|
|Most caps||Bader Al-Mutawa (196)|
|Top scorer||Bashar Abdullah (75)|
|Home stadium||Jaber Al-Ahmad International Stadium|
|Current||141 2 (29 June 2023)|
|Highest||24 (December 1998)|
|Lowest||189 (December 2017)|
| Kuwait 2–2 Libya |
(Morocco; 3 September 1961)
| Kuwait 20–0 Bhutan |
(Kuwait City, Kuwait; 14 February 2000)
| United Arab Republic 8–0 Kuwait |
(Morocco; 4 September 1961)
Portugal 8–0 Kuwait
(Leiria, Portugal; 19 November 2003)
|Appearances||1 (first in 1982)|
|Best result||Group stage (1982)|
|Appearances||10 (first in 1972)|
|Best result||Champions (1980)|
|Appearances||8 (first in 1963)|
|Best result||Third place (1964, 1992, 1998)|
|Appearances||4 (first in 2010)|
|Best result||Champions (2010)|
|Arabian Gulf Cup|
|Appearances||24 (first in 1970)|
|Best result||Champions (1970, 1972, 1974, 1976, 1982, 1986, 1990, 1996, 1998, 2010)|
The Kuwait national football team (Arabic: منتخب الكويت لكرة القدم) is the national team of Kuwait and is controlled by the Kuwait Football Association. Kuwait made one World Cup finals appearance, in 1982, managing one point in the group stages. In the Asian Cup, Kuwait reached the final in 1976 and won the tournament in 1980.
Kuwait's 20–0 win over Bhutan in 2000 was at the time the biggest ever victory in international football. It was surpassed in 2001, when Australia beat American Samoa 31–0.
While Kuwait was one of Asia's major football force during 1970s to 2000s, the strength of the national team has started to fade slowly from 2010s, with Kuwait failing in two consecutive Asian Cups in 2011 and 2015, before being disqualified for 2019 edition and missing out on 2023 AFC Asian Cup. The team has also failed to reach any World Cup since 1982.
Kuwait's first international match was played in the 1961 Arab Games against Libya which ended in a 2–2 draw. Kuwait's biggest loss was against the United Arab Republic when they lost 8–0 in the same tournament. Kuwait national football team has joined the World Cup in 1982 which was held in Spain. Kuwait was placed in the fourth group and got the fourth place after defeats to England and France and a respectable draw with Czechoslovakia. Kuwait has won the Asian Cup in 1980 which was held on its soil. Kuwait won the Final 3–0 against South Korea. Kuwait's historical highest FIFA ranking was the 24th place achieved in December 1998. Bader Al-Mutawa is the most capped player of the Kuwaiti team, and Bashar Abdullah is the top goalscorer in the history of the Kuwait national football team. Kuwait has won the Arabian Gulf Cup ten times, and is the most successful team in winning that competition. Kuwait's most historical manager was Luiz Felipe Scolari, who won the World Cup with Brazil, and was forced to leave the country after the 1990 invasion by Iraq. He led Kuwait to win the 1990 Gulf Cup beating Qatar in The Final.
Kuwait's biggest win was against Bhutan which ended in a thrilling 20–0 win, which was the biggest win until Australia won 31–0 against American Samoa in 2001. Kuwait's most successful years were between 1970 and 1990 which had players like Jasem Yaqoub, Faisal Al-Dakhil, and Saad Al-Houti.
On 30 October 2007, Kuwait was suspended by FIFA from all participation in international football, on the grounds of governmental interference in the national football association. The ban lasted less than 2 weeks. On 24 October 2008, Kuwait was again suspended by FIFA from all participation in international football, because of its failure to hold the General Assembly elections by mid-October. FIFA provisionally lifted its suspension on the Kuwait Football Association (KFA) on 22 December 2008. By the time, while Kuwait remained a formidable force in the Gulf, it has also declined from Asia's relevance, unable to progress from the group stage of the 2011 and 2015 AFC Asian Cups, the team finished last with no point in both tournaments.
Once again, on 16 October 2015, Kuwait was suspended for the third time as FIFA did not recognize the new sports law in the country. Kuwait tried to get the suspension lifted at the 66th FIFA Congress but this was rejected and therefore from the earlier announcement on 27 April 2016, the hosting of the Gulf Cup tournament would also be moved to Qatar. The suspension was eventually lifted on 6 December 2017, after Kuwait's adoption of a new sports law. By this time, the team had fallen from the 139th place to the 189th place in the FIFA World Rankings due to its inactivity, which also caused the team to miss the qualifiers for the 2018 FIFA World Cup and the 2019 AFC Asian Cup.
On 7 December 2017, it was announced that Kuwait would host the 2017 Gulf Cup tournament after Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain, all withdrew when the tournament was previously set to be hosted by Qatar because of the Qatari diplomatic crisis, so it was moved to Kuwait to please all withdrawn parties to participate.
During the 2022 FIFA World Cup qualification, Kuwait, which only started to rebuild its team following years of suspensions and instabilities, was drawn in group B alongside old foes Australia and Jordan, outside minnows Nepal and Chinese Taipei. Although Kuwait has better head-to-head records against Australia in major tournaments, suspensions and inactivities proved detrimental as the team lost 0–3 twice. Still, the qualifiers stood out as the best qualification for Kuwait since 2006, where Kuwait impressed by finishing second, though being unable to progress to the third round.
The Kuwait National Team has two home stadiums, and they are Jaber Al-Ahmad International Stadium and Al-Sadaqua Walsalam Stadium. Jaber Al-Ahmed International Stadium was built in 2009, and Kuwait celebrated winning the 20th Gulf Cup in that stadium; while Al-Sadaqua Walsalam Stadium is for the Kuwaiti club Kazma SC and was the Kuwait national team home. Following the 2014 FIFA World Cup qualification-AFC second round, playing against the Philippines on 23 July 2011, this was the last time Mohammed Al-Hamed Stadium was the Kuwait Home stadium. On 16 May 2012, Kuwait played against the 2011–12 La Liga Champions Real Madrid in Al Kuwait Sports Club Stadium, the home ground of Kuwaiti club Kuwait SC, which Real Madrid won 2–0. Kuwait played their entire 2014 FIFA World Cup qualification-AFC third round in Al-Sadaqua Walsalam Stadium, beating the United Arab Emirates 2–1, drawing with South Korea 1–1 and losing to Lebanon 1–0.
Before Jaber Al-Ahmed international stadium was finally built in 2009, Kuwait played in Mohammed Al-Hamed Stadium. When Kuwait hosted the 1980 Asian Cup, the tournament was hosted in Sabah Al-Salem Stadium, which has a capacity of 22,000 spectators and was the largest stadium in Kuwait at that time, and Kuwait won their first and only Asian Cup of all time in that stadium. When Kuwait hosted the 1974 Gulf Cup, it was the first time Kuwait had hosted a Gulf Cup competition, and all the matches were played in Al Kuwait Sports Club Stadium. Kuwait were champions of that competition for the first time in their history on home soil, and the third time in a row overall. In 1990, Kuwait hosted the 1990 Gulf Cup for the second time in their history and were crowned Champions of that competition. All of the games were played on Al-Sadaqua Walsalam Stadium. In the 2003 Gulf Cup, Kuwait hosted the competition for the third time, and once again all the matches were played in one stadium, the Al-Sadaqua Walsalam Stadium. However, Kuwait lost the competition. In the 2017 Gulf Cup, Kuwait hosted the tournament for the fourth time. All the matches were played in two stadiums, the Jaber Al-Ahmad International Stadium and Al Kuwait Sports Club Stadium. However, Kuwait were eliminated from the group stage after losing to Saudi Arabia and Oman and drawing with the United Arab Emirates.
All Kuwait matches are broadcast with full commentary on Kuwait TV Sport. These matches are live and exclusive. beIN Sports broadcast Kuwait matches live and exclusive. So broadcast exclusively on 3 different channels, which is not exclusive. Dubai Sports broadcast Kuwait matches only in special events like the Gulf Cup, Asian Cup and others.
Kuwaits traditional colors are blue and white: The blue kits are their home ones and the whites for matches away. The blue sea and sky are important in Kuwait because it shows the connection of the people to pearl hunting as well as the spaciousness of the universe. Kuwait's official kit provider is currently the sports company Errea and will be Adidas from 2023 onwards. Kuwait wore the blue shirts in the 1980 AFC Asian Cup and the 1982 FIFA World Cup.
1. Only matches recognized by FIFA.
Iraq's rivalry with Kuwait was once considered as the Arab world's greatest football rivalry of all-time. The rivalry began in the mid 1970s and it was the decade from 1976 until 1986 that saw the golden age of football for arguably the finest teams the region has produced. Both nations imposed their complete domination on the Gulf region, and from the Gulf Cup's inception in 1970 until 1990, the tournament was won by only two teams; Kuwait seven times (1970, 1972, 1974, 1976, 1982, 1986, 1990), and despite Iraq's absence in the first three editions and withdrawal in two others, Iraq won it three times (1979, 1984, 1988).
Iraq and Kuwait took their increasingly bitter rivalry to a new level. On 11 June 1976, the two met in the semi-final of the Asian Cup in Tehran; Kuwait took the lead twice, Iraq came roaring back twice, And then, in the 10th minute of extra time, Kamel scored the winner for Kuwait. In 1979, the year Iraq clinched their first Gulf Cup and won over Kuwait 3–1, the two met in a qualifier for the Moscow 1980 Olympic Games, both managed to qualify to the Olympic Games, and both made it to the quarter-finals in Moscow. Iraq also qualified for the 1984 Games in Los Angeles and 1988 Games in Seoul. The 1982 Asian Games was won as well. Kuwait won the 1980 AFC Asian Cup, which they hosted. The nations also left their mark on the world stage. Kuwait qualified for the 1982 World Cup finals in Spain. Iraq matched that in Mexico 1986.
As Iraq and Kuwait traded Gulf titles in 1988 and 1990, few could have imagined that their rivalry on the football field would be replaced by an altogether more catastrophic one on the battlefield. Because of the Gulf war, football would never be the same again. Iraq and Kuwait were in complete avoidance and never met for more than a decade. Kuwait's Blues had a relative recovery of sorts, winning the Gulf Cup in 1996 and 1998, before securing their record 10th title in 2010. Iraqi football, because of Uday Hussein's reign as head of the football association, would take far longer to recover. When it did, it was in glorious fashion, the Lions of Mesopotamia winning the 2007 Asian Cup.
1. Only matches recognized by FIFA.
The Kuwait vs. Saudi Arabia football rivalry dates back several decades and is one of the most intense in the Middle East. Both countries have a rich history in football, with Kuwait producing some of the region's finest players, including Khalid Al-Muhairi and Bader Al-Mutwa. On the other hand, Saudi Arabia has consistently been among the top teams in Asia, having won three AFC Asian Cups and qualified for five FIFA World Cups. The match between the two sides is always a tightly contested affair, with each team fighting hard to come out on top. While both nations have exchanged victories over time, Kuwait holds the edge over their rivals with more wins under their belt. Nevertheless, this longstanding rivalry continues to produce exciting matches and high levels of interest among fans across the region.
The following is a list of match results in the last 12 months, as well as any future matches that have been scheduled.
Win Draw Loss Fixture
|19 November 2022 Friendly||Kuwait||2–0||Lebanon||Dubai, United Arab Emirates|
|19:00 UTC+4||Report||Stadium: Police Officers' Club Stadium|
Referee: Ahmed Eisa Mohamed (United Arab Emirates)
|30 December 2022 Friendly||Iraq||1–0||Kuwait||Basra, Iraq|
||Stadium: Al-Minaa Olympic Stadium|
|7 January 2023 25th Arabian Gulf Cup||Kuwait||0–2||Qatar||Basra, Iraq|
|19:15 UTC+3||Report||Stadium: Al-Minaa Olympic Stadium|
Referee: Ma Ning (China)
|10 January 2023 25th Arabian Gulf Cup||United Arab Emirates||0–1||Kuwait||Basra, Iraq|
|16:15 UTC+3||Report||Al-Dhefiri 90+3'||Stadium: Al-Minaa Olympic Stadium|
Referee: Shukri Al-Hanfoush (Saudi Arabia)
|13 January 2023 25th Arabian Gulf Cup||Bahrain||1–1||Kuwait||Basra, Iraq|
|18:00 UTC+3||Abdullatif 26'||Report||Al-Khaldi 45'||Stadium: Basra International Stadium|
Referee: István Kovács (Romania)
|24 March 2023 Friendly||Kuwait||2–0||Philippines||Kuwait City, Kuwait|
||Stadium: Jaber Al-Ahmad International Stadium|
Referee: Shukri Al-Hunfoush (Saudi Arabia)
|28 March 2023 Friendly||Kuwait||2–1||Tajikistan||Kuwait City, Kuwait|
|--:-- UTC+3||Al-Fadhel 9'
|A.Dzhalilov 90'||Stadium: Jaber Al-Ahmad International Stadium|
Referee: Ahmed Al-Kaf (Oman)
|12 June 2023 Unofficial Friendly||Kuwait||3–0||Zambia||Cairo, Egypt|
|--:-- UTC+3||Al-Khaldi 16', 59'
El Ebrahim 51'
|Report||Stadium: Cairo International Stadium|
|15 June 2023 Unofficial Friendly||Kuwait||2–1||Sudan||Cairo, Egypt|
|20:00 UTC+3||Al-Khaldi 55', 61'||Stadium: Cairo International Stadium|
|21 June 2023 2023 SAFF Championship||Kuwait||3–1||Nepal||Bangalore, India|
|15:30 UTC+5:30||Stadium: Sree Kanteerava Stadium|
|24 June 2023 2023 SAFF Championship||Pakistan||0–4||Kuwait||Bangalore, India|
|15:30 UTC+5:30||Stadium: Sree Kanteerava Stadium|
|27 June 2023 2023 SAFF Championship||India||1–1||Kuwait||Bangalore, India|
|19:30 UTC+5:30||Stadium: Sree Kanteerava Stadium|
|1 July 2023 2023 SAFF Championship Semi-finals||Kuwait||1–0 (a.e.t.)||Bangladesh||Bengaluru, India|
||Stadium: Sree Kanteerava Stadium|
|4 July 2023 2023 SAFF Championship Final||Kuwait||1–1 (a.e.t.)|
|19:30 UTC+5:30||Stadium: Sree Kanteerava Stadium|
|Note: India wins on penalties|
|Head Coach||Rui Bento|
|Assistant Coach||Francisco Gouveia|
|Assistant Coach||Vasco Pereira|
|Assistant Coach||Ahmad Ghobash|
|First Team Coach||Paulo Vieira|
|First Team Coach||Marzoug Al-Khelaifi|
|Goalkeeper Coach||Tiago Manta|
|Fitness Coach||Jose Vasconcelos|
|Team Doctor||João Pedro Pinho|
|Technical Director||Diogo Rebelo|
The following players were called up for the 2023 SAFF Championship between 21 June and 4 July 2023.
Caps and goals as of 4 July 2023, after the game against India.
|No.||Pos.||Player||Date of birth (age)||Caps||Goals||Club|
|GK||ABDALRAHMAN KAMEEL||8 March 2001||4||0||Al-Kuwait|
|GK||Bader Al-Saanoun||24 November 1996||0||0||Al-Jahra|
|DF||Fahad Al Hajeri||10 November 1991||62||5||Al-Kuwait|
|DF||Hamad Al-Qallaf||4 December 1999||18||0||Al-Salmiya|
|DF||Khalid El Ebrahim||28 August 1992||17||2||Al-Qadsia|
|DF||Mahdi Dashti||26 October 2001||10||0||Al-Salmiya|
|DF||Ali Abdel Al-Rasoul||13 January 1999||0||0||Al-Arabi|
|MF||Sultan Al Enezi||29 September 1992||36||0||Al-Arabi|
|MF||Ahmed Al-Dhefiri||9 January 1992||32||2||Al-Kuwait|
|MF||Hamad Al Harbi||25 July 1992||22||1||Kazma|
|MF||Fawaz Ayedh||21 February 1997||19||1||Al-Salmiya|
|MF||Redha Hani||22 April 1996||19||1||Al-Kuwait|
|MF||Abdullah Ghanim||12 February 1997||5||0||Kazma|
|FW||Faisal Zayid||9 October 1991||45||6||Al-Kuwait|
|FW||Mobarak Al-Faneeni||21 January 2000||28||3||Al-Salmiya|
|FW||Eid Al Rashidi||25 May 1999||24||1||Al-Qadsia|
|FW||Shabaib Al-Khaldi||11 August 1998||21||7||Kazma|
|FW||Ali Khalaf||16 January 1995||9||2||Al-Arabi|
|FW||Ahmad Zanki||17 December 1995||9||1||Al-Kuwait|
|FW||Bader Al-Fadhel||22 April 1997||6||3||Al-Arabi|
|FW||Salman Al-Awadhi||21 May 2001||3||0||Al-Arabi|
The following players have also been called up to the Kuwait squad within the last 12 months.
|Pos.||Player||Date of birth (age)||Caps||Goals||Club||Latest call-up|
|GK||Dhari Al-Otaibi||31 March 2002||0||0||Kuwait SC||v. Bahrain, 13 January 2023|
|DF||Rashed Al-Dosary||18 July 2000||11||0||Al-Qadsia||v. Tajikistan, 28 March 2023|
|DF||Mohammed Al-Nassar||24 May 1996||3||0||Kazma||v. Tajikistan, 28 March 2023|
|DF||Hassan Hamdan||1 September 2000||5||0||Al-Arabi||v. Bahrain, 13 January 2023|
|DF||Meshari Ghanam||28 August 1997||5||0||Kuwait SC||v. Bahrain, 13 January 2023|
|DF||Bader Jamal||10 December 1996||2||0||Al-Salmiya||v. Bahrain, 13 January 2023|
|DF||Abdulaziz Wadi||6 December 1998||3||0||Al-Qadsia||25th Arabian Gulf CupPRE|
|MF||Yaqoub Al-Tararwa||7 March 1994||6||2||Kuwait SC||25th Arabian Gulf CupPRE|
|MF||Khaled Shaman||14 August 1996||1||0||Al-Nasr||v. Lebanon, 19 November 2022|
|FW||Bader Al-Fadhel||22 April 1997||4||1||Al-Arabi||v. Tajikistan, 28 March 2023|
|FW||Ibrahim Kameel||10 June 2002||7||1||Kuwait SC||v. Bahrain, 13 January 2023|
|FW||Mohammad Bajeyah||15 March 2001||4||1||Al-Jahra||v. Bahrain, 13 January 2023|
|FW||Abdulaziz Marwi||29 September 1998||0||0||Al-Jahra||25th Arabian Gulf CupPRE|
|6||Jarah Al Ateeqi||112||4||2001–2013|
|2||Jassem Al Houwaidi||63||83||0.76||1992–2003|
Main article: Kuwait at the FIFA World Cup
|FIFA World Cup record||FIFA World Cup qualification record|
|1930 to 1970||Did not enter||Did not enter|
|1974||Did not qualify||6||1||1||4||4||8|
|1986||Did not qualify||4||2||1||1||8||2|
|2018||Disqualified due to FIFA suspension ||8||3||1||4||12||10|
|2022||Did not qualify||8||4||2||2||19||7|
|Total||Best: Round 1||1/22||3||0||1||2||2||6||101||52||16||33||189||99|
Main article: Kuwait at the AFC Asian Cup
|AFC Asian Cup record||AFC Asian Cup qualification record|
|1956||Not a AFC member||Not a AFC member|
|1976||Runners-up||2nd||4||3||0||1||6||3||Qualified by default|
|1980||Champions||1st||6||4||1||1||13||6||Qualified as hosts|
|1984||Third place||3rd||6||3||1||2||5||4||Qualified as defending champions|
|1992||Did not qualify||2||1||0||1||4||3|
|2007||Did not qualify||4||1||1||2||3||4|
|2019||Disqualified due to FIFA suspension||8||3||1||4||12||10|
|2023||Did not qualify||11||5||2||4||24||13|
|2027||To be determined||To be determined|
|Olympic Games record|
|1900 to 1956||Did not enter|
|1960 to 1976||Did not qualify|
|1984 to 1988||Did not qualify|
|1992–present||See Kuwait national under-23 football team|
|Asian Games record|
|1951 to 1970||Did not enter|
|2002–present||See Kuwait national under-23 football team|
|West Asian Football Federation Championship record|
|2000||Did not participate|
|1988||Saudi Arabia||Fifth place||6||1||2||3||3||4|
|2002||Saudi Arabia||Fourth place||5||1||2||2||4||6|
|2014||Saudi Arabia||Group stage||3||1||1||1||3||7|
|Arab Games record|
|1953–1957||Did not enter|
|1965–1985||Did not enter|
|1999–2007||Did not enter|
|FIFA Arab Cup record|
|1985||Did not enter|
|2021||Did not qualified|
|Total||Best: Third place||30||10||6||14||47||43|
The following table shows Kuwait's all-time international record,
Positive Record Neutral Record Negative Record
|Bosnia and Herzegovina||1||0||0||1||0||1||-1|
|Trinidad and Tobago||1||0||1||0||1||1||0|
|United Arab Emirates||44||18||8||16||70||48||+22|
* The 1992 edition organised as part of the Arab Games, and also counted as Arab Cup.