Kuwait made their first bid to qualify for the FIFA World Cup™ finals in the preliminaries for Germany 1974 but finished bottom of their group in the first round. The Kuwaitis persevered and were rewarded for their efforts with a place at Spain 1982, which they booked after beating Korea Republic in the first phase and then topping a section containing New Zealand, China PR and Saudi Arabia. Little success has come their way in the seven attempts that have since followed, with the Kuwaitis only getting past the first qualification round on two occasions, in 1998 and 2006. They may have progressed to Asia’s third qualifying round on the road to Brazil 2014, but their lack of consistency took its toll, with the West Asians finishing behind Korea Republic and Lebanon to go out.
FIFA World Cup finals history
In their one and only finals appearance at Spain 1982, Kuwait found themselves in the same pool as Czechoslovakia, France and England, a formidable challenge that they began by posting a creditable 1-1 draw with the Czechs, Faisal al Dakhil netting the goal. It was an entirely different story against a Michel Platini-inspired France, who inflicted a 4-1 defeat on the Kuwaitis, which was followed by a 1-0 reverse against the English, consigning them to bottom place in the group.
Best performance in a FIFA competition: FIFA World Cup Spain 1982 (Group stages)
Former stars: Abdulaziz Al Anbari, Fathi Kameel, Jassim Al Howaidi