Who is Saudi Arabia’s first-choice penalty taker?

Salem Al-Dawsari
(Image credit: Getty)

The Qatar World Cup will be the sixth that Saudi Arabia (opens in new tab) have competed in, but their overall record at the tournament makes for painful reading.

With the exception of their debut in 1994, they have consistently crashed out at the group stage while suffering a number of heavy defeats.

The worst came in their opening game against Germany (opens in new tab) in 2002, which ended in an 8-0 thrashing by Rudi Voller’s ruthless side.

The match was most notable for Miroslav Klose’s hat-trick of headers, the first of his 16 goals in four tournaments, making him the World Cup’s all-time record goalscorer.

Saudi Arabian supporters understandably have much happier memories of USA ’94, where they best Morocco (opens in new tab) and Belgium (opens in new tab) to advance to the knockout rounds.

Their victory against Belgium is famous for Saeed Al-Owairan’s incredible solo goal, which is widely considered to be one of the greatest ever scored at a World Cup.

Collecting the ball deep in his own half, the midfielder immediately turned and started driving up the pitch at speed.

On a lung-bursting 70-yard run, he evaded one challenge, held off another, skipped past a third and then a fourth, before finishing high into the roof of the net for the only goal of the game.

Although Saudi Arabia were beaten 3-1 by Sweden (opens in new tab) in the round of 16, that moment of individual brilliance from Al-Owairan has endured.

It took another 24 years for the Green Falcons to win their next World Cup game and it will be tough to add to their tally after being drawn to face Argentina (opens in new tab), Poland (opens in new tab) and Mexico (opens in new tab).

Winger Salem Al-Dawsari is one of their biggest attacking threats and will also be responsible for taking penalties.

The 31-year-old has been successful with three of his five efforts, most recently against Australia (opens in new tab) in March.

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Sean Cole
Writer

Sean Cole is a freelance journalist. He has written for FourFourTwo, BBC Sport and When Saturday Comes among others. A Birmingham City supporter and staunch Nikola Zigic advocate, he once scored a hat-trick at St. Andrew’s (in a half-time game). He also has far too many football shirts and spends far too much time reading the Wikipedia pages of obscure players.