December 29, 2018 / 9:18 AM / 6 months ago

Factbox - Saudi Arabia at the Asian Cup

(Reuters) - Factbox on the Saudi Arabia team ahead of the Asian Cup, which takes place in the United Arab Emirates from Jan 5 to Feb 1:

FIFA world ranking: 69

Ranking in Asia: 5

Previous Asian Cups: 9

Best performance: Champions (1984, 1988, 1996)

2015: Group stage

Nickname: Green Falcons

Coach: Juan Antonio Pizzi

Player to watch: Fahad Al Muwallad

Recent form:

Sept 10 Saudi Arabia 2-2 Bolivia Riyadh

Oct 12 Saudi Arabia 0-2 Brazil Riyadh

Oct 15 Saudi Arabia 1-1 Iraq Riyadh

Nov 16 Saudi Arabia 1-0 Yemen Dammam

Nov 20 Jordan 1-1 Saudi Arabia Amman

Fixtures:

Group E

Jan 8 Saudi Arabia v North Korea Dubai

Jan 12 Lebanon v Saudi Arabia Dubai

Jan 17 Saudi Arabia v Qatar Abu Dhabi

Saudi Arabia’s early exit from this year’s World Cup was not a huge surprise given their recent pedigree on the global stage but at the Asian Cup their fans have reason to expect much, much better.

The Green Falcons were once a dominant force in Asian football and reached the final in six of seven tournaments from 1984 to 2007, winning the continental title three times including back-to-back triumphs in 1984 and 1988.

The days when they were one of the major powers in the region are a fading memory now, though, and in the last two versions of the Asian Cup they have failed to progress from their group.

Compiled by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; editing by Sudipto Ganguly

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