Qatar’s football’s origins go back to the 1940s when the earliest oil workers organised matches among themselves.
For decades, tournaments were organised by the Qatar Oil Company, until the formation of the Qatar Football Association (QFA) in 1960, which launched the country’s inaugural league competition in 1963-64.
Qatar made their international debut against Bahrain in 1970 before competing in the inaugural Arabian Gulf Cup that same year.
They played in their first FIFA World Cup™ qualifier in 1977 when they defeated Bahrain 2-0.
Their first notable display on the international stage came in 1981 when the U-20 side reached the final of the FIFA World Youth Championship – now known as the FIFA U-20 World Cup – in Australia.
They defeated Poland, Brazil and England before losing 4-0 to West Germany in the final. Qatar continued to make its mark on the beautiful game in subsequent decades.
The Maroons reached the quarter-finals of the Olympic Games in 1992, and that same year, won the first of three Arabian Gulf Cup titles.
They also claimed the gold medal at the 2006 Asian Games and a West Asian Football Federation Championship title.
However, it was in 2019 that Qatar pulled off their biggest footballing achievement by winning the AFC Asian Cup in the United Arab Emirates.
Qatar’s journey to becoming champions of Asia included victories over 2018 World Cup qualifiers Saudi Arabia, Korea Republic and Japan.
In preparing to be World Cup hosts in 2022, Qatar appeared in the 2019 Copa America in Brazil and the 2021 CONCACAF Gold Cup in the United States as a guest nation.
As the host team, Qatar finished third at the FIFA Arab Cup 2021™ – the first pan-Arab tournament to be held under the FIFA umbrella.
Domestically, the 12-team Qatar Stars League (QSL) is the country’s top professional league and has featured top players like Xavi Hernandez, Samuel Eto’o and Wesley Sneijder in recent years.
Al Sadd are the most successful Qatari club, having twice won the AFC Champions League title, in 1989 and 2011.