The Bahrain national football team represents Bahrain in international football and is controlled by the Bahrain Football Association, which was founded in 1951 and joined FIFA in 1966. Bahrain won the FIFA Team of the Year award in 2004, and finished fourth at the 2004 Asian Cup, beating Uzbekistan in the quarter-finals but losing to Japan 4–3 in the semi-finals. But Bahrain then lost to Iran in the third-place match, thus finishing fourth overall. Bahrain had a golden year in 2019, winning both the WAFF Championship and the Arabian Gulf Cup for the first time under Helio Sousa. Bahrain Football History.
Although the first national team was founded in 1959, the Bahraini team only officially assembled for the first time in 1966 when they played a friendly against Kuwait, where they drew 4–4. At that time, despite being under British rule, Bahrain was granted autonomy and used this opportunity to develop football. Nevertheless, Bahrain was perceived as a weak side in the Gulf Arab region, which strengthened Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, and Kuwait. For this reason, Bahrain’s international success has been largely limited to the Arabian Gulf Cup.
In 1988, Bahrain qualified for their first AFC Asian Cup but finished bottom of the 1988 AFC Asian Cup with only two draws. Since then, the Bahrain side has been overlooked and under-invested despite the youth successes at Under-17 and Under-20 levels. Only by the end of the 20th century, did Bahrain really begins to emerge and would change the country’s football history.
Bahrain National Football Team
Bahrain performed well during the 2000 AFC Asian Cup qualification and 2002 FIFA World Cup qualification, the latter reaching the final round for the first time. Despite failing to reach either of those, Bahrain defeated Iran 1–0 in both qualifiers at the 2000 Asian Cup in Damascus, and 3–1 at home in the 2002 World Cup run-in managed one of his greatest football exploits, which remained The most embarrassing defeat of Iranian football.
The win, although of little consequence to Bahrain, eliminated Iran from direct qualification to the World Cup and helped Saudi Arabia qualify for the 2002 FIFA World Cup, which Iran subsequently qualified for. failed to do. In response to the win, Bahraini fans waved the Saudi flag, raising tensions between Bahrain and Iran.
Asian Cup 2014
Bahrain’s form in the 2004 AFC Asian Cup was a complete surprise to many. In just their second appearance, Bahrain drew with mighty hosts China, neighbors Qatar and Southeast Asia’s best Indonesia. However, Bahrain remained unbeaten in the group stage, including a 2-2 draw with China in Beijing, a 1-1 draw with Qatar, and a 3-1 win over Indonesia to reach the quarter-finals for the first time.
Bahrain defeated Uzbekistan in a penalty shoot-out in the quarter-finals, which ended 2-2. Bahrain put in another surprise performance against defending champions Japan, losing only 3-4 after extra time, before losing 2-4 to Iran in the third-place game. The tournament will see Bahrain emerge as a serious football contender in Asia.
Asian Cup 2007
Bahrain played in Group D in the 2007 AFC Asian Cup qualification group games. And Bahrain fielded what was essentially an Olympic (under-23) team against Australia, and lost 2-0. Bahrain qualified for the 2007 Asian Cup by defeating Kuwait in their last match. Bahrain was knocked out in the group stage by two defeats against Indonesia and Saudi Arabia, despite a shock win against the Korean Republic.
World Cup 2010
In the third round of the 2010 World Cup qualifiers, Bahrain was draw in Group B alongside Japan, Oman, and Thailand. They finished second overall to qualify for the final round, with Bahrain finishing third in their group. Below Australia and Japan, but above Uzbekistan and Qatar. In the second leg of the play-off against Saudi Arabia to decide the fifth-best team in Asia. Bahrain drew 2–2 with Saudi Arabia after a stoppage-time goal that allowed them to advance their home leg.
After a 0-0 draw, there was a chance to go to the away goal. They went on to play New Zealand in the final play-off, with victory qualifying them for the World Cup. But after a goalless draw in Manama on 10 October 2009. Bahrain came back 1–0 in Wellington on 14 November 2009. Disqualifying at the last hurdle in the race for the second time. Bahrain Football History.
2018 FIFA World Cup
In the second round of the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifiers. Bahrain finished fourth in a group alongside Uzbekistan, North Korea, the Philippines, and Yemen. The Bahraini team’s poor performance sparked a public outcry over the team’s continued decline, shaking manager Sergio Batista’s chair. He was eventually fire and replaced by Czech youth coach Miroslav Sukop, who decided to reform the team. Bahrain Football History.
2019 AFC Asian Cup
Bahrain participated in the 2019 AFC Asian Cup qualifiers. Where they qualified for the next AFC Asian Cup by finishing first in the third round in a group with Turkmenistan, Chinese Taipei, and Singapore. However, the team’s performance was far from perfect. The team suffered a home draw with Singapore before being humiliate 1-2 by Chinese Taipei. Which was consider a shock, as Taiwan is not a football country. This defeat also forced Bahrain’s main star, Ismail Abdul Latif, to retire from the team.
In this deteriorating period, Bahrain showed some promising performances. And reached the semi-finals of the 23rd Arabian Gulf Cup held in Kuwait. For more details click here