|Nickname(s)|| (Muharabi Dilmun, Dilmun's Warriors) |
(Ghawaseen Al-Lulu, The Pearl Divers)
|Association||Bahrain Football Association|
|WAFF (West Asia)|
|Head coach||Hélio Sousa|
|Captain||Sayed Mohammed Jaffer|
|Most caps||Salman Isa (156)|
|Top scorer||Ismail Abdul-Latif (42)|
|Home stadium||Bahrain National Stadium|
|Current||97 (18 February 2021)|
|Highest||44 (September 2004)|
|Lowest||139 (March 2000)|
| Bahrain 4-4 Kuwait |
(Baghdad, Iraq; 2 April 1966)
| Bahrain 10-0 Indonesia |
(Riffa, Bahrain; 29 February 2012)
| Iraq 10-1 Bahrain |
(Baghdad, Iraq; 5 April 1966)
|Appearances||6 (first in 1988)|
|Best result||Fourth place, (2004)|
|Appearances||4 (first in 2010)|
|Best result||Champions, (2019)|
The Bahrain national football team (Arabic: ? ? ) represents Bahrain in international football and is controlled by the Bahrain Football Association, which was founded in 1951 and joined FIFA in 1966. They have never reached the World Cup, but have twice come within one match of doing so. Bahrain won the FIFA's most improved team award in 2004, and finished fourth in the 2004 Asian Cup, beating Uzbekistan in the quarter-finals but losing to Japan in the semi-finals 4-3. Bahrain then lost to Iran in the third-place match, thus finishing in fourth place overall. Bahrain had a golden year in 2019, winning both the WAFF Championship and the Arabian Gulf Cup for the first time, under the stewardship of Hélio Sousa.
Despite the first national team was founded in 1959, Bahraini team was only first officially assembled in 1966 where they played a friendly game against Kuwait, where they drew 4-4. At that time, despite being under British rule, Bahrain was given autonomy and they had utilized this opportunity to expand its football development. Nonetheless, Bahrain was regarded as a weaker side in the Gulf Arab region, where it constituted stronger Saudi Arabia, Qatar, UAE and Kuwait. For this reason, Bahrain's international feat had been mostly limited in the Arabian Gulf Cup.
In 1988, Bahrain qualified to its first ever AFC Asian Cup, but finished bottom with only two draws in the 1988 AFC Asian Cup. Since then, Bahraini side remained neglected and less invested, despite its youth successes at the U-17 and U-20. Only by the end of the 20th century, Bahrain began to really emerge and would change the country's football history.
Bahrain managed a fine performance during 2000 AFC Asian Cup qualification and 2002 FIFA World Cup qualification, the latter was the first time Bahrain reached the final round. Despite being unable to reach either of them, Bahrain managed one of their greatest football feats, by beating Iran in both qualifications 1-0 in Damascus in 2000 Asian Cup run, and 3-1 at home in 2002 World Cup run, which remains one of the most embarrassing defeats for Iranian football. This win, though mean less for Bahrain, did manage to pull Iran out from reaching a direct World Cup ticket and helped Saudi Arabia to qualify for 2002 FIFA World Cup, Iran later failed to qualify; Bahraini fans had waged Saudi flag as a response of this win, fueling tensions between Bahrain and Iran.
The form of Bahrain in 2004 AFC Asian Cup was a complete stunning for many. In their just second appearance, Bahrain was drawn with mighty host China, neighbor Qatar and Southeast Asia's finest Indonesia. However, Bahrain went on undefeated at the group stage, including a famous 2-2 draw to China in Beijing, 1-1 to Qatar before trashed Indonesia 3-1 to reach the quarter-finals for the first time. Then, Bahrain overcame Uzbekistan on penalty shootout in the quarter-finals, having being held 2-2. Bahrain put up another astonishing performance against defending champions Japan, only lost 3-4 after extra time, before losing 2-4 to Iran in the third place game. This tournament would mark the rise of Bahrain as a serious competitor for football in Asia.
After Uzbekistan and Bahrain both finished third in their respective groups during the 2006 World Cup qualifiers, Bahrain entered a two-legged playoff with Uzbekistan, which they won on away goals with an aggregate score of 1-1. This allowed Bahrain to enter another two-legged playoff with the fourth-placed CONCACAF nation, (Trinidad and Tobago), for a spot in the World Cup. But a 0-1 Bahrain loss in Manama after a 1-1 draw in Port of Spain saw the CONCACAF nation go through.
Bahrain played in group D in the 2007 AFC Asian Cup qualification group games. Bahrain fielded a side which was essentially the Olympic (under 23) team against Australia, and they lost 2-0. Bahrain qualified for the 2007 Asian Cup after defeating Kuwait in their last match. Bahrain were knocked out in the group stage via two losses against Indonesia and Saudi Arabia, despite a shock win against Korea Republic.
In the third round of the 2010 World Cup qualifiers, Bahrain were drawn into group B along with Japan, Oman, and Thailand. They finished second overall to qualify to the final round, in which Bahrain finished third overall in their group, below Australia and Japan, but above Uzbekistan and Qatar. In the second leg of the playoff against Saudi Arabia to decide Asia's fifth best team, Bahrain drew 2-2 with Saudi Arabia after scoring in stoppage time which allowed them to go through on away goals, after drawing their home leg 0-0. They went on to play New Zealand in the final playoff in which a victory would qualify them for the World Cup, but after a goalless draw in Manama on 10 October 2009, Bahrain lost the return leg 1-0 in Wellington on 14 November 2009, missing out on qualification at the last hurdle for the second time running.
AFC 5th place v OFC winner play-offs:
In the 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifiers, Bahrain did considerably worse. In the third round, they were drawn against Indonesia, Iran and Qatar. Although they managed to defeat Indonesia both home and away, they also lost 6-0 by Iran away from home, and drew their other 3 games. Although they had a higher goal difference than Qatar, they needed an extra point to advance to the next round, or Qatar had to be beaten by Iran in the final round. If they had also drawn to Iran away from home, they would have advanced. But neither luck came to them, and their campaign ended in the third round, their worst result since the 1998 World Cup qualifiers.
In the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifiers second round, Bahrain finished fourth in a group with Uzbekistan, North Korea, Philippines and Yemen. The poor performance of the Bahraini side caused huge public uproar over the team's ongoing decline, rocked the chair of manager Sergio Batista. He was eventually sacked and replaced by Czech youth coach Miroslav Soukup, who decided to revamp the team.
Later on, Bahrain participated in the 2019 AFC Asian Cup qualification, where finished first in the third round in a group with Turkmenistan, Chinese Taipei and Singapore, to qualify to the next AFC Asian Cup. However, the team's performance was far from perfect. The team suffered a home draw to minnows Singapore, before getting humiliated by Chinese Taipei away 1-2 that was considered as a shock, since Taiwan is not a football nation. This defeat also prompted Bahrain's main star, Ismail Abdullatif, to retire from the team.
Bahrain managed some promising performance during this deteriorating era, reaching semi-finals of the 23rd Arabian Gulf Cup held in Kuwait.
At the 2019 AFC Asian Cup, Bahrain was grouped with India, Thailand and hosts United Arab Emirates. The Bahrainis managed a promising early performance when they faced the hosts, scored a goal lead in 78', but was eventually held 1-1 following an unclear penalty decision by the Jordanian referee Adham Makhadmeh. However, Bahrain suffered a blasting loss to Thailand 0-1, leaving the team flounder despite its earlier performance. In the final match against India, which the Indians only required a draw to progress, Bahrain however managed to get a needed penalty in injury time, where Jamal Rashid turned hero as Bahrain won the fixture 1-0 to seal the team into the knockout stage for the only second times ever, and eliminated the Indians from the competition. The Bahraini side then played its own round of sixteen match, where they lost 2-1 to South Korea after extra time. This was considered as a major success for Bahraini football, and was considered to be the end of the country's football misfortune that endured since 2010s.
Afterwards, Bahrain managed to win two competitions for the first time, after defeating both Iraq and Saudi Arabia, 1-0 under the leadership of Hélio Sousa against all odds, in the WAFF Championship and Gulf Cup respectively. Bahrain also defeated Iran 1-0 in the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualification Round 2, delivering a major upset in the qualifying process.
|FIFA World Cup record||FIFA World Cup Qualification record|
|1930||Did not enter||Did not enter|
|1978||Did not qualify||4||1||0||3||4||6|
|1994||Did not qualify||8||3||3||2||9||6|
|2022||To be determined|
|2026||To be determined|
|AFC Asian Cup Finals record||AFC Asian Cup qualification|
|Hosts / year||Result||Position||GP||W||D||L||GF||GA||GP||W||D||L||GF||GA|
|1956||Did not enter||Did not enter|
|1972||Did not qualify||4||2||0||2||8||4|
|1980||Withdrew after qualifying||3||0||0||3||0||5|
|1992||Did not qualify||2||0||0||2||1||5|
|2000||Did not qualify||6||3||0||3||6||6|
|2019||Round of 16||14th||4||1||1||2||3||4||14||7||1||6||25||13|
|2023||To be determined||5||2||3||0||3||1|
|Arabian Gulf Cup record|
|Arab Nations Cup record|
|1963||Did not enter|
|1992||Did not enter|
|Asian Games record|
|1951||Did not enter|
|1982||Did not enter|
|1990||Did not enter|
|1998||Did not enter|
|2002-present||See Bahrain national under-23 football team|
|Pan Arab Games record|
|1953||Did not enter|
|2007||Did not enter|
|WAFF Championship record|
|2000||Did not participate|
The following is a list of match results in the last 12 months, as well as any future matches that have been scheduled.
|7 November 2020||Police Officers' Club Stadium, Dubai||Tajikistan||Friendly||1-0 W||44' Al Romaihi|
|12 November 2020||Theyab Awana Stadium, Dubai||Lebanon||Friendly||3-1 W||53' Isa, 58' Al Aswad, 82' Marhoon|
|16 November 2020||Police Officers' Club Stadium, Dubai||United Arab Emirates||Friendly||3-1 W||75' (p) Marhoon; 82', 86' Al Romaihi|
The following players were called up for the 24th Arabian Gulf Cup.
Caps and goals updated as of 2 August 2019.
|No.||Pos.||Player||Date of birth (age)||Caps||Goals||Club|
|GK||Sayed Jaffer||25 August 1985||115||0||Al-Muharraq|
|GK||Sayed Shubbar Alawi||11 August 1985||19||0||Al-Riffa|
|GK||Hamed Al-Doseri||24 July 1989||7||0||Al-Hala|
|DF||Waleed Al Hayam||3 February 1991||60||0||Al-Muharraq|
|DF||Abdulla Al-Haza'a||19 July 1990||41||0||East Riffa|
|DF||Ahmed Abdulla||1 April 1987||20||3||Al-Najma|
|DF||Sayed Redha Isa||7 August 1994||13||0||Al-Riffa|
|DF||Sayed Baqer||14 April 1994||10||0||Al-Riffa|
|DF||Mohamed Adel||20 September 1996||7||0||Manama|
|DF||Ahmed Bughammar||30 December 1997||1||0||Al-Hidd|
|DF||Ahmed Nabeel||25 August 1995||0||0||Manama|
|MF||Sayed Dhiya Saeed||17 July 1992||78||3||Al-Nasr|
|MF||Abdulwahab Al-Malood||7 June 1990||43||4||Al-Hidd|
|MF||Kamil Al Aswad||8 April 1994||39||3||Al-Riffa|
|MF||Ali Madan||30 November 1995||27||4||Al-Najma|
|MF||Jasim Al-Shaikh||1 February 1996||9||0||Al-Ahli|
|MF||Ali Haram||11 December 1988||4||0||Al-Riffa|
|MF||Mohammed Al-Hardan||6 October 1997||9||1||Al-Muharraq|
|MF||Mohamed Abdulwahab||13 November 1989||0||0||Al-Hidd|
|MF||Issa Ali Jihad||14 March 1993||0||0||Manama|
|FW||Ismail Abdullatif||11 September 1986||111||40||Al-Muharraq|
|FW||Sami Al-Husaini||29 September 1989||68||8||East Riffa|
|FW||Abdulla Yusuf Helal||12 June 1993||40||5||Slovan Liberec|
The following players have been called up for the Bahrain squad within the last twelve months.
|Pos.||Player||Date of birth (age)||Caps||Goals||Club||Latest call-up|
Note: Caps and goals may be incomplete for certain players, therefore being inaccurate.
Most capped players
|Head coach||Hélio Sousa|
|Assistant coach||Jose Carniero|
|Assistant coach||Ahmed Isa|
|Goalkeeper coach||Pedro Roma|
|Fitness coach||Jose Herculano|
|Team Analyst||Ahmed Kamal|