Results

Asia - World Cup Qualifying 06/11 10:14 6 [1] Japan v Syria [2] L 5-0
Asia - World Cup Qualifying 06/06 13:00 5 [3] North Korea v Syria [2] L 1-0
Asia - World Cup Qualifying 03/26 19:00 4 [2] Syria v Myanmar [4] W 7-0
Asia - World Cup Qualifying 03/21 11:30 3 [4] Myanmar v Syria [3] D 1-1
AFC Asian Cup 01/31 16:00 4 [1] Iran v Syria [3] L 6-4
AFC Asian Cup 01/23 11:30 3 [3] Syria v India [4] W 1-0
AFC Asian Cup 01/18 11:30 2 [2] Syria v Australia [1] L 0-1
AFC Asian Cup 01/13 17:30 1 [3] Uzbekistan v Syria [2] D 0-0
International Match 01/08 17:30 - Syria v Malaysia D 2-2
International Match 01/05 14:30 - Kyrgyzstan v Syria D 1-1
Asia - World Cup Qualifying 11/21 14:45 2 [3] Syria v Japan [1] L 0-5
Asia - World Cup Qualifying 11/16 17:00 1 [3] Syria v North Korea [2] W 1-0

Stats

 TotalHomeAway
Matches played 16 8 8
Wins 4 3 1
Draws 6 2 4
Losses 6 3 3
Goals for 18 14 4
Goals against 22 12 10
Clean sheets 5 3 2
Failed to score 6 2 4

The Syria national football team (Arabic: منتخب سُورِيَا لِكُرَّةُ الْقَدَم) represents Syria in international football, and is controlled by the Syrian Arab Federation for Football, the governing body for football in Syria. Syria has never qualified for the World Cup finals, but did reach the fourth qualification round in 2018. The team is currently banned by FIFA from playing at home, as they have not hosted a game since December 2010. Internationally, Syria won the 2012 WAFF Championship, 1957 Arab Games and the 1987 Mediterranean Games.

History

From 1936 to 1969: The beginnings

The Syrian Football Federation was founded in 1936, 10 years before independence from the French in 1946. It has been affiliated with FIFA since 1937 and has been a member of AFC since 1969. Syria played its first unofficial matches under the name of Damascus XI with Lebanon (5–4) in 1939 and with Iraq (1–2) in 1944.

Syria played their first official game against Lebanon on 19 April 1942; Qasioun Eagles won 2–1. Syria's first official qualifying match was played in Ankara against Turkey, which ended in a Syrian defeat 7–0 on 20 November 1949. Thanks to that, the Syrian team participated in the 1950 World Cup European qualifiers as one of the first teams in the region to do so. One of the biggest defeats was played in Athens against Greece, on 25 November 1949, 5 days after its first official match which ended in a score of 8–0 for the Greeks.

At the 1951 Mediterranean Games in Alexandria, on 12 October 1951, one of Syria's biggest defeats was recorded against Egypt which ended with a score of 8–0 for the Pharaohs.

Francisc Mészáros, who became the second coach of the Syrian national team in 1954.

The first great success of the national team was silver at the 1953 Arab Games, when they were defeated in the final by Egypt (4–0). At the 1957 Arab Games in Beirut, they advanced to the finals after the semi-final defeat of Morocco, in which they defeated Tunisia with goals scored by Shamas and Awadis Kaoulakian 3–1.

In the FIFA World Cup 1958 qualifiers, the Syrian football team was defeated by the Sudan in the 1st round of the playoffs. Between 1958 and 1961, the team combined with Egypt to form the United Arab Republic national football team, although the team's records are attributed only to Egypt by FIFA. Syria reached the finals in the Arab Cup twice: in 1963 (beaten by Tunisia) and 1966 (beaten by Iraq).

In the 1966 World Cup qualifiers they were one of two teams from the Asian zone (the other being Israel) to be allocated to the European qualifying zone and were originally placed with Spain and the Republic of Ireland. However, they joined the Asian and African boycott of the 1966 qualifiers, due to the decision of FIFA to allocate just one place between Asia and Africa.

1970s: Successes in Arab competitions

In the 1970s, they regularly participated in the Palestine Cup, which served as a substitute for the Arab Cup. At the 1972 Palestine Cup, they placed fourth when they lost 1–3 to Algeria. At the 1973 Palestine Cup, they advanced from the group stage to the semifinals, where they eliminated Algeria after penalties (0–0, pen. 3–2). In the final of the cup, they clearly lost to Tunisia 0–4.

In the 1974 Kuneitra Cup, the Qasioun Eagles entered the knockout phase after the group defeat of Sudan, Libya, Palestine and North Yemen. In the semifinals of the cup, they defeated Tunisia (3–1), but in the final, they unfortunately lost to Morocco after a penalty shootout.

For the 1974 World Cup, they finished second in the group in the 1st round of the qualification, behind Iran, insufficient to advance to the next round.

At the 1975 Palestine Cup, they eliminated Libya in the group stage, but lost to Iraq in the semifinals 0: 4 and in the bronze medal match with Sudan 0–1. In 1976, Damascus hosted the Arab Games, whose football tournament was played at the Abbasiyyin Stadium, where the home Syrian team won bronze medals.

In the 1978 FIFA World Cup qualification, the Qasioun Eagles did not go through the first round, as despite losing one victory over Saudi Arabia (2–0) they lost both matches to Iran, finishing in third place in the group.

The years 1980-1996: an improvement in Syrian football

The Syrian team made it to the 1980 Olympics thanks to Iran, as the team withdrew due to the American-led boycott of the Olympics. Despite losing 0–3 to Algeria and 0–5 to the GDR, they gained experience from big matches. However, the most valuable result in the tournament was a draw with a strong Spain 0–0.

The Syrian team took part in the three editions of the Asian Nations Cup in the 1980s. In the 1980 Asian Cup, they finished 3rd out of 5 in the group stage, behind North Korea and Iran, ahead of China and Bangladesh.

In the 1984 Asian Nations Cup, they finished 4th out of 5 in the 1st round, ahead of South Korea, behind Qatar, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. In the 1988 Asian Nations Cup, they finished 3rd out of 5 still in the 1st round, behind China and Saudi Arabia, ahead of Kuwait and Bahrain. The two Syrian scorers were with one goal each: Walid Nasser and Walid Al-Hel. They were finalists in the Arab Nations Cup in 1988 (beaten by Iraq).[]

For the qualifiers of the 1982 World Cup, they finished last in the group stage behind Qatar, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain. As for the qualification round of the 1986 World Cup, Syria came very close to a qualification which would have been historic, since it passed the 1st round ahead of Kuwait and North Yemen, beat Bahrain and lost in the final qualifying round to Iraq 1–3 on aggregate, with the only Syrian goal scored by Walid Abu Al-Sel.

Valeriy Yaremchenko, the coach who led Syria to victory at the 1987 Mediterranean Games

One of the greatest successes of the Qasioun Eagles in the 1980s was the participation in the finals of the 1987 Mediterranean Games, which took place in Latakia, and the defeat of the France team 2–1.

In the 1990 World Cup qualifiers, the national team placed second in the first round after losing to Saudi Arabia 4–5 (goal scorers: Mahrous, Jakalan, Al-Nasser and Helou).

In 1992, the Arab Games were held in Syria, which included the Arab Cup In this tournament, the Syrian national team led by Virgil Dridea placed 4th after advancing to the semifinals (losing to Egypt 4–3 on penalties) and losing in the bronze medal match with Kuwait 1–2.

During the 1994 World Cup qualifiers, they led the qualifying group after winning over Taiwan and Oman, but due to draws with Iran (0–0 and 1–1, goal scored by Abdul Latif Helou), they did not advance to the second round.

In the 1st round of the 1996 Asian Cup, the Syrian team beat Uzbekistan (2–1), thanks to goals from Nader Joukhadar and Ali Dib, but they were beaten by Japan (1–2, goal by Nader Joukhadar) and by China (0–3). By finishing 3rd in the group, they had a chance to qualify for the quarterfinals but having a low score compared to the other two countries (Iraq and South Korea), the team finished as the worst 3rd, again missed the knockout phase.[]

From 1996 to 2007: Years of hope and disappointment

Chadi Cheikh Merai in 1997

At the 1997 Arab Games in Beirut, they reached the final, in which Jordan defeated them 0–1.

One of Syria's biggest victories was recorded in Tehran on 4 June 1997, against the Maldives, a match that ended with a final score of 12–0 for the Syrians. 5 days later it faces again the Maldives, still in Tehran, which ends with the same score of 12–0. These two matches were played as a part of the qualification for the 1998 World Cup, where it was eliminated in the first preliminary round, ahead of Iran.

The Syrian team was twice finalist in 2000 and 2004 of a regional competition, the West Asian Football Championship, beaten each time by Iran; as they reached the semi-finals of the West Asian Championship 2002 held at home but lost to Jordan on a golden goal scored in the last minutes of extra time (1–2), before losing to Iran on penalties during the match for the 3rd place (2–2, 2–4).[]

Syria v Iran, friendly match (2006)

As for the qualification of the World Cup 2002, they were overtaken by Oman at 1st, while being ahead of the Philippines and Laos.

In the qualifiers for the 2006 World Cup, they did not advance to the third stage after uncertain match performances and losses with Bahrain (1–2) and Kyrgyzstan (0–1).

Syria v India, 2007 Nehru Cup

During this period, the national team participated in the 2007 Nehru Cup, where after the first victory over Bangladesh (2–0) they defeated Kyrgyzstan (4–1), India (3–2) and Cambodia (5–1) and advanced to the finals. The top scorers were famous Syrian stars Zyad Chaabo (5 goals) and Maher Al-Sayed (4 goals). But the cup final for the team did not turn out well, because they lost to India 0–1.

From 2007 to 2012: Great achievements

Fajr Ibrahim led Syria twice to the semifinals of the West Asian Cup

In 2007, Syria advanced to the WAAF Cup under the leadership of coach Fajr Ibrahim, where they after victories over Lebanon and Jordan (both 1–0), lost in the semifinals to Iraq 0–3.

A year later, the Qasioun Eagles took part in the 2008 WAAF Cup, where after a 2–1 victory over Oman and a draw with Jordan, they advanced to the semifinals, where they lost to Iran (0–2).

At the 2009 Nehru Cup, Syria sovereignly won the group stage, defeating Sri Lanka, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon and, in a close match, India (1–0). In the final of the cup, they encountered India, with which they lost 1–2 on penalties (the only Syrian scorer was Ali Diab).

In the qualifications for the World Cup 2010, the team of Syria beat Afghanistan in the 1st round, then Indonesia in the 2nd round, but narrowly failed in the 3rd round to qualify for the 4th round, due to an unfavorable goal average, behind UAE and Iran, but ahead of Kuwait.

Syrian line-up against Japan at the 2011 Asian Cup

The Syrian team qualified for the 2011 AFC Asian Cup in Qatar after a long absence from it since 1996, where it ascended to the championship without any loss in the qualifiers. They were eliminated from the group stage again after losing to Jordan and Japan and defeating Saudi Arabia. Shortly afterwards, they were disqualified from the 2014 World Cup due to the use of an ineligible player.

In December 2012, Syria beat Iraq in the final of West Asia Cup to collect its first major trophy and Ahmad Al Saleh became the scorer of the historic winning goal (1–0). Official Syrian television interrupted its broadcasts to announce the victory and show the presentation of the cup live.

From 2013 to 2016: Withdrawal from positions

In 2013, the Syrian team withdrew from the WAAF Cup due to the Syrian Civil War. In the following years, the situation in the national team was not good because they could not play at home stadiums.

Syria national football team in Tehran: 2015 AFC Asian Cup qualification

The Syrian national team missed the 2015 AFC Asian Cup after failing to qualify and occupying third place in Group A which included Jordan, Singapore and Oman. In 2016, Syria took part in the King's Cup under national team captain Mosab Balhous and head coach Ayman Hakeem, where they lost in the semifinals after a penalty shootout with Thailand and defeated the United Arab Emirates 1–0 in third place match.

2018 World Cup qualifiers: Syria close to great success

Ever since war broke out in the country, Syria have been banned from playing home games in their own country and in fact were one day away from being thrown out of the 2018 World Cup only for Malaysia to swoop in at the last minute and offer to host all of Syria's home games.

After finishing in second place in Group E during the 2018 World Cup 2nd qualifying round, behind Japan, but ahead of Singapore, Afghanistan and Cambodia. Syria was among the top 4 (2nd) and obtained the right to play in the 3rd round, in addition to being qualified for the next Asian Cup.

2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers, Syria v Iran

They were transferred to group A, along with Iran, South Korea, Uzbekistan, China and Qatar. On 5 September 2017, Syria qualified for the first time in their history for the play-offs of a World Cup by finishing 3rd in their group with 13 points, level on points with Uzbekistan, but ahead in the standings thanks to better goal difference, following of their draw gleaned in stoppage time on the lawn of the Iran (2–2) in the last match.

This was the best performance by Qasioun Eagles to date in a World Cup qualifying phase. The prospect of a historic qualification for a final phase of the World Cup has given rise to a momentary halt to the conflict which has ravaged the country for six years, as well as the installation of giant screens by the authorities in the main public squares of major cities to follow the decisive match against Iran.

Syria v Australia

On 5 October 2017 in Malacca, Syria managed to draw (1–1) against Australia thanks to a converted penalty in the 85th minute by Omar Al Somah, who had already equalized in stoppage time in the last pool match against Iran, responding to the opening goal in the first half of Robbie Kruse.

In the return match played five days later in Sydney, the Syrians opened the scoring in the 6th minute of play, once again thanks to Al Somah, but Tim Cahill tied the two teams seven minutes after the opening goal.[]

The two teams continued to neutralize each other and it was in extra time that Australia took a decisive advantage in the 109th minute of play thanks to a new goal from Cahill, dashing Syria's last hopes of participating in a World Cup. Reduced to 10 at the start of extra time, Syria nevertheless bravely tried their luck, narrowly missing the equalizer and qualification for the Intercontinental play-off during stoppage time in the 2nd half of extra time on a free kick from the essential Al Somah who found the post.

2019 Asian Cup: a missed opportunity

At the 2019 AFC Asian Cup (Group B) in the United Arab Emirates, Syria under the leadership of then-head coach Bernd Stange, the national team drew 0–0 with Palestine in the first match of the tournament. Syria failed to advance from the group stage after losing to Australia (2–3) and Jordan (0–2).

2019 Asia Cup, Syria v Palestine

The Syrian coach Bernd Stange was sacked after this tournament, and replaced with former manager Fajr Ibrahim. The team's game didn't improve much after this intervention as they suffered an agonizing loss to Australia after an injury time goal by Tom Rogic in the second half, confirming Syria's elimination.

From 2019 to the present

In qualifying for the 2022 World Cup, which began in the fall of 2019, they were placed second in Group A of the 2nd round after the draw. In the first matches of the group, the Qasioun Eagles comfortably won first over the Philippines (5–2), Maldives (2–1) and Guam (4–0). Subsequently, in an important match, they defeated China 2–1 after Osama Omari's goal and Zhang Linpeng's own goal. In the next match, the national team defeated the Philippines 1–0 with a decisive goal by midfielder Ward Al Salama. On 11 March 2020, Tunisian Nabil Maâloul was appointed head coach of Syria.

Nabil Maâloul, Syria's head coach from 2020 to 2021

The last matches in the group were played in 2021 due to COVID-19 in Asia, when they first defeated the Maldives (4–0) and Guam (3–0), confirming their 1st place, advanced to the 2023 AFC Asian Cup and also to the third stage of qualifying for the 2022 World Cup. With the 1st place assured, Syria then lost to China 1–3 in the final game, which was irrelevant to the final standing.

Omar Khribin, 2017 Asian Footballer of the Year and one of the key players of the national team

Nabil Maâloul resigned on June 15, 2021, due to disagreements with the leadership of the football federation. Nizar Mahrous replaced him for the next qualification phase. The team started this part of the qualification with unconvincing results with Iran (0–1), UAE (1–1) and South Korea (1–2), with both Syrian goals scored by Omar Khribin and Mahmoud Al Baher. After a humiliating defeat in the Levantine derby with Lebanon (2–3, the scorers were Khrbin and Somah), a draw with Iraq (1–1 only goal was scored by Somah) and a high defeat with Iran (0–3), the head coach Mahrous was fired.

At the 2021 FIFA Arab Cup, under the leadership of new coach Valeriu Tița, they showed up in good form. They played the first match in Group B against the UAE, which they lost 1–2. In the next match, Syria played well despite the previous results, as Oliver Kass Kawo and Mouhamad Anez scored 2–0 over the big favorite from Tunisia. In their last group match, the Qasioun Eagles lost very badly to Mauritania 1–2 when the equalizing goal was scored by Mahmoud Al Baher in the 52nd minute. They took the 3rd place in the group and the 9th place overall.

In the last qualifying matches, they lost first to the UAE 0–2 then to South Korea with the same score, and due to these results, Tița was dismissed. Ghassan Maatouk was appointed as the new national head coach on February 9, 2022, leading the team to victory in the derby with Lebanon (3–0) and a draw with Iraq (1–1) in the last two matches. As a result, the Syrian team finished 5th in Group A.

2023 AFC Asian Cup: Syria reach the knockout stage for the first time ever

Syria qualified for their seventh AFC Asian Cup in 2023, and during this tournament, they made the knockout stage for the first time in their history by ranking as one of the best ranked third place team, after being drawn into Group B alongside Australia, India and Uzbekistan. In the round of 16, Syria lost against Iran in the penalty shootouts following a 1–1 draw after extra time, despite their numerical superiority at the start of injury time following a 2nd yellow card for Mehdi Taremi.

The Syria national soccer team, also known as the Syrian Arab Republic national football team, represents Syria in international soccer competitions. The team is governed by the Syrian Arab Football Federation and has a rich history in the sport.

The Syria national team has had some notable successes in recent years, including qualifying for the AFC Asian Cup in 2019 and reaching the final round of World Cup qualifying in 2021. The team has a passionate fan base and plays their home matches at the Abbasiyyin Stadium in Damascus.

The Syria national team is known for their strong defensive play and tactical discipline on the field. They have produced some talented players who have gone on to play for clubs in Europe and the Middle East.

Overall, the Syria national soccer team is a competitive and respected team in the region, and they continue to strive for success on the international stage.