Fifa Arab Cup 2021: Groups, fixtures and how to watch on TV

16 teams will contest the competition at Qatar World Cup 2022 venues

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The Fifa Arab Cup 2021 kicks off in Qatar on Tuesday, with the UAE one of 16 teams competing. Here’s a breakdown on the rebranded tournament, which is viewed as a prelude to the 2022 World Cup.

What is it?

The Fifa Arab Cup, a 16-team tournament. Taking place in Qatar almost exactly a year before the World Cup, it is viewed as an important opportunity to test operations and facilities ahead of the Middle East’s first global finals. All teams involved compete under the auspices of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) or the Confederation of African Football (Caf). Although the tournament dates back to 1963, this year’s event represents the first under the Fifa banner.

When is it?

November 30 to December 18. The final takes place on Qatar’s National Day, just like next year’s World Cup.

Where is it?

The 32 matches will be played at six venues used for next year's World Cup: Al Bayt Stadium (Al Khor), Al Janoub Stadium (Al Wakrah), Al Thumama Stadium (Al Thumama), Stadium 974 (Doha), Khalifa International Stadium (Doha), Education City Stadium (Al Rayyan), Ahmad bin Ali Stadium (Al Rayyan).

Who plays who?

The draw was made in Doha in April. As hosts, Qatar were automatically seeded in Pot 1. The UAE were seeded in Pot 2. The nine highest-ranked teams in the Fifa rankings were then joined in the final tournament by the seven winners from the qualifying stage.

Group A: Qatar, Iraq, Oman, Bahrain.

Group B: Tunisia, UAE, Syria, Mauritania.

Group C: Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Palestine.

Group D: Algeria, Egypt, Lebanon, Sudan.

The top two teams in each group proceed to the knockout stage, which begins with the quarter-finals on December 10 and 11. The semi-finals fall on December 15, with a third-place play-off and the final played three days later.


November 30

Tunisia v Mauritania, 2pm

Iraq v Oman, 5pm

Qatar v Bahrain, 8.30pm

UAE v Syria, 11pm

December 1

Algeria v Sudan, 2pm

Egypt v Lebanon, 5pm

Morocco v Palestine, 8pm

Saudi Arabia v Jordan, 11pm

December 3

Bahrain v Iraq, 2pm

Oman v Qatar, 5pm

Mauritania v UAE, 8pm

Syria v Tunisia, 11pm

December 4

Jordan v Morocco, 2pm

Lebanon v Algeria, 5pm

Sudan v Egypt, 8pm

Palestine v Saudi Arabia, 11pm

December 6

Syria v Mauritania, 7pm

Tunisia v UAE, 7pm

Oman v Bahrain, 11pm

Qatar v Iraq, 11pm

December 7

Jordan v Palestine, 7pm

Morocco v Saudi Arabia, 7pm

Algeria v Egypt, 11pm

Lebanon v Sudan, 11pm


December 10

Winner Group B v Runner-up Group A

Winner Group A v Runner-up Group B

December 11

Winner Group D v Runner-up Group C

Winner Group C v Runner-up Group D


December 15

Third place play-off and final

December 18

Past champions

There have been nine previous iterations of the event, with the most recent competition played in 2012, in Saudi Arabia. Morocco were crowned champions for the first time, meaning they have one title alongside Egypt and Tunisia. Iraq are the tournament’s most decorated team, with four titles. Saudi Arabia, meanwhile, have two. The UAE have only once previously appeared in the event, when they finished fourth in 1998.

How to watch

All Fifa Arab Cup 2021 matches will be broadcast live on BeIN Sports.