- Thousands of fans from all generations fill stadia in Kuwait City
- FIFA President takes in Gulf Cup’s opening matches
- Tournament dates back to 1970
The Arabian Gulf Cup kicked off on 22 December to a packed crowd at the Jaber Al-Ahmad International Stadium in Kuwait City, as the tournament’s most successful side stage the 23rd edition.
With ten past triumphs to their name, hosts Kuwait opened the tournament at the 63,00-seater arena against Saudi Arabia – with the FIFA World Cup™-bound Green Falcons edging the home side 2-1. United Arab Emirates followed, securing a slender 1-0 win over Oman thanks to a strike from Ali Mabkhout – fresh from his exploits at the FIFA Club World Cup UAE 2017.
Kuwait Stadium housed day two of proceedings, seeing defending champions and 2022 FIFA World Cup hosts Qatar romp to a 4-0 win over Yemen before a late goal saw Iraq share the spoils with Bahrain.
FIFA President Gianni Infantino, in attendance at all four opening games, was impressed by both the numbers and diversity of the football-loving fans in attendance. comprising large numbers of children, fathers and mothers.
“It was a great honour for me to attend the opening games of the 2017 Gulf Cup in Kuwait,” said President Infantino. “This tournament embraces the spirit of sportsmanship and is a great example of the values FIFA and football strive to spread all around the world.”
FT: Saudi Arabia 2 – 1 Kuwait
kick-off their 2017 Gulf Cup campaign with a win over hosts ! pic.twitter.com/VA6SLlP9wZ
— AFC (@theafcdotcom) December 23, 2017
Originally scheduled to take place in Qatar, the tournament moved to Kuwait, accommodating all eight of the participating nations.
“It was a great pleasure to see how happy and welcoming all of the fans were of this historic tournament,” said the FIFA President. “The initiative to move the 2017 Gulf Cup from Qatar to Kuwait to celebrate this event is a strong and symbolic sign. In this respect, I would like to…