For 20 years, the FIFA Associations Cup brought together mainland champions every four years. And marked the countdown to the FIFA World Cup Argentina. But the roots of the contest go back even further to a knockout rivalry for four teams organized by Saudi Arabia in 1992: the King Fahd Cup. Qatar World Cup fans can buy Saudi Arabia football world cup tickets from our website.
The opening edition included hosts Saudi Arabia and three other regnant continental kings. Argentina, Côte d’Ivoire and USA. Argentina, under the stewardship of Alfio Basile, had just won the Copa America 1991 and had in their positions a young Gabriel Batistuta.
For their part
Saudi Arabia was the central force in Asian football, having won back-to-back AFC Asian Cups in 1984 and 1988. The King Fahd Cup was a chance for the Saudis to prepare for that year’s Asian finals. Which were arranged to start nine days after the final of their home contest.
Argentina’s star-dotted squad enjoyed warm comfortable on their arrival in Riyadh. The 23-year-old Batistuta, who was starting his second season with Fiorentina, wasted no time. Showcasing his goalscoring skills at King Fahd Global Stadium.
‘Batigol’ scored his 11th and 12th global goals in the opening ten minutes of Argentina’s first match against Côte d’Ivoire. Before Ricardo Altamirano and Beto Acosta added one each after the break to ease La Albiceleste into the final.
Coached by Bora Milutinovic, the USA toured Saudi Arabia two years before they would host the FIFA World Cup and found the going tough in contradiction of the hosts and a 70,000-strong troop. The Stars and Stripes achieved to keep the Asian champions. At bay for the first half but yielded to the pressure in the second when goals from Fahd Al-Hariri. Youssef Al-Thunayan.
And Khaled Massad put the Saudis to the conclusion. The atmosphere for the game at King Fahd Stadium was not unlike that of a World Cup. And even though fans in khaki and white conquered the stands, there were still cheers when Diego Simeone, who was wearing the legendary No10 shirt made famous by Diego Maradona, set up Leo Rodriguez in the 18th miniature for the inaugural goal from the edge of the box.
Added an additional six notes later, Saudi Arabia feared the nastiest. Deftly regulatory the ball inside the penalty area. After an exact pass from the right-wing, Caniggia had time to turn and drill a powerful shot past custodian Saud Al-Otaibi from 12 yards. But the Saudis refused to crumble and intrepidly repelled the torrent of bouts launched by Basile’s men.
The home side’s resistance was only wrecked again in the 64th minute after Batistuta’s shot came back off the upright into the path of Simeone. Whose close-range shot ricocheted off. The base of the crossbar to the goal-line, before lastly going in off the bar at the second time of the request.
Though a relative unknown at the time, the Saudi No7 Saeed Al-Owairan made a name for himself by reducing the deficit. With a 30-yard strike that the usually reliable Sergio Goycochea let slip through his digits.
Would go on to lose 3-1, the King Fahd Cup 1992 left a permanent bequest in the Kingdom, with The Green Falcons active in the following three editions of the contest, as hosts in 1995 and 1997. And as Asians winners at Mexico 1999 following their third continental title at UAE 1996.
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