A comprehensive list of all the Muslim Players in this year’s World Cup 2018 in Russia, which started on the 14th of June 2018. The host’s Russia play Saudi Arabia (KSA) in the opening game, KSA will no doubt have an entire squad full of Muslim players for the World cup tournament.
There was a total of 98 Muslim players in the last world cup in 2014. How many Muslim players are there in this year’s World Cup in Russia?
- There are a total of 12 teams out of 32 with Muslim players in their squads.
- In total there are 156 total Muslim players playing in the World Cup in Russia 2018
- This is across 3 continents, can you guess which continent has the most players with affiliation to Islam?
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Or read on to see some interesting facts about Muslim nations and the players in this year’s competition.
There are 8 groups of 4 teams which is a total of 32 teams competing, I’ll go through team by team and list all the Muslim football players in that team but first let’s look at a first glance of muslim nations or those that have great numbers of muslims in this year’s World Cup these teams should have entire squads of Muslim players.
- Egypt (group A)
- Saudi Arabia (KSA) (group A)
- Morocco (group B)
- IR Iran (group B)
- Nigeria (group D)
- Tunisia (group G)
- Senegal (group H)
So that’s 7 teams with Muslim player majority in total, with the exception of Nigeria, Iran and Senegal I think the rest wil have full squads of Muslim players in this World Cup. I am also certain that Belgium and France like the last time around will no doubt have lots of Muslim players in their squad.
Before we go onto the entire list of muslim players in the FIFA World Cup 2018, let’s have a look at some statistics of the above teams.
Egypt appearing for only their 3rd time after topping group E with a game in hand in the qualifying rounds, the last time they played in a World Cup was 28 years ago in the 1990 World Cup in Italy. They are currently ranked 31st in the FIFA World Rankings. Mohamed Salah plays for them too.
Saudi Arabia (KSA)
KSA have previously played 4 times in the World Cup, this will be their 5th time. They last played in Germany in the 2006 finals and are ranked 61st.
Morocco qualified from their group in pole position, this is their 5th appearance in the World Cup though they past contested in 1998 in France. Currently ranked 40th.
Featured in the last World Cup and we wrote about their Muslim Players as well, Iran were the first team to qualify from the Asian confederation. They’ve previously appeared 4 times, this’ll be their 5th time and are ranked 32nd.
Nigeria, like Iran they too also appeared in the last World Cup finals, this will be their 6th time they have qualified for the World Cup tournament. Were the first team to qualify from Africa and are ranked 50th.
This is the 5th time Tunisia will feature in the World Cup, the also topped their group A to qualify. The last time they played was in 2006 and are currently ranked 27th.
Senegal last played in 2002, this is their 2nd time. They are the highest ranked team out of all the above, currently ranked 23rd.
Entire List of Muslim Players in the World Cup Russia 2018
Below are all the teams with Muslim football players you’ll also find some stats about the team and the fixtures for each team in their group stages. All times are Russian local time.
The regions were divided into 6 before the qualifications, the teams played against each other in the region to qualify, Brazil were the first team to qualify for the World Cup. See below for further details.
Muslim Players from Europe in the World Cup
There are 14 qualified teams from Europe in this year’s competition. The largest region to represent, there are a few strong teams in Europe which features 5 teams with 20 players from the Islamic faith.
Belgium are a strong team, with a few muslim players from the Premier League. They should do well with the likes of Hazard and other strong players in their team.
- Belgium are in Group G with Tunisia, England and Panama.
- Ranked 3rd in the world FIFA rankings
- Have made 12 appearances in previous World Cups
Muslim Players in Belgium squad World Cup 2018
Midfielders: Mousa Dembele (Tottenham), Marouane Fellaini (Manchester United) and Adnan Januzaj (Real Sociedad).
Forward: Nacer Chadli (West Brom)
- vs Panama on Monday 18th, 6pm
- vs Tunisia, 23rd at 3pm
- vs England, 28th at 8pm
France are usually a strong team with lots of African origin players which means they’re likely to have more Muslim Players, have a look below see how Muslim players are in the France squad.
- France are in Group Australia, Peru and Denmark
- Are currently ranked 7th in the FIFA world rankings
- Have previously won the World Cup once
- They have previously featured 14 times in the World Cup
Defenders: Benjamin Mendy (Manchester City), Adil Rami (Marseille), Djibril Sidibe (Monaco).
Midfielders: N’Golo Kante (Chelsea), Paul Pogba (Manchester United).
Forwards: Ousmane Dembele (Barcelona), Nabil Fekir (Lyon).
- vs Australia, 1pm on the 16th
- vs Peru, 8pm on the 18th June.
- vs Denmark, 5pm on the 26th.
Germany feature players of Turkish descent, which of course is a Muslim nation, let’s see how many have made the squad this year.
- Germany are in Group F with Mexico, Sweden and Korea Republic
- Are the current holders of the World Cup and ranked No. 1 in the World FIFA rankings
- Germany have won the World Cup 4 times and have featured 18 times previously.
Defenders: Antonio Rudiger (Chelsea).
Midfielders: Ilkay Gundogan (Manchester City), Sami Khedira (Juventus), Mesut Ozil (Arsenal).
- vs Mexico, 17th June 6pm
- vs Sweden, 23rd, 9pm
- vs Korea Republic, 27th at 9pm.
Switzerland had to work had to earn their place in this year’s competition through the play-off places. There are a few players from the Premier League in their squad.
- The Swiss are in Group E with Brazil, Serbia and Costa Rica not the easiest group by any measure.
- They are ranked 6th in the FIFA rankings.
- This will be their 11th appearance in the World Cup having made 10 in previous years.
Here’s the list of Muslim players in the Switzerland team for the World Cup in Russia.
Defenders: Johan Djourou (Antalyaspor).
Midfielders: Blerim Dzemaili (Bologna), Xherdan Shaqiri (Stoke City), Granit Xhaka (Arsenal).
Forwards: Haris Seferovic (Benfica).
- vs Brazil 17th June at 9pm
- vs Serbia, 22nd at 8pm
- vs Costa Rica, 27th at 9pm.
Russia are the hosts of this year’s competition, and they have a player of the Tatar descent who is Muslim.
- They are in the same Group A as Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Uruaguay.
Midfielder: Daler Kuzyaev (Zenit St Petersburg)
So only one Muslim player in the Russian squad.
Thanks to the update from Kudriavzev, who commented below. If you know anymore please let me know.
That is all the teams from Europe with Muslim Players in the World Cup 2018, let’s now have a look at Africa and all the teams with Muslim players in their squad should be a lot more than Europe.
African Muslims in the World Cup
Africa has 5 teams competing in this year’s competition, they will feature squads full of muslims, let’s look at a break down of them team by team. All 5 teams have 88 muslim players in total.
Egypt features Mohammed Salah of Liverpool who has taken the world by storm by breaking so many records. Do you know any of the other players in their squad?
- Egypt are in Group A with Uruguay, Russia and Saudi Arabia
- They are ranked 47th in the World
- And making only their 3rd appearance after a 28 year break.
Goalkeepers: Essam El Hadary (Al Taawoun), Mohamed El-Shenawy, Sherif Ekramy (both Al Ahly).
Defenders: Ahmed Fathi, Saad Samir, Ayman Ashraf (all Al Ahly), Mahmoud Hamdi (Zamalek), Mohamed Shafy (Al Fateh), Ahmed Hegazi (West Brom), Ali Gabr (Zamalek), Ahmed Elmohamady (Aston Villa), Omar Gaber (Los Angeles FC).
Midfielders: Tarek Hamed, (Zamalek), Abdallah El Said (Al Ahli), Sam Morsy (Wigan Athletic), Mohamed Elneny (Arsenal), Ramadan Sobhi (Stoke City), Mahmoud Hassan (Kasimpasa).
Forwards: Mohamed Salah (Liverpool), Marwan Mohsen (Al Ahly), Mahmoud Shikabala (Zamalek), Amr Warda (Atromitos), Mahmoud Kahraba (Al Ittihad).
- vs Uruguay on the 15th June at 5pm
- vs Russia on the 19th at 9pm
- vs Saudi Arabia, 25th at 5pm.
Morocco are bidding to host the 2026 World Cup across the various venues they have after having succesfully hosted the Cup of Nations twice previously. I am expecting the entire squad to be muslim.
- Morocco are in Group B with Potugal, Iran and Spain! WOW what a hard group!
- They are currently ranked 41st.
- After failing to qualify for 20 years, they are back now for the 5th time.
Goalkeepers: Munir Mohamedi (Numancia), Yassine Bono (Girona), Ahmad Reda Tagnaouti (Ittihad Tanger).
Defenders: Mehdi Benatia (Juventus), Nabil Dirar (Fenerbahce), Achraf Hakimi (Real Madrid), Hamza Mendyl (Lille).
Midfielders: Moubarak Boussoufa (Al Jazira), Karim El Ahmadi (Feyenoord), Youssef Ait Bennasser (Caen), Sofyan Amrabat (Feyenoord), Younes Belhanda (Galatasaray), Faycal Fajr (Getafe), Amine Harit (Schalke).
Forwards: Khalid Boutaib (Malatyaspor), Aziz Bouhaddouz (St Pauli), Ayoub El Kaabi (Renaissance Berkane), Nordin Amrabat (Leganes), Mehdi Carcela (Standard Liege), Hakim Ziyech (Ajax), Youssef En Nesyri (Malaga).
- vs Iran on the 16th June at 4pm
- vs Portugal on the 20th at 1pm
- vs Spain, 25th at 7pm.
Having qualified before all other teams in Africa, Nigeria are set to play their first game against Croatia on the 18th. They have won the African cup of Nations 3 times, so a strong team from Africa. Let’s see how many Muslim football players Nigeria have in their squad for the World Cup this year.
- Nigeria are in Group D with Croatia, Iceland and Messi’s team Argentina.
- They are currently ranked 48th
- This’ll be the sixth time they have competed in the World Cup.
Defenders: Abdullahi Shehu (both Bursaspor).
Forwards: Ahmed Musa (Leicester).
- vs Iran on the 16th June at 4pm
- vs Portugal on the 20th at 1pm
- vs Spain, 25th at 7pm.
Senegal, another team from the African continent. This is my favourite team not just because of Sadio Mane but because they have a whole lot of talent in their team and are from a predominantly Muslim country in Africa.
- Senegal are in Group H with Poland, Japan and Columbia.
- They are currently ranked 27th in the World FIFA rankings.
- This is their 2nd time, previously competing 16 years ago.
Let’s see the Muslim football players in Senegal’s World cup squad.
Goalkeepers: Khadim N’Diaye (Horoya AC), Abdoulaye Diallo (Rennes).
Defenders: Kalidou Koulibaly (Napoli), Moussa Wague (Eupen), Saliou Ciss (Angers), Youssouf Sabaly (Bordeaux), Lamine Gassama (Alanyaspor).
Midfielders: Badou Ndiaye (Stoke), Idrissa Gueye (Everton), Cheikhou Kouyate (West Ham), Cheikh N’Doye (Birmingham), Salif Sane (Hannover 96).
Forwards: Moussa Sow (Bursaspor), Sadio Mane (Liverpool), Keita Balde Diao (Monaco), Moussa Konate (Amiens), Ismaila Sarr (Rennes), Diafra Sakho (Rennes), Mame Biram Diouf (Stoke), M’Baye Niang (AC Milan).
- vs Poland on the 19th June at 4pm
- vs Japan on the 24th at 4pm
- vs Columbia, 28th at 5pm.
The last of the 5 teams of Africa are Tunisia, they topped their group A in qualification and have a strong team albeit with not so well known players. Tunisia recently played some friendlies in the Month of Ramadan and the whole team was fasting, read about the genius way they broke their fasts during the match.
- Tunisia are in Group G with England, Belgium and Panama.
- They are currently ranked 21st in the World FIFA rankings.
- This will be their 5th time they compete in the World Cup.
Goalkeepers: Farouk Ben Mustapha (Al Shabab), Mouez Hassen (Nice), Aymen Mathlouthi (Al Baten).
Defenders: Rami Bedoui (Etoile du Sahel), Yohan Benalouane (Leicester), Syam Ben Youssef (Kasimpasa), Oussama Haddadi (Dijon), Ali Maaloul (Al Ahly), Yassine Meriah (CS Sfaxien), Hamdi Nagguez (Zamalek).
Midfielders: Wahbi Khazri (Sunderland), Anice Badri (Esperance), Mohamed Ben Amor (Etoile Sportive du Sahel), Ferjani Sassi (Al Nasr), Ellyes Skhiri (Montpellier).
Forwards: Saif-Eddine Khaoui (Marseille), Fakhreddine Ben Youssef (Al Ettifaq), Saber Khalifa (Club Africain), Bassem Srarfi (Nice), Naim Sliti (Lille), Ahmed Khalil (Club Africain), Ghilane Chaalali (Esperance).
- vs England on the 18th June at 7pm
- vs Belgium on the 23rd at 1pm
- vs Panama, 28th at 7pm.
That’s 5 out of 5 teams from Africa that feature Muslim football players in this year’s World Cup in Russia 2018. we’ve already listed Europe now onto Asia which features Saudi Arabia and Iran.
Players from the Asian Continent
Asia like Africa also has 5 teams competing in this year’s competition, Saudi Arabia and Iran have definitely got muslims in their squad, will Japan, Korea and Australia have any? In total there are 47 players who are muslim from this continent.
Australia reached round 16 in 2006 and that was their best achievement in the competition.
- Australia are in Group C with France, Peru and Denmark.
- They are currently ranked 36th in the World FIFA rankings.
- This will be the 5th time they appear in the World Cup.
Defenders: Aziz Behich (Bursaspor).
Iran was the first team to qualify from the Asian football federation. Iran have the former Portugal and Manchester UTD manager Carlos Queiroz as their manager and have the much touted Sardar Azmoun. Iran have the hardest group in my opinion.
- They are in Group B with Portugal, Spain and Morocco!
- Currently ranked 37th in the World.
With the Muslim players in Iran, I am going with names that are common names in Islam, as there isn’t much credible information available about player religions. Please let me know if you think I have missed someone.#
Goalkeepers: Alireza Beiranvand (Persepolis), Mohammad Rashid Mazaheri (Zob Ahan), Amir Abedzadeh (Maritimo).
Defenders: Majid Hosseini (Esteghlal), Ramin Rezaeian (Ostende), Mohammad Reza Khanzadeh (Padideh), Morteza Pouraliganji (Alsaad), Pejman Montazeri (Esteghlal), Milad Mohammadi (Akhmat Grozny), Rouzbeh Cheshmi (Esteghlal).
Midfielders: Saeid Ezatolahi (Amkar Perm), Masoud Shojaei (AEK Athens), Mehdi Torabi (Saipa), Omid Ebrahimi (Esteghlal), Ehsan Haji Safi (Olympiacos), Karim Ansarifard (Olympiacos), Vahid Amiri (Persepolis).
Forwards: Alireza Jahanbakhsh (AZ Alkmaar), Mehdi Taremi (Al Gharafa), Sardar Azmoun (Rubin Kazan), Reza Ghoochannejhad (Heerenveen), Saman Ghoddos (Ostersunds), Ashkan Dejagah (Nottingham Forest).
That’s a full team of Muslim player’s in the Iran squad!
Saudi Arabia qualified for the 5th time in the World Cup having previously played in 2006. They will play the opening game of the tournament against Russia, I am going for a 1-1 draw on this one! It is a tough group I am hoping either Egypt or Saudi Arabia make it to the next round.
- They are in Group A with Russia, Egypt and Uruguay.
- Currently ranked 67th in the World.
Goalkeepers: Mohammed Al Owais, Yasser Al-Mosailem (both Al Ahli), Abdullah Al-Mayoof (Al Hilal).
Defenders: Mansour Al-Harbi (Al Ahli), Yasir Al Shahrani, Mohammed Alburyak (both Al Hilal), Motaz Hawsawi (Al Ahli), Osama Hawsawi (Al Hilal), Omar Othman (Al Nassr), Ali Albulayhi (Al Hilal).
Midfielders: Abdullah Alkhaibari (Al Shabab), Abdulmalek Al Khaibri, Abdullah Ateef (both Al Hilal), Taiseer Al Jassam, Hussain Al-Mogahwi (both Al Ahli), Salman Al Faraj, Mohamed Kanno (both Al Hilal), Hatan Bahebri (Al Shabab), Salem Al Dawsari (Al Hilal), Yahya Al Shehri (Al Nassr).
Forwards: Mohammed Al Sahlawi (Al Nassr), Mohannad Aseri (Al Ahli), Fahad Al Muwallad (Al Ittihad).
Saudi Arabia World Cup 2018 Fixtures:
- vs Russia on the 14th June at 4pm (opening game of the World Cup in Russia 2018)
- vs Uruguay on the 20th at 4pm
- vs Egypt, 25th at 3pm.
That completes the entire squads with Muslims Players in the World Cup Russia 2018. Have I missed any? Are there any players from South American countries like Brazil and Argentina who are Muslims? Let me know by leaving a comment.
Here’s a nice calendar of the Match Schedule for this year’s World Cup 2018 in Russia.
All squad data was taken from the BBC.
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FIFA World rankings are correct at the time of publishing and taken from the FIFA website.