This year, 32 countries are competing in the most widely viewed sporting event in the world.
But only one -- Algeria -- is from the Arab world, and in 80 years of World Cup tournaments, only one Middle Eastern country -- Turkey -- has made it to the quarterfinals.
The Middle East is wild about soccer. So why don't more of their national teams make it to the big time?
Some say governments of the region don't contribute enough to the sport.“In Italy, every kilometer there is another soccer field,” said Davit Manoyan, a player for the Armenian national team. “Here, we have maybe 10 fields in the whole country. It’s a big problem.”
Yet others say facilities don't matter:
“Football is a lifestyle, it’s a culture,” said Gabriel Meghruni, a former player for the Argentine club, River Plate.
“It doesn’t matter if you have a field or not," he said. "You build a field to play, in the schools, squares, parks, wherever you have enough space and something to kick – that’s all you need. Imagine, I used to play in the street with a cork. In South America, it is that way: first family, then football. If you don’t play, others discriminate against you. It’s serious.”