With a record four Arab national teams competing in the FIFA World Cup this year – Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia and Saudi Arabia – ASDA’A Burson-Marsteller’s 10th annual Arab Youth Survey reveals that young people across the region think that Egypt has the best chance among the Arab nations of progressing through the tournament.
Two in three young Arabs (65%) say they will closely follow the World Cup competition, which kicks off in Russia on June 14, 2018, with the Saudia Arabia team playing the hosts of the World Cup; and young Arab women (60%) are nearly as likely to follow the competition as young Arab men (70%). Among those who will follow the competition, 14% say that Germany will be crowned the FIFA World Cup 2018 champions, 13% say Brazil has the best chance to win, while another 12% expect Argentina to win.
Among those who will follow the competition, 11% say they will support Egypt, making the Egyptian team as popular as Argentina (12%) and Germany (10%). Egypt is the clear fan favorite in the GCC countries, with 24% of GCC youth saying they will support Egypt in the competition.
Who’s everyone’s favorite?
When asked specifically about the four Arab nations taking part in the World Cup, Egypt is the favorite with a third of respondents (34%) saying Egypt will outperform other Arab countries in Russia, followed by Morocco (22%), Saudi Arabia (21%), and Tunisia (19%).
Sunil John, founder of ASDA’A Burson-Marsteller and President, Middle East, Burson Cohn & Wolfe, said: “The FIFA World Cup is going to be a major event for youth in the Middle East and North Africa. With the highest ever participation from Arab national teams, it’s not surprising that two in every three young Arabs will be following the competition closely. The FIFA World Cup encourages a sense of unity among supporters in the Arab world, and brings feelings of hope and excitement across the region.”
A swift recovery
The survey was conducted prior to Egypt’s star player, Mohammed Saleh, suffering a shoulder injury during Liverpool’s defeat to Real Madrid in the Champions League final last month. Saleh’s involvement in Russia is still hanging in the balance but there is hope that he will make a full recovery and participate in Egypt’s opening match against Uruguay on June 15, 2018.
The ASDA’A Burson-Marsteller Arab Youth Survey is the largest survey of its kind of the Middle East’s largest demographic – its youth. For this year’s Survey, international polling firm PSB Research conducted 3,500 face-to-face interviews with exclusively Arab national men and women aged 18-24 in the six Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries of the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, Oman and Bahrain; Iraq, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, the Palestinian Territories, Tunisia, Morocco, Algeria and Yemen, between January 21 and February 20, 2018.