On the other hand, no African country has made it past the quarterfinal in a World Cup.

So, barring some exceptions, teams from outside of Europe and Latin America have so far just made up the numbers at the World Cup.

Some Asian teams have been trying to step up and stake their claim for the highest prize in football but the gulf between them and the truly elite teams has proved to be too much.

But, maybe, things are starting to change.

Inside the first four days of the Qatar World Cup, two Asian teams have shocked former World Cup winners and tournament favourites in convincing manners, disrupted many pre-tournament calculations and forced the footballing world to take notice.

First, it was Saudi Arabia, who pulled off statistically the biggest upset in the history of the World Cup when they beat Argentina 2-1 in Doha on Tuesday.

The football world had a little over 24 hours to recover from the shocking outcome before Japan stunned four-time World Cup winners Germany, defeating them at the Khalifa International Stadium by the same margin.

However, the scoreline, 2-1, wasn’t the only parallel in the two matches.

In both games, Saudi Arabia and Japan headed into the half-time break trailing 0-1, owing to a goal they conceded through a penalty.

Against Argentina, Saudi forwards Saleh Alshehri and Salem Aldawsari scored in space of five minutes to give their team the lead.

Similarly, Japan also scored twice in the second half in quick succession to earn a decisive lead against Germany.

Although Japan’s goals weren’t as scrumptious as Saudi Arabia’s, but they were enough to earn the Blue Samurai’s a historic win.

The first goal was somewhat fortuitous. German keeper Manuel Neuer saved a shot from Takumi Minamino but the deflection took the ball straight to Ritsu Doan, who sent the ball home, levelling the margin in the 75th minute.

The second goal was symbolic of the tenacity Japan showed throughout the match.

Japan got a free-kick well inside their own half in the 83rd minute. Kou Ikatura kicked a long-ball towards Takuma Asano, who tussled with German defender Nico Schlotterbeck to take possession of the ball and then sent it to the roof of the German post with a right-footed shot which Neuer couldn’t keep out.

The similarities between Saudi Arabia and Japan’s wins don’t end there, however, as both teams had lost twice and drawn twice against Argentina and Germany respectively before their World Cup encounters.

Both teams ended their respective winless streaks, that too at the grandest stage of them all.

Despite the remarkable wins, both Japan and Saudi Arabia have a lot left to do if they want to progress to the next round.

The Qatar World Cup is at its nascent stage, and many more twists and turns are about to come.

This is the second time a World Cup is being held in an Asian country. The last time it happened, in 2002, a team from Asia made it to the top four.

Will an Asian team go one step further this time and make it to the final? The over 4.5 billion people in Asia would certainly hope so.