The only time Kuwait qualified to play at the football World Cup was in 1982 in Spain. Kuwait's group consisted of Czechoslovakia, England, and France. In the opening match Kuwait held Czechoslovakia to a 1–1 draw. In the game between Kuwait and France, with France leading 3–1, France midfielder Alain Giresse scored a goal vehemently contested by the Kuwait team, who had stopped play after hearing a piercing whistle from the stands, which they thought had come from Soviet referee Miroslav Stupar.
Play had not yet resumed when Sheikh Fahid Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah, brother of the Kuwaiti Emir and president of the Kuwaiti Football Association, rushed onto the pitch to remonstrate with the referee. Stupar countermanded his initial decision and disallowed the goal to the fury of the French. Maxime Bossis scored another valid goal a few minutes later and France won 4–1. Kuwait lost the third game 0-1 against England. Kuwait finished fourth in group and 21st out of the 24 teams.