In-form UAE team look to qualify for 2022 World Cup - GulfToday

In-form UAE team look to qualify for 2022 World Cup

In-form UAE team look to  qualify for 2022 World Cup

UAE players attend a training session in Manama, ahead of their FIFA World Cup qualifiers.

Exciting showdowns await in Group G of the Asian qualifiers for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 and AFC Asian Cup China 2023, with UAE joined by Southeast Asian rivals Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia.

The eight group winners and four best runners-up will advance to the China 2023 finals and the final round of qualifying for Qatar 2022.

However, should Qatar - having already qualified as hosts - win their group, the seven other group winners and five best second-placed sides will advance to the final round of qualifying for the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

The same applies should Qatar finish as one of the four best second-placed teams, with the fifth best group runners-up advancing to the third round of the qualifiers.

The next best 24 teams from the second round of the Asian Qualifiers will compete in a separate competition for the remaining 12 slots in the 24-team AFC Asian Cup China 2023.

UAE will be the favourites to not only advance but win Group G as they attempt to seal FIFA World Cup qualification for only the second time.

Dutchman Bert van Marwijk, who guided Australia at the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia, has the experience UAE need to see off the four Southeast Asian teams and the return of playmaker Omar Abdulrahman from injury is a massive boost.

Van Marwijk, who replaced Alberto Zaccheroni after the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019, saw his tenure getting off to a winning start as his side defeated Dominican Republic 4-0 at the Bahrain National Stadium on Friday.

Al Wahda defender Abdullah Jasim put the UAE ahead in the fourth minute and Khalil Al Hammadi doubled their advantage in the 18 minute, and then scored his second of the night at the half-hour mark. Al Ain midfielder Bandar Al Ahbabi completed the scoring five minutes from time.

It was another pleasing night for Van Marwijk on Saturday as the UAE ran out 5-1 winners over Sri Lanka with Ali Mabkhout scoring a hat-trick. Ahmed Berman and Ali Saleh added one each.

Meanwhile, UAE team manager Ismail Rashed expressed his satisfaction after the camp ended in Bahrain on Sunday.

He said that the camp left a huge effect in the preparations of each player for the upcoming round of qualification.

Ismail pointed the benefits of the camp stating that the national team had two special preparation tests that allowed the head coach to stand on the general performance and make sure specific players are ready for their positions, this experience has revealed some technical matters that they need to work on during the upcoming period to fix all the negatives and enhance the positives to make sure the national team appears in the best way possible.

“The camp witnessed new comers who are joining for the first time, explaining that those players have presented themselves in a very honoring way that promises with a new generation of talents that will enhance the national team squad in the near future,” Rashed added.

Speaking about the return of Omar in the squad after a long absence due to the injury, Rashed said that his participation is one of the most important benefits that was achieved during the camp.

“The technical staff made all the necessary checkups to make sure Omar is ready to participate in the upcoming period to help the team along with his fellows qualify through the joint qualification.

The national team goalkeeper Khalid Essa stated that the upcoming period of time needs harder work to ensure the continuity of preparations in order to reaching the level of expectations that the fans would expect and to make our country proud.

“Moreover, all the players are ready and excited to present the county in an honorable way.

The national goalkeeper spoke about the two matches during the camp, ensuring that they reached the maximum benefit from those matches, due to the high number of players who participated in the matches,” he added.

Essa also welcomed the new youngsters who joined the team for the first time, assuring that they will find all the possible help and support from the experienced players, expressing his optimism that those players will have an advantage push to the team, wishing them the best with the team.

Vietnam have been catching the attention of the Continent in recent times and their run to the quarter-finals of the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 was testament of how much the Southeast Asian side have improved.

Head coach Park Hang-seo has successfully moulded the young talents at his disposal into a well-drilled outfit and Vietnam will fancy their chances in the Asian qualifiers.

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