UAE team face 
must-win match

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UAE team face 
must-win match

After impressing each and everyone with their spirited display against the strong Uruguayan side in the opener, the UAE are now all set to face a even tougher test in men’s football.

By Hisham Al Gizouli

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Published: Sun 29 Jul 2012, 11:57 PM

Last updated: Tue 7 Apr 2015, 2:52 PM

Members of UAE's national team pose for a photo before their men's Group A football match against Uruguay at the London 2012 Olympic Games in Old Trafford stadium in Manchester. - Reuters

Mahdi Ali’s brave Boys in White will be up against hosts Great Britain at the Wembley Stadium on Sunday. The game is set to kick off at 10.45pm UAE time.

Today’s Matches (UAE Time)

Group A

  • Senegal vs Uruguay (8pm)
  • Great Britain vs UAE (10:45pm)
  • Mexico vs Gabon (5:30pm)
  • S Korea vs Switzerland (8:15pm)
  • Egypt vs New Zealand (3pm)
  • Brazil vs Belarus (6pm)
  • Japan vs Morocco (8pm)
  • Spain vs Honduras (10:45pm)

Group B

Group C

Group D

Live on Al Jazeera Sports, 
Abu Dhabi Sports and OSN

Despite Ismail Matar’s brilliant effort in the first half against Uruguay that gave the team the lead against all odds, the UAE boys went down 1-2 to Uruguay and now they have to earn at least a point against the home team on Saturday to keep their quarter-final hopes alive. Team GB drew their first match with Senegal 1-1. They are in second place in Group A, while the UAE are currently at the bottom of the group behind Senegal. Uruguay lead with three points.

The team which impressed 70,000 spectators in the first half against Uruguay at the Old Trafford last Thursday will definitely miss the friendly atmosphere as 90,000 home fans are expected to turn up for the match at the hallowed Wembley to cheer Ryan Giggs, Craig Bellamy and their teammates on.

A win or even a draw would keep UAE’s chances alive, but they also have to pray for a victory for Uruguay over Senegal in the other Group A match on Sunday.

Mahdi Ali has been reportedly working on some weak points in the different lines and most apparently he focused on unforced mistakes of the defenders which cost the team dear.

“Avoid making fouls outside the box,” Mahdi has reportedly told his players. “It’s a match which we must win and you have to believe that you can do it,” he said.

However, it’s a bit tricky situation for both sides. Team GB has much to do to improve their own quarter-final hopes. A win at Wembley will also help them win the trust of the fans who were left disappointed after their disappointing performance against Senegal.

UAE midfielder Omer Abdul Rahman, who deservedly won praise after his impressive show against Uruguay, said: “The first step is to get the boys believe in themselves, and our coach has been putting in a lot of effort to motivate the players. Neither team is favourite. Both teams are desperate for the points and have equal chances to get them. The better side on the pitch will get the desired result.”

Abdul Rahman, meanwhile, rubbished reports that some of the players in the line up against Uruguay were fasting.

Unconfirmed reports hinted that few of the players were fasting and that that was the reason why they ran out of gas in the second half. But this was eventually denied by coach Mahdi Ali.

“This is not true. The players have already accepted not to fast and they are working accordingly,” he said.


Ali Khusaif, defenders Hamdan Al Kamali, Mohammed Ahmed, Abdul Aziz Haikal, Abdul Aziz Sanqoor, Amer Abdul Rahman, Omer Abdul Rahman, Ismail Al Hammadi, Rashid Eisa, Ismail Matar, Ahmed Khali

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