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UAE face South Korean test

UAE face South Korean test

Abu Dhabi Sports Channel will show the live telecast of the match which will start at 12.50pm (UAE Time).

By Hisham Al Gizouli - Chief Reporter

Published: Thu 11 Jun 2015, 12:52 PM

Last updated: Wed 8 Jul 2015, 3:13 PM

UAE players during a training session as coach Mahdi Ali looks on. — Supplied photo

Dubai — The UAE senior football national team will take on South Korea in a friendly at the Shah Alam Stadium in Kuala Lumpur on Thursday. The match kicks off at 1.20pm UAE time. This is the final test for the Boys In White before they launch their 2018 Fifa World Cup qualifying campaign with what could be an easy encounter against East Timor at the same venue on June 16.

The Koreans entertain Myanmar in their first game.

The Koreans are tough opponents and the match pose a big challenge for the UAE players who finished third in the AFC Asian Cup in Australia last January.

“It’s a real challenge between the Asian Cup runners-up and the semifinalists,” said head coach Mahdi Ali who promised that they would not take East Timor lightly.

UAE have been drawn in Group A alongside Saudi Arabia, Palestine, East Timor and Malaysia. 39 teams have been drawn in seven groups of five teams each for the joint 2018 Russia Fifa World Cup and 2019 UAE AFC Asian Cup qualifiers.

Each team begin their preliminary round on Thursday.

The UAE players will appear in the all-white jerseys while the Koreans will wear the all-red colours.

The two sides have agreed to six replacements during the match which is an international friendly duly recognized by the world football governing body.

Abu Dhabi Sports Channel will show the live telecast of the match which will start at 12.50pm (UAE Time).

Both UAE and Korea have been exempted from the first round of the qualifiers in which 12 teams played home and away over two legs and the six winners advanced to the second round to make a total of 40 sides to play home and away round robin matches in eight groups.

The top eight sides and the four best group runners-up teams advance to the third round of the Fifa World Cup qualification as well as qualify for the 2019 AFC Asian Cup finals.

The 12 teams will be divided into two groups of six teams each. The top two teams from each group advance to the 2018 Fifa World Cup and the two third-placed teams advance to the fourth round where they play two legs and the winner advance to the inter-confederation play-offs.

A total of 24 teams eliminated from World Cup qualification in the second round will compete in the third round of 2019 AFC Asian Cup qualification (which will be separate from the third round of 2018 Fifa World Cup qualification), where they will be divided into six groups of four teams and compete for the remaining slots of the 2019 AFC Asian Cup.

The 24 teams will consist of the 16 highest ranked teams eliminated in the second round, and the eight teams that advance from the play-off round of 2019 AFC Asian Cup qualification.


Al Mazrouei hails The White

Abdulla Matar Khamis Al Mazrouei, UAE ambassador to Malaysia, hailed the national team under coach Mahdi Ali saying the players have made great progress since Ali took over. “The UAE won the Gulf Cup in Bahrain and finished third in the recent AFC Asian Cup in Australia. And I wish them every success in the 2018 Fifa World Cup qualifiers,” Al Mazrouei said when he visited the team in Kuala Lumpur.

Meanwhile, the players celebrated Ahmed Khalil’s 24th birthday in a special ceremony at the hotel. He was named the Best Upcoming Player in Asia after leading the UAE U-18 national team to victory in the AFC U-18 Cup in Dammam in 2008. He was also a member of the UAE under-23 team that won the silver medal at the 2010 Asian Games in China.


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