UAE coach confident ahead of crunch match against Thailand today
The UAE's only World Cup appearance came in 1990
The UAE head coach Bert van Marwijk said the resounding 4-0 win over Malaysia has boosted team’s confidence ahead of their crunch World Cup qualifying Group C match against Thailand tonight (8:45pm UAE Time).
The Whites will be looking to avenge their 2-1 defeat to Thailand in their previous clash in the qualifying round in October, 2019.
The World Cup qualifiers were suspended last year due to the Covid-19 pandemic and all the five teams in Group G are now playing their remaining matches in Dubai.
After winning their first match against Malaysia easily on Thursday, the UAE are now brimming with confidence ahead of their clash against Thailand on Monday.
“I think the team now is better. They are physically stronger, and we have a few good players extra with De Lima and Caio,” Van Marwijk told reporters in the pre-match press conference.
“If I compare our team to last year then I would say our team is much better.”
But the Dutch manager said his team would not take their opponents lightly on Monday, despite Thailand’s 2-2 draw with the bottom-placed Indonesia on Thursday.
“We have respect for all our opponents and especially for Thailand,” Van Marwijk said. “I can remember the game in 2019, we lost there. I already told you last time here, if we want to be sure to go to the next round we have to win everything. So we have a lot of respect for our opponent. But we also have a lot of trust in ourselves. I’m looking forward to the game.”
The UAE, which have nine points from five games, will top the group with victory over Thailand and if the group leaders Vietnam (11 points from five matches) fail to beat Indonesia in the other match in Dubai tonight.
The winners of eight groups and the four best-placed runners-up from the eights groups will advance to the final round of Asia World Cup qualifiers.
Overall, 12 teams will fight for the four slots from Asia in the final round and while the fifth-placed team will earn a play-off game with a team from another continent.
The UAE’s only World Cup appearance came in 1990.
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