Local Sports

UAE coach Marwijk faces one of his biggest tests

James Jose/Dubai
Filed on November 13, 2019
The UAE national team players pose for a group picture ahead of their World Cup qualifier against Vietnam in Hanoi.- Supplied photo

The Whites are precariously placed in Group G, third behind table toppers Thailand and Vietnam, whom they face at the My Dinh Stadium.

UAE coach Bert van Marwijk faces one of his biggest tests yet of his reign when his side go up against Vietnam in the joint AFC Asian Cup and World Cup qualifier in Hanoi on Thursday evening.

The Whites are precariously placed in Group G, third behind table toppers Thailand and Vietnam, whom they face at the My Dinh Stadium.

That has got to do with the chastening defeat that the UAE faced at the hands of Thailand in Bangkok last month.

That 2-1 loss has left The Whites a point behind Thailand and Vietnam with six and a lot to play for.

The UAE Football Association put faith in Marwijk following Alberto Zaccheroni's tenure, to guide them to only their second World Cup after 1990. And the Dutchman, who helped the Netherlands finish runners-up at the 2010 World Cup, will have to prove they were not wrong in picking him.

The 67-year-old is not to blame though as he has come in with his own set of ideas and has infused some much needed young blood into the line-up, with an eye on the future.

But there is only so much he can do and it is upto the players to take up more responsibility, especially at such a crucial juncture.

And Marwijk exhorted his men to come up with a performance that would not just pull them out of the situation they are in but also make the fans proud.

"We certainly know the opponent very well, in football there is nothing to hide," Marwijk said on Wednesday.

"They are developing and are considered one of the strongest teams in the group. They have good players and a distinctive way of playing. We have analysed their performance and explained to the players how they play," he added.

But Marwijk said they will stick to their style of play against The Golden Dragons.

"I do not think that there will be a change in the way we play. We did well in the past games and achieved good results. We have our style of play and we want to continue that. Sometimes the opponents force you to a certain game mode but our tactics are good.

The UAE will have to do it without Ali Mabkhout, with the frontman serving a one-match suspension because of yellow cards.

The Al Jazira marksman has scored six of their eight goals so far. The UAE squad held a short preparatory camp in Bangkok ahead of their game against Vietnam,

Meanwhile, defender Walid Abbas labelled it as a match that is worth six points. "Such games are tantamount to six points, not three because we are facing a team who are in direct competition with us for one of the qualifying slots. And winning it at their home and in front of their fans will give us a significant moral boost," said Abbas.


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