UAE begin final tune-up for playoff against Australia

The Whites go up against the Socceroos at the Ahmad bin Ali Stadium on June 7 with the winner of the meeting advancing to an intercontinental playoff on June 13 against Peru



The UAE players after their arrival in Doha. — UAEFA Twitter
The UAE players after their arrival in Doha. — UAEFA Twitter

By Team KT

Published: Tue 31 May 2022, 11:47 PM

The UAE football team began their final tune-up in right earnest for the crucial World Cup playoff against Australia in Doha, Qatar.

The Whites go up against the Socceroos at the Ahmad bin Ali Stadium on June 7 with the winner of the meeting advancing to an intercontinental playoff on June 13 against Peru, with a place in November’s finals at stake.

The UAE squad, coached by Rodolfo Arruabarrena, arrived in Doha on Monday.

The Whites will be buoyed by the presence of talismanic playmaker Omar Abdulrahman, who returned to the team for the first time in two-and-a-half years.

And the Shabab Al Ahli and former Al Ain wizard is hungry and eager to push the UAE past the Australians and Peru.

“Of course, the first play-off against Australia will be difficult for sure, but with solidarity, we will be able to make the UAE fans happy,” Omar had said.

The UAE will be looking to qualify for the World Cup for the first time since making their debut appearance at the tournament in Italy in 1990.

Meanwhile, Australia suffered a heavy blow when Tom Rogic withdrew from the squad.

The attacking midfielder, who would almost certainly have started the match after a successful season with Scottish champions Celtic, cited personal reasons for his withdrawal. No replacement will be added to the squad, which is already in Doha preparing for the game, and coach Graham Arnold said Rogic’s withdrawal was “unfortunate.”

“My focus must now be on the players we have here in Qatar,” he added in a Football Australia statement.

“We have selected an extended squad of quality players and I believe that we will achieve something special for Australia over the next two weeks.”

(With inputs from Reuters)


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