Indian National Football Team: Know Your Rivals – UAE

Bert van Marwijk UAE national team


Having held Oman to a 1-1 draw in an international friendly on Thursday, the Blue Tigers face UAE in another preparatory game…


Country: United Arab Emirates

FIFA Ranking: 74

Nickname: The Whites (Al-Abyad)

Last match played: UAE 0-0 Iraq (12 January 2021)

Coach: Bert van Marwijk


Bert van Marwijk UAE national team

Even before the United Arab Emirates (UAE) had a professional domestic structure, they had managed to make it to the FIFA World Cup, in 1990. They had lost all their games in the tournament but managed to score a goal against eventual champions West Germany.

It has been quite the journey since then for the team. They have qualified for each and every edition of the Asian Cup barring the 2000 edition. Their best finish was as runners-up in 1996, coincidentally the last time they hosted it. They lost out to Saudi Arabia in the final on penalties at the Al Nahyan Stadium.

Regionally, UAE have won the Gulf Cup only twice – 2007 and 2013.

Former coach Alberto Zaccheroni last led their charge in the 2019 Asian Cup, as UAE topped Group A which also included India before losing 4-0 to Qatar in the semi-finals before Bert van Marwijk took over.



UAE qualify for Gulf Cup Final

Ever since Dutch coach Bert van Marwijk’s appointment in March 2019, Al-Abyad started off with a few friendlies against teams like Saudi Arabia (2-1 win), Syria (0-0), Dominican Republic (4-0 win) and Sri Lanka (5-1 win), before undertaking the assignment in the joint qualifiers for the 2022 FIFA World Cup and 2023 AFC Asian Cup.

UAE kicked off the World Cup qualifiers on a promising note, with wins over Malaysia (2-1) and Indonesia (5-0) but were caught on the wrong side of 2-1 and 1-0 results against Thailand and Vietnam, respectively. Marwijk’s side are set to host Malaysia and Thailand in the fifth and sixth rounds on June 3 and 7 respectively, before a match against Indonesia (June 11) followed by an encounter against Vietnam (June 15) to conclude their qualification matches.
The last piece of competitive action for UAE was in the 24th Arabian Gulf Cup where they couldn’t make it past the group stage, suffering defeats at the hands of Iraq (2-0) and Qatar (4-2) after a 3-0 win over Yemen. Since the outbreak of the Coronavirus pandemic, UAE have played a couple of friendles. They were in action against Uzbekistan (2-1 loss), Tajikistan (3-2 win) and Bahrain (3-1 loss), and last played out a goalless draw in a friendly against Iraq in January, 2021.


The most recent meeting between the two teams was in the 2019 AFC Asian Cup, which UAE won 2-0, before which The Whites faced India 13 times. In the two games as part of qualifiers for the 2014 World Cup, UAE won their home leg 3-0. In the return tie that was held in New Delhi that ended 2-2, Jeje Lalpekhlua and Gouramangi Moiranthem helped the Blue Tigers rally back from two goals down but lost out on aggregate.

The highest margin of victory for UAE remains a 5-0 thrashing in a friendly in 2011 and for India a 2-0 win in the 1981 Merdeka Tournament that was held in Malaysia.

IND v UAE 14 2 3 9 7 26 -19 14.29 %



The UAE national team, under head coach Bert van Marwijk, have been training at the sub-stadium of Al Wasl Club since Tuesday, March 23rd.

Having played out a goalless draw in a friendly against Iraq in January, Van Marwijk  had earlier announced  a 29-member squad for the friendly tie against India, the Dutch coach began the camp with 26 players.

Key midfielders Abdullah Al-Naqbi and Caio Canedo are ruled out with injuries while goalkeeper Adel Al Hosani has been dropped from the previous squad.


Ali Mabkhout UAE

Ali Mabkhout:  He scored in the 2-0 win over India in the 2019 AFC Asian Cup with midfielder Khalfan Mubarak bagging the other. He added three more goals against Thailand, Kyrgyz Republic and Australia in the competition. The top scorer in the 2015 Asian Cup with six goals, Ali Mabkhout has netted six times in the ongoing qualifiers including a hat-trick in a 5-0 win over Indonesia. He is UAE’s all-time top goalscorer with 60 international goals.




UAE squad for India friendly
Goalkeepers Ali Khasif, Khaled Issa, Mohammed Al Shamsi, Fahd Al Dhanhani.
Defenders Bandar Al-Ahbabi, Shaheen Abdel-Rahman, Walid Abbas, Mahmoud Khamis, Khalifa Al-Hammadi, Hassan Al-Mahrami, Al-Hassan Saleh, Salem Rashid.
Midfielders Mohamed Al-Attas, Ali Salmeen, Yahya Nader, Abdullah Ramadan, Majed Hassan, Fabio de Lima, Khalfan Mubarak.
Forwards Khalil Al Hammadi, Tahnoun Al Zaabi, Ali Saleh, Suhail Al Noubi, Ali Mabkhout, Sebastian Tigali, Zayed Al Ameri.



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