Closer to the goal

The UAE lived up to it slogan – Together We Can – beating Japan in a World Cup qualifier

UAE's Ahmed Khalil scores a penalty kick against Japan at Saitama Stadium on Thursday. Kazuhiro Nogi / AFP
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It’s been a long time since the UAE national football team reached the World Cup finals. Currently 74th in the Fifa rankings, the national side is trying to make it to Russia 2018, having last qualified for football’s biggest tournament in 1990.

While there has been a fair share of heartbreak over the years, this country’s football fans currently have much to be optimistic about, as our national side continues to show great promise under the tutelage of Mahdi Ali.

The UAE won their first match in the third round of qualification last Thursday against a strong Japanese side in Tokyo. That 2-1 win certainly adds extra significance to Tuesday’s contest with Australia in Abu Dhabi. Like Japan, the Socceroos are World Cup regulars, having appeared in the past three tournaments. The pair are the seasoned heavyweights in a very tough qualification group that also includes Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Thailand.

Our national side deserves your support at the Mohammed bin Zayed Stadium on Tuesday night.