UAE confirm squad for upcoming 2021 Fifa Arab Cup

Manager Bert van Marwijk names strong group for November 30-December 18 event in Qatar

UAE forward Ali Mabkhout is among the 23-man squad named by coach Bert van Marwijk for the 2021 Fifa Arab Cup in Qatar. AFP
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The UAE squad for the upcoming 2021 Fifa Arab Cup has been confirmed.

On Monday, manager Bert van Marijk named a strong group for the November 30-December 18 tournament, which takes place in Qatar.

The 23-man list includes the baulk of the team that Van Marwijk has entrusted throughout the final round of qualification for the 2022 World Cup. However, Al Ain goalkeeper Khalid Essa and veteran Al Wahda forward Ismail Matar have kept their places having been called up for this month’s World Cup qualification double-header against South Korea and Lebanon.

Fabio De Lima, though, is a notable absentee as the Al Wasl attacker continues to recover from a hamstring injury sustained earlier this month. Defender Khalifa Al Hammadi and midfielders Majed Hassan and Khalfan Mubarak - all three would have been expected to be included - are also out.

Drawn in Group B, the UAE open their campaign on November 30 against World Cup qualification rivals Syria, before facing Mauritania three days later. They round off the group against Tunisia on December 6. All three of their games will be staged in Doha.

The top two teams from each of the four groups advance to the quarter-finals, slated to be held on December 10 and 11, with both semi-finals staged on December 15. The third-place play-off and final fall three days later.

A previous version of the Arab Cup was played most recently in 2012, in Saudi Arabia, with Morocco the winners.

Although the 2021 Fifa Arab Cup represents the first under the banner of the world governing body, there has been nine previous iterations of the event.

Iraq are the tournament’s most decorated team, with four titles. Saudi Arabia, meanwhile, have two, while Morocco, Egypt and Tunisia have each tasted success once.

The 32 matches for the 2021 tournament will be played at six venues used for next year's Fifa World Cup.

Updated: November 22, 2021, 10:30 AM