The UAE national team will prepare for the upcoming final round of qualifying for the 2022 World Cup with a training camp next month in Europe.
Bert van Marwijk’s side, who have been drawn in Group A alongside South Korea and Iran, will be based in Serbia from August 6-13 as they ready for their attempt to reach next year’s finals in Qatar.
The UAE kick off the third and final round on September 2 with a home match against Lebanon at Zabeel Stadium in Dubai, before travelling to Jordan to take on Syria in Amman five days later. Iraq represent the other team in the group. The top two sides are guaranteed to progress to the World Cup, while the third-placed team will then enter a series of play-offs to make the tournament.
After Serbia, the UAE squad plan to meet again on August 26 for their final training camp before the qualifiers, following Rounds 1 and 2 of the 2021/22 Arabian Gulf League season. On Friday, the Football Association confirmed Zabeel Stadium will host all the national team’s home matches in the next phase of qualification.
The UAE qualified for the third round last month, when they won their final four matches of the postponed Round 2 campaign to finish top of their group. Those matches also took place at Al Wasl’s home ground. The UAE have only once previously appeared at a World Cup, in 1990.
Speaking at this month’s draw for the third round, UAE assistant coach Salem Abdulrahman said: “It’s clear that it will be a big challenge to finish first or second in this very strong group. We respect our opponents, but at the same time we are not afraid. It will be difficult, but we have a chance to qualify.
“I think we are ready. In June, we played four games and we won four; we scored 15 goals and were playing attacking football. We have our own style now and that’s giving us more confidence. We’re ready for that.”