Bert van Marwijk keeps faith with Fabio De Lima and rest of UAE squad for World Cup camp

National team will convene on Friday for an eight-day camp in Serbia as they ramp up preparations for the third and final round of qualifiers

Bert van Marwijk has named a largely unchanged UAE squad for the upcoming World Cup qualification training camp in Serbia.

The national team will convene on Friday for an eight-day camp as they ramp up preparations for the third and final round of qualifiers for Qatar 2022. That phase begins next month, with the double-header against Lebanon on September 2 and Syria five days later. South Korea, Iran and Iraq make up the rest of Group A.

Van Marwijk announced his squad on Monday for the August 6-13 camp, with most of the players included from June’s successful qualification second-round campaign. Once more, naturalised trio Fabio De Lima, Caio Canedo and Sebastian Tagliabue are among the group.

De Lima, in particular, shone during the four rearranged Round 2 qualifiers two months ago, scoring five times to help the UAE turn around their fortunes as they eventually topped their group. The national team won all four postponed matches, which were played in Dubai and within a 13-day period. Shabab Al Ahli youngster Harib Abdallah is the only player to miss out from that squad for the Serbia camp.

After Lebanon at home - all home matches will be hosted at Al Wasl’s Zabeel Stadium - the UAE will travel to Jordan to take on Syria in Amman. Matchday 3 and 4, against Iran and Iraq, will be played in October. The third round runs until next March.

The UAE need to finish in the top two in Group A to automatically progress to what would be only a second World Cup appearance in the country’s history. However, should Van Marwijk’s side finish third, they enter a play-off against the third-placed team in Group B. The winner of that then advances to an intercontinental play-off for the final spot at 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 in the 2021/22 Arabian Gulf League season. The UAE's only World Cup appearance was in 1990.

SQUAD

Goalkeepers: Ali Khaseif, Fahad Al Dhanhani, Mohammed Al Shamsi, Adel Al Hosani

Defenders: Bandar Al Ahbabi, Shaheen Abdulrahman, Walid Abbas, Mahmoud Khamis, Mohammed Barghash, Khalifa Al Hammadi, Hassan Al Mahrami, Yousef Jaber, Mohammed Al Attas

Midfielders: Ali Salmeen, Abdullah Ramadan, Abdullah Al Naqbi, Majed Hassan, Abdullah Hamad, Khalfan Mubarak, Khalil Al Hammadi, Tahnoun Al Zaabi, Mohammed Jumah

Forwards: Fabio De Lima, Caio Canedo, Ali Saleh, Ali Mabkhout, Sebastian Tagliabue

Updated: August 3rd 2021, 8:19 AM
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