Bert van Marwijk will continue as UAE manager despite World Cup qualifying woes

Dutchman's future had been subject to intense speculation following draw with Iraq and defeat to Iran

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Bert van Marwijk's immediate future remains with the UAE following a meeting with the Football Association to discuss the national team’s disappointing World Cup campaign.

The Dutchman’s position had been subject to much speculation following last week’s 2-2 draw with Iraq in Dubai. The result, coming five days after the 1-0 defeat to Iran, extended the UAE’s winless start to the final round to four matches.

As such, Van Marwijk’s side sit fourth in Group A, five points off the two automatic spots for Qatar 2022 and two behind Lebanon in third. Third place does provide a route to the global finals, albeit through a sequence of play-offs.

In his second stint as UAE manager, Van Marwijk met with the FA’s board of directors on Monday at their headquarters in Dubai, where he put forward his reasoning for the frustrating run of results.

Sheikh Rashid bin Humaid Al Nuaimi, the FA president, told reporters following the meeting that Van Marwijk’s dismissal was not discussed, adding that the get-together was simply to assess the national team's poor form.

Last Thursday, Sheikh Rashid reiterated his support for the team and called on supporters to get behind the players in their bid to turn around the campaign.

Seeking to reach only a second World Cup in the country’s history, the UAE have drawn three and lost one of their four final-round fixtures, scoring three goals. Against Iraq, they needed an injury-time strike from Ali Mabkhout to rescue the point at the Zabeel Stadium.

The national team are next in action away to South Korea on November 11 before facing Lebanon away five days later. Currently, Iran and South Korea occupy the top two positions in Group A, with 10 points and eight points, respectively.

Van Marwijk, 69, was reappointed as UAE manager last December, almost one year since his previous tenure ended after nine months.

A World Cup runner-up in 2010 with the Netherlands, he masterminded Saudi Arabia’s qualification for the 2018 global finals. However, Van Marwijk did not take charge of the team for the tournament in Russia.

Updated: October 18, 2021, 4:55 PM