UAE 'will spare no effort' against Qatar to earn place in Fifa Arab Cup semi-final

Bert van Marwijk's men take on the tournament hosts, and Asian champions, in last eight on Friday

UAE midfielder Ali Salmeen says his side will “spare no effort” in their quest to reach the Fifa Arab Cup semi-finals with victory against Qatar on Friday.

The national team, who won two and lost the third of their three group matches, take on the tournament hosts in the last-eight tussle at Al Bayt Stadium in Al Khor. Qatar, the current Asian champions, advanced as group winners, with three victories from three.

On Thursday, Salmeen confirmed the UAE were "fully prepared" for the tough challenge against Qatar, saying: "The atmosphere among the players is more than wonderful and the morale is high, and everyone is keen to provide a good level.

“We will strive to achieve the desired result. We will spare no effort to reach our goal and we hope that God will help us."

The UAE last faced Qatar in the group stage of the 2019 Arabian Gulf Cup, where they were defeated 4-2 - a match that spelled the end to current UAE manager Bert van Marwijk's first tenure with the team.

The two sides met also in the Asian Cup semi-final earlier that year, when Qatar prevailed 4-0 in Abu Dhabi to then go on to lift the trophy.

Looking ahead to Friday's fixture, Salmeen thanked the UAE fans for their continued support throughout the tournament, and said: “The strong stance behind the national team of the Emirati football fans is very much needed in this match. They will not be forgotten at such an important time.”

As of yet, it has not been confirmed if Ali Mabkhout will be available for the quarter-final. The Al Jazira striker, the UAE’s all-time leading goalscorer, missed through injury Monday's 1-0 defeat to Tunisia in the Group B finale.

The national team will, though, be without captain Walid Abbas after the defender picked up a yellow card against Tunisia. He therefore misses the Qatar clash through suspension.

However, Abbas urged his teammates to fight hard in his absence to progress to the last four.

“Everyone is aware of the importance, and at the same time, the difficulty of the match, especially since the competitor is playing at home, and will be backed by great public support," Abbas said.

“It is all or nothing, since the winner will qualify for the semi-finals, while the loser will leave the tournament. This increases the importance of the match and doubles its difficulty."

Regarding the UAE's build-up to the game, Abbas said: "Our preparations for this match went well through daily training, following a 24-hour rest after the Tunisia match. The technical staff made a great effort in preparing all the existing elements, and all the players are ready and at the coach's call."

Updated: December 9th 2021, 2:30 PM