It is without doubt the biggest match in decades for the UAE football team. The national side will carry the hopes of countless fans across the Gulf region when they take on Australia in a crunch World Cup play-off on Tuesday.
Victory at the the Ahmad bin Ali Stadium in Al Rayyan will take UAE one step closer to Qatar 2022, with only Peru then standing between them and a spot in the finals.
The national team are aiming for only a second World Cup appearance more than three decades after their debut in 1990. Coach Rodolfo Arruabarrena, who is still fresh in the job, has been given the difficult task. He will have ample support on his side with around 5,000 UAE fans set to attend the all-important match.
One of the players Arruabarrena will be relying on is star playmaker Omar Abdulrahman, who is back in the side having last featured for the national team in November 2019. Also eager to make his mark will be Brazilian Caio Canedo, now granted UAE citizenship, and desperate to bring glory to his new home.
“For me it's an honour to defend such a big country,” Canedo told The National. “For everything the country did for me and my family. Since the first day I was here I felt the hug, the affection from the fans. All the fans and the UAE people, they embraced me very well, the affection was amazing. So I'm very grateful for this opportunity to defend this country."
The Aussies, meanwhile, will be aiming for their fifth straight World Cup appearance. They defeated Honduras to book a berth in Russia four years ago and now Graham Arnold's team must travel a similar path to qualification.
With so much on the line, here is all you need to know about the crucial play-off.
UAE v Australia World Cup play-off
Tuesday, June 7, 2022, from 10pm (UAE time)
Ahmad bin Ali Stadium, Al Rayyan, Qatar
How to watch in the UAE?
The match can be seen live on Abu Dhabi Sports Asia 1 & 2. And also on Starzplay.
Winners of Tuesday's play-off will take on Peru in a one-off match on June 13. The winners of that match will qualify for Qatar 2022.