UAE keen to build on Paraguay performance as they complete Austria camp against Venezuela

National team put in strong display in friendly against Paraguay on Friday despite losing 1-0

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The UAE have a “great desire” to glean as much from their current training camp in Austria, as they look for another solid performance against Venezuela on Tuesday to help preparations for upcoming competition.

The national team, in Wiener Neustadt for an 11-day get-together, were beaten 1-0 by Paraguay on Friday in the first of two friendlies in Austria. Fabian Balbuena sealed victory for the South Americans in the 85th minute when he headed home unmarked from a corner.

However, the UAE created a number of chances throughout the match, with youngster Harib Abdallah hitting the woodwork and all-time leading goalscorer Ali Mabkhout going close. Rodolfo Arruebarrena’s side round off the camp against Venezuela on Tuesday.

For the UAE, Austria marks the beginning of a long preparation period for three major tournaments in the first half of next year, starting with the Arabian Gulf Cup in Iraq in January and culminating with the Asian Cup next June.

Speaking after the Paraguay match, full-back Abdulaziz Haikal said: “The friendly was a very useful test. The players did a great match against a strong team with big stars, and only conceded in the final five minutes.

“The friendly matches we play during the camp are aimed at preparing the team for the upcoming competitions. All players have great desire to get maximum benefit from the camp.

“We are going to play another friendly against Venezuela, who are a strong team that have good and experienced players. The match will be an opportunity for the technical staff to correct the negatives of the last match, and to continue preparations to reach the highest level of readiness before starting the official competitions.”

Meanwhile, Arruabarrena praised the players’ performance on Friday, with the Argentine stressing that he was more focused on his side’s display rather than the result.

Updated: September 26, 2022, 7:05 AM