UAE nationals are backing their “golden boys” through to the Asian Cup final after the team beat defending champions Australia.
Emirati fans believe a mixture of youth and experience is powering the UAE charge as they now face Qatar on Tuesday in Abu Dhabi.
Photographs and video of the goal scored by Ali Mabkhout were shared on social media with Instagram and Twitter posts cheering on an “unstoppable” UAE team to claim a spot in the final.
Pictures of the UAE players hugging each other in celebration and the Australians on their knees, heads bowed in disappointment, were among the most shared visuals after the 1-0 win on Friday night.
Ahmed Al Mesmari watched the game with his family. He believed the strategy and detailed planning of the team would take them through to the finals.
“It is the mixture of players we have like the older players with knowledge and experience and the young blood that is helping them," said Mr Al Mesmari, who works with the event operations team of the Expo 2020 Dubai.
"I was expecting an even better result from our side against Australia. I think we really have a good chance in the semi-finals and finals.”
English teacher Asma Al Zaabi also cheered the team along with her parents and siblings at home in Ras Al Khaimah.
“Our hearts are with them," she said. "It was such an exciting game because Australia were always considered a strong team. We were amazed at the effort of our team. They have practised a lot and planned very well."
The UAE went in as the underdogs in the match against Australia played in Al Ain on Friday.
Social media posts congratulated the team and called the result a “thriller” and “a big win”.
The UAE’s winning ways have converted non-football fans as well.
CrossFit coach Nuha Al Marri was in the gym when her WhatsApp groups and Instagram account began buzzing news of the UAE victory.
“There was so much excitement among my friends and all over social media," she said. "This is all everyone is talking about. I’m not usually interested in football but I will definitely watch the next game. The UAE has reached so far and have a chance to win this."