United Arab Emirates

United Arab Emirates team
United Arab Emirates

World Cup Participation

1990

Championships:

None

United Arab Emirates Team History

A Relatively Young Team

A relatively young national team, UAE played their first match in 1972 against Qatar and won 1-0. They first qualified for the AFC Asian Cup in 1980 but failed to make it past the Group Stage. UAE also qualified in 1984 and 1988 but finished the 80s without a knockout stage appearance.

Under Mario Zagallo, the team managed to clinch the first UAE FIFA World Cup appearance in 1990. Unfortunately, UAE lost all three of their matches at the FIFA World Cup and conceded 11 goals in the process.

The team found more success in the next editions of the AFC Asian Cup. In 1992, UAE finished fourth, and, as hosts, in 1996, they were runners-up in the competition. They were defeated by Saudi Arabia 4-2 on penalties after 120 scoreless minutes. Because Saudi Arabia were hosts of the 1997 FIFA Confederations Cup, United Arab emirates team qualified as AFC runners-up.

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UAE lost to both Uruguay and Czech Republic at the tournament but managed a 1-0 win against South Africa. This meant they were eliminated, as they finished third in the FIFA World Cup group.

After a run of five consecutive appearances in the AFC Asian Cup, UAE failed to qualify in 2000. The early 2000s were a difficult period for UAE because they also finished in last place at the 2002 Gulf Cup. Their fortunes changed in 2007 when they won the Gulf Cup, defeating Oman 1-0 in the final.

Winning Their Second Gulf Cup Title

Under Mahdi Ali, UAE won their second Gulf Cup title in 2013 and were semifinalists at the 2015 AFC Asian Cup. Ali Mabkhout finished as the tournament’s top scorer, with five goals. Defying the odds, UAE defeated Australia for the first time ever in the 2019 Asian Cup quarterfinals. However, they were eliminated by Qatar in the quarters.

In 2022, UAE made the playoff round of AFC World Cup qualifying, where they faced off against Australia. UAE fought back from a one-goal deficit but Ajdin Hrustic’s goal sent Australia through to the intercontinental playoff.

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