UAE have won all four of their games and now move on to Round 3 for a place at Qatar 2022.
were able to win 3-2 against Vietnam in the Group G decider in Dubai on Tuesday night to usurp them at the standings' summit and advance as group winners, according toThe National
UAE have won all four of their games since the campaign restarted on June 3. UAE now move on to Round 3, which is scheduled to begin later this year, where they will seek to become one of the four from 12 teams to qualify forQatar 2022
. The draw is expected to be made within the next fortnight.
UAE were by far the dominant side in their game against Vietnam, racing to a 3-0 lead shortly after half-time. However, the Southeast Asians were able to concede twice late on, although the second goal came so deep into injury-time that Vietnam could not mount another attack.
“From the beginning, I already said it will not be an easy job, but it’s possible,”
Bert van Marwijk
said after securing qualification.
“You have to win four games back-to-back. I’m very proud and we can be very proud of this team that they did it.
“Every game they convinced, and every game they showed football from a high level. And every game we were better than our opponents. Today was maybe our best game - we played so well in my opinion, exactly the way I like to play.
“But, still, I’m angry at the end, because I don’t like it at the end when you play so well and you make everybody proud... I wasn’t afraid that we would get a draw, but at 3-0, you must make it 4-0, 5-0. And now at the end, it’s 3-2; 3-2 doesn’t say anything from what I saw on the pitch. If you play against better opponents then you may not make those mistakes.
“So I’m very happy with the performance and I’m unhappy with the last few minutes, the two mistakes. But I sit here satisfied as a coach. We must be very happy here, that we did it. This team has a future.”
Van Marwijk, a 2010 World Cup runner-up with the Netherlands and the manager who guided Saudi Arabia to the 2018 finals, was first appointed as the manager for nine months from March 2019. He was then reappointed in December 2020.
He thanked Sheikh Rashid bin Humaid Al Nuaimi, President of the Football Association, FA vice-presidents Abdulla Al Junaibi and Yousef Al Sahlawi, and the federation for enabling the national team to prepare extensively for the postponed qualifiers.
He also praised his staff for their work during the past six months.
When he was asked how he is going to prepare for the next round of the qualification, he answered:
“Like we worked the last six months. And we go on with that mission and work hard. And keep playing in our own style and try to improve.
“This is a very good group, with a lot of young players. They have a future. I’m full of confidence with this team about the future.”
was able to score the opener in the 32nd minute on Tuesday. Ali Mabkhout and Mahmoud Khamis then scored in the 40th and 50th minute of the game respectively. Mabkhout concluded qualifying at the top of the scoring charts, with 11 goals.
Sitting alongside Van Marwijk at the post-match press conference – he was voted man of the match – Salmeen said:
“We mentioned from the beginning that it will not be an easy mission for us. But we did everything we could and did the maximum possible to earn the full points of this group.
“We finished this competition by topping the group. I gift this win and this accomplished mission to the fans of the UAE as promised, and we promise to perform even better for them in the next round.”