Bert van Marwijk speaks to his UAE squad ahead of the Lebanon match
Bert van Marwijk speaks to his UAE squad ahead of the Lebanon match Image Credit: UAE FA Twitter

The UAE go into Tuesday’s Qatar 2022 World Cup qualifier against Lebanon in Saida all too aware that they face stern challenge to keep their faint hopes alive of booking a spot at the showpiece event next year.

With the Iran and South Korea running away at the top of Asian qualifying third round Group A, the best the UAE can realistically hope for is third spot and a place in a series of play-offs next summer. They are currently fifth in the standings, one point behind Iraq and two behind Lebanon after five matches — and without a win so far.

UAE manager Bert van Marwijk plans to change all that on Tuesday and has made it clear to his players that they need to start getting more points on the board to stay alive. “I think everybody here of our team knows what to do, that there’s a chance to play for the third place,” he said. “Lebanon have five points, we have three. So I think it’s very clear.”

Lebanon will be hurting after Thursday’s last-gasp loss to Iran on Thursday and Van Marwijk warned that they will be looking to set things straight in front of a home crowd. The UAE drew 0-0 with Lebanon last time out and the Dutchman said: “You never see exactly the same games. The first game, we didn’t play bad. We just didn’t take our chances. But the way we played was good. Now every team has played five games. Yeah, the situation is what it is. Everywhere we play we play our own game, so we will do the same tomorrow.”