Dubai: UAE coach Bert van Marwijk is sure his men are capable of turning around their World Cup 2022 qualification campaign despite back-to-back losses in Group G.
A 2-1 loss to Thailand last month and Thursday evening’s 1-0 reverse against Vietnam in Hanoi mean the UAE are now four points off the pace, with only the group winners ensured of a place in the final Asian qualification stage.
Vietnam lead the table on 10 points, with Thailand second on seven and the UAE third on six alongside Malaysia after the fourth round of matches.
There are still four games to go for the UAE to set things straight and Van Marwijk remains confident they can get back to the top in time.
“There are still many matches to play and we are determined to play them offensively to earn as much points as possible,” Van Marwijk said.
“There are still points to earn in the coming rounds. We will fight to keep our chances of qualifying.”
The UAE started brightly in Hanoi but they were up against it when Khalifa Al Hammadi was shown a straight red card eight minutes before half-time, just before Vietnam struck the only goal.
“The result of the match wasn’t good for us, but in football we have to always accept the result and work for the future,” Van Marwijk said. “The red card changed the direction of the match.
“We performed well and created several chances to score, but we didn’t have the final touch. We forced the opponent to take a step back on the pitch and they relied on the counter-attack.
“We know the result is disappointing, but we have to always look on the positive side, which is the excellent performance of the players. We played almost 60 minutes with 10 men against a stubborn opponent, but I praise my players.”