Dubai: The UAE are confident of taking full points and climbing to the top of the group when they take on winless Indonesia in their second round match of the World Cup 2022 and AFC Asian Cup 2023 joint qualifiers at Al Nasr Club’s Al Maktoum Stadium tonight.
Thailand are currently heading Group G with four points after two matches followed by the UAE who have full points following their hard-fought 2-1 away win against Malaysia exactly a month back in Kuala Lumpur.
Malaysia have three points and Vietnam have one followed by Indonesia who are winless at the bottom of the group.
“Two of the most important things we need to do tomorrow is that we shouldn’t be underestimating Indonesia and we should stay true to ourselves. We’ve had external training camps in Austria and Bahrain, and I would have loved to be together for a longer time,” Dutch coach Bert Van Marwijk told media on the eve of the qualifier.
“The idea is to develop our own style of football, and for this, we have to be true to ourselves. Indonesia is unpredictable and tricky and anything can happen if we tend to take them lightly.”
While the experienced Esmail Mattar has failed to make Van Marwijk’s squad, the 67-year-old Dutch coach will be welcoming a few experienced players, including playmaker Omar Abdul Rahman and striker Ahmad Khalil.
“Omar is an exceptionally good player and you can see that quality every time you work with him. We had contact with his club every day and we sincerely hope he can play more with his club (Al Jazira),” Van Marwijk said.
“I think we have brought him into a state of match readiness as he is getting fitter. I am happy he is 80 to 90 per cent ready for any challenges thrown at him.
“Ahmad had some problems and I am very happy he is back as he puts in a tremendous amount of work. He works unbelievably hard and I like him, both personally and professionally and I am happy he’s in my squad.”
The UAE coach was pleased with the lessons learnt in last month’s opener against Malaysia. “I was disappointed about our performance in the first 30 minutes as I like to play offensive football and keep possession while pressing for a win,” he said. “But the pitch there was difficult to play on, so we had to rely on playing the long ball. But the last part of the first half we improved and we got even better in the beginning of the second half as we started to play the way we want to play.
“We have to develop our own style of play and this can’t be achieved immediately. We have to be ourselves. We must not be influenced by other things. When we play in the way we want to play, it is then we start to develop our own style and personality.”
Vietnam v Malaysia, 5pm
UAE v Indonesia, 8pm
Group G standings
Team P W D L GD Pts
Thailand 2 1 1 0 +3 4
UAE 1 1 0 0 +1 3
Malaysia 2 1 0 1 0 3
Vietnam 1 0 1 0 1
Indonesia 2 0 0 2 −4 0