Ahead of their clash with the Caltex Socceroos, UAE media have gone into overdrive over “Ali’s Heroes” after their national team’s stunning 2-1 win over Japan as expectations rise in the lead up to this huge game.
The teams meet on Tuesday night in Abu Dhabi (1.30am AEST) at Mohammed Bin Zayed Stadium with the home side buoyed by their heroics in Saitama.
With their second World Cup after Italia 1990 edging closer, the UAE were a front page splash after they defeated Japan in their opening final phase group qualification match.
"We believe in ourselves greatly. Our goal is to qualify for the World Cup, and to give happiness to the people of the UAE. From the first day of our camp in Spain the team resolved to fight and to not shrink from anything because we are soldiers fighting for our country,” Ahmed Khalil, the scorer of an audacious panenka to win it in Japan, told The National (click here for The National).
Even His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum was moved to tweet about the country’s heroes.
And top UAE striker Ahmed Khalil has called on the fans to get behind them for the tough task against Australia.
Match information courtesy of The National
2018 World Cup qualifying, Asia third round, Matchday 2
Local KO time: 7.30pm (1.30am AEST)
Where: Mohammed bin Zayed Stadium, Abu Dhabi, Al Jazira’s home ground on Muroor Road across from the Dusit Thani hotel
Tickets: The UAE FA have yet to announce official ticketing info. However, recent club and national team matches at the Mohammed bin Zayed Stadium have typically been free to attend. Arrive early, it can get busy for a big match.