Who are the UAE's key men?

The panenka-scoring striker, the bushy-haired baller that Xavi rates and the baseball cap-wearing mentor. Asian football expert @JohnnyDuerden spotlights five UAE names who could make life difficult for our Caltex Socceroos on Wednesday morning (KO 1.30am AEST).

The Caltex Socceroos take on the United Arab Emirates in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday evening in the second game in the final round of qualification for the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

Both teams recorded victories in the opener last Thursday with Australia defeating Iraq 2-0 while the UAE went to Japan and won 2-1.

It's a huge game and there are five UAE stars for Australian fans, players and coaching staff to watch out for.

Ahmed Khalil

The striker is not only the current AFC Player of the Year and one of Asia's most dangerous strikers, he is currently the talk of the continent's football scene. 

His reputation, already pretty high, went through the roof last week with two memorable goals to sink Japan.

Ahmed Khalil

Both showed the kind of technique that he has become famous for. The first was a fine free-kick that flew into the top corner but the second was a penalty and even more impressive, a delicate Panenka over the diving goalkeeper. 

To come out with such a move at such a stage of the game and on such a stage was as breathtaking as it was majestic.

Khalil is on fire and at the moment, give him a chance and the 25 year-old will score.

Mahdi Ali

The coach - and his fashion accessory, a baseball cap - have been a feature of United Arab Emirates football for years.

This youthful-looking 51 year-old has been the boss of various national youth teams at Under 19, 20 and 23 levels and took the main job back in 2012.

Coming through the ranks with many of his players, he is close to his stars as any coach and has a habit of answering questions meant for them at press conferences.

Mahdi Ali

He has guided the so-called 'golden generation' to the 2012 Olympics, to third place at the 2015 Asian Cup and perhaps, a first World Cup since 1990.

Ali has built a stable framework for the UAE national team, something that many predecessors failed to do or did not even attempt.

The end result is that everyone knows their roles and those of their team-mates. Not afraid to fight the clubs and federation to get what he wants, the best may be yet to come

Omar Abdulrahman

The playmaker needs little introduction to fans around Asia.

He wowed the 2015 Asian Cup with his skills, touches and vision. The 24 year-old may not defend as much as his coach would like but when you are as good going forward as the bushy-haired baller then you just have to shrug your shoulders and enjoy the show.

Linked closely to big European clubs such as Manchester City, Barcelona and Arsenal, he plays just behind the strikers though drifts wherever he wants, including on the frontline.

Omar Abdulrahman

There is little he can't do on the ball and when you have Spanish star Xavi singing your praises then you know you have made it. 

It is not often he is overshadowed by a team-mate but he was last week by Ahmed Khalil.

Australia should watch out as 'Amoory' is raring to go.

Ali Mabkhout

The striker is on fire. There is a debate to be had in the United Arab Emirates as to who is the better forward: Ahmed Khalil or Ali Mabkhout.

The latter's resume is impressive. Top scorer with five at the 2014 Gulf Cup, five at the 2015 Asian Cup and already five in qualification for the 2018 World Cup.

Ali Mabkhout

The 25 year-old works incredibly hard and never stops running. Increasingly composed in front of goal, Mabkhout has really benefited from the faith that has been placed in him by the coach.

When Khalil does not score, this man often takes up the slack and vice-versa.

Amer Abdulrahman

The classy midfielder not make the headlines that his namesake collects but that's not a problem for the 27-year-old.

He will relish facing Australia in his hometown of Abu Dhabi, though he recently joined Al Ain in what was perhaps the signing of the year in the UAE league.

Amer Abdulrahman

Rarely puts a foot wrong and does so much right. Can pick a pass, can read the game and can be an island of composure when things are going a little crazy all around.

Is the kind of player that is loved and rated by fans who know how important he is to the team.