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Metsu has World Cup dream in Asian battlefield

7 July 2007 18:49

HANOI (AFP) - Bruno Metsu, who this year guided the United Arab Emirates to their first Gulf Cup title, has South Africa 2010 firmly in his sights ahead of their Asian Cup opener against hosts Vietnam on Sunday.

"Everything is important in football," smiled the shaggy-haired Frenchman when asked which is more important -- to win the Asian Cup or to qualify for the next World Cup finals.

"It is important to win," added the 53-year-old, who led Senegal to the 2002 World Cup quarter-finals and became UAE coach in May 2006 after a successful career as a club manager in three Gulf countries.

"If we can win the Asian Cup, it's fantastic for the team because this tournament has Japan, Australia, Iran and the Saudis," he said.

"But if you can go to the World Cup, it is also very important for the team, the country ... for everybody, and for the fans.

"I hope for the best result in Asia and I hope for the future we go to the World Cup."

The gas-rich UAE, actively importing and naturalising foreign talent, has been to the World Cup just once, in 1990, when they were knocked out in the first round. Metsu is also gunning for his own second World Cup.

He said the Gulf Cup victory in January was "good for our confidence," but added: "Six months later, I look at the future. Only the result will give you confidence."

The UAE have an erratic Asian Cup record since their debut in 1980.

They reached the semi-finals in 1992 and narrowly missed the Cup in 1996 by losing a penalty shoot-out to Saudi Arabia in the final.

After failing to qualify in 2000, they finished bottom of their group three years ago in China.

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