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UAE look for World Cup lifeline against Iran

19 November 2008 11:05

DUBAI (AFP) - Iranian national coach Ali Daei is not willing to take any chances against a desperate United Arab Emirates when the two teams meet in their Asia Group 2 World Cup Qualifier on Wednesday.

Iran are on top of the group, which also includes South and North Korea and Saudi Arabia.

They have four points from two matches and are tied with South Korea, but trailing on goal difference. Hosts UAE have lost all their three matches to date.

With just the group winners and runners-up making it to South Africa, the UAE are almost out of reckoning unless they show a dramatic turnaround in their form.

But Ali Daei, who wants nothing less than three points from tomorrow's match, reckons the fact that their rivals have no points will make them more dangerous.

"This is going to be a tough match for us. The UAE are a good side and they are playing at home, which is always an advantage," said Daei.

"But what makes them dangerous is that they desperately need to put up some points on the board. They have got absolutely nothing to lose."

The match will be a huge test for UAE's new coach Dominique Bathenay, who took over from Bruno Metsu and started his capaign with a 4-1 loss to South Korea in Seoul. UAE needs to win their match against Iran to keep their hopes afloat.

The UAE under-19 team won the AFC Under-19 Championship last Friday, and captain Abdulraheem Jumaa promised his seniors team will give their best to extend the celebrations of the fans.

Jumaa said: "It was a great win for the youth team and we can see the joy in the heart of all the fans. We are inspired and we want to produce a performance which will keep the celebrations going on for some time."

In their previous World Cup qualifying matches, the UAE have lost 2-1 to North Korea and to Saudi Arabia at home, followed by a 4-1 away humiliation against South Korea. Iran drew 1-1 against Saudi Arabia and beat North Korea 2-1.

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