The UAE Football Association are confident the Under 17 national team can progress to the second round of the Under 17 World Cup in Nigeria in October, after being drawn against the USA, Spain and Malawi in the first round. Holders Nigeria face European champions Germany, Argentina and Honduras in a group dubbed the "Group of Death" by Fifa vice-president, Jack Warner. "Our group is pretty well balanced," said the UAE FA's head of communications, Julian Stanculescu. "All of the games will be tough. We cannot claim one will be easier than another. Spain are a strong team. USA have a good pool of players. We are hoping to make it to the second round."
As first time qualifiers, Malawi would appear to offer the UAE their best chance of a first round win, but Stanculescu added: "They played very well in qualifying. They have a lot of talent." Having previously petitioned for the tournament to be moved from Nigeria over safety concerns for teams and supporters travelling to the worn-torn country, the UAE FA have now thrown their support behind Fifa's Local Organising Committee, who have been touring the World Cup's venues in an attempt to address the concerns.
"[Fifa] are addressing this seriously. We're optimistic everything will go well," said Stanculescu. @Email:email@example.com