x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Australia again the UAE's hurdle

The Under 16 side have the chance to gain revenge for their peers today when they take on Australia in the quarter-finals.

The UAE's Under 16 side have the chance to gain revenge for their peers today when they take on Australia in the quarter-finals of the Asian Under 16 Championship in Uzbekistan.

Last month, the Emirates' Under 19 team were knocked out of their age group's Asian Championship by Australia at the same stage while defending their title.

However, Bader Ahmed, the U16 coach, is more concerned about the prospect of qualifying for the Under 17 World Cup in Mexico next year, the reward for reaching the semi-finals.

"We want to definitely win this game but revenge is not the reason, the bigger incentive is the World Cup," Ahmed said ahead of today's match at the JAR Stadium in Tashkent.

The UAE are still unbeaten, having drawn against Kuwait and China before coming from a goal down to beat Iraq 2-1 in their final group match to clinch a place in the knockout stages.

"My players showed their true character in that game," Ahmed added. "We had to win it to qualify and they did come back strongly when we our backs were against the wall. This is the biggest game for us. We know Australia are a strong team but they are not unbeatable. "

The Australian team are coached by Jan Versleijen, the Dutchman, who was in charge of Pro League club Al Jazira during the 2006/07 season.

He was also in charge of the U19 team who beat the UAE, before losing 3-2 to North Korea in the U19 final in China.

apassela@thenational.ae

Noon, Abu Dhabi Sports 2