x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 January 2018

Fans praise UAE squad’s performance in opening match

Football fans are impressed by the U17 team's skills during their opening match against Honduras.

ABU DHABI // Football fan Khalid sat after the match, smoking shisha, and lost in thought.

The game started off well, he said, but went awry when one of the UAE players was sent off.

“The second half was bad,” said the Emirati, one of many people who chose to watch the national team’s U17 Fifa World Cup opening clash from the comfort of his local cafe.

The players, said his friend, looked tired.

“They sent off one of the players, it’s unfair. Why?” Khalid asked, while the cafe’s other patrons nodded their heads in agreement.

How do they believe the squad will fare in their next match, against Brazil?

“It’s going to be a tough game,” Khalid said.

On Twitter, fans and experts gave their opinion on the result.

“Poor start to the #u17wc by #UAE. Lost 2-1 to Honduras. Need 2 wins to to guarantee the passage to last 16 (We all know thats not happening),” wrote Emirati Omar Al Raisi, a football fan and sports columnist for The National.

For other supporters, despite the UAE’s loss, the team had every reason to be proud.

“The game is fantastic,” said Somali expatriate Saeed, 42, who drove home from Dubai to watch the game. “They are playing with 10,” he said, in defence of the UAE side.