UAE drawn alongside heavyweights Italy, Spain and Japan at Intercontinental Beach Soccer Cup Dubai 2019
Emirates have fallen at the semi-final stage in each of the last three editions of the Beach Soccer Cup
Hosts UAE will take on European heavyweights Italy and Spain as well as Asian champions Japan in the group stages of next month's Intercontinental Beach Soccer Cup Dubai 2019.
Defending champions Iran are in Group B alongside three-time winners Russia, Mexico and Egypt following the draw held at the Dubai Sports Council (DSC) headquarters on Wednesday.
Former Real Madrid and Spain defender Michel Salgado helped draw out the names for the tournament taking place at the Kite Beach in Dubai from November 5 to 9.
“We are delighted to present another edition of the Intercontinental Beach Soccer Cup, a hugely popular event among both the teams and their fans," said Saeed Hareb, secretary general of the DSC.
"The majestic Kite Beach will once again be the home of the tournament after a hugely successful event last year.
“The Intercontinental Cup is one of the most anticipated events in beach soccer and Dubai is proud to be home of this tournament. The tournament was born here in 2011 and today teams from around the globe are clamouring to get an invite for the tournament. All the teams and players love to come here because Dubai makes them feel at home.”
The UAE have fallen at the semi-final stage in each of the last three editions of the Beach Soccer Cup and face another tall order to reach the final at this year's tournament.
Both Italy (4) and Spain (7) are ranked in the top 10 of the Beach Soccer Worldwide rankings, while Japan beat the Emirates 3-1 in a shoot-out to win the 2019 AFC Beach Soccer Championships final in March.
In reaching the final of the Asian championship, the UAE had already booked their spot among the 16 teams who will be competing in the 2019 Fifa Beach Soccer World Cup in Paraguay. Four other teams from this Beach Soccer Cup Dubai 2019 - Russia, Italy, Japan and Mexico – will also be flying out to the World Cup, which is takes place between November 21-December 1.
Mohammed Hazzam Al Dhaheri, general secretary of the Football Association, said the timing of the Dubai tournament was ideal preparation for the UAE with the World Cup just over a month away.
“Our team has been training throughout the year and looking forward to this competition,” Al Dhaheri said.
“Obviously this will be their final preparation before they fly out to the World Cup."
Updated: October 9, 2019 03:18 PM