x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Matar says Germany test will show UAE where they stand

Contemplating beating the likes of Germany may seem optimistic for the UAE, but Ismail Matar is convinced that, with a bit of self-belief, they can be competitive against the best in the world.

DUBAI // Contemplating beating the likes of Germany may seem optimistic for the UAE, but Ismail Matar is convinced that, with a bit of self-belief, they can be competitive against the best in the world. The UAE take on Germany in friendly on Tuesday at the Al Nasr Stadium, before completing their failed 2010 World Cup qualifying campaign against South Korea on June 6 and Iranon June 10.

The Germans are one of the most formidable sides in international football. Winners of three World Cups and the same number of European titles, they are currently ranked second in the world behind Spain, 188 spots ahead of the UAE. Matar said: "In football, anything can happen. You have to believe in yourself, go in and work hard. If you believe in your abilities, you will try to show everyone that you can win because you have the quality.

"We have good players too, but probably the mentality is different. We just need to work on that." The Whites have played against the Germans twice before, crashing to a 5-1 defeat in a group match of the 1990 World Cup and losing 2-0 at home in a friendly in 1994. Matar added: "We will test ourselves against one of the best teams in the world. We will know where we stand." In their last friendly against one of the world's best, the UAE were drubbed 8-0 by Brazil in 2005. Matar believes his side learnt a lot from that game and they could gain invaluable experience from the Germans as well.

He added: "If you see them individually, they probably don't rank very high among the likes of Messi, Kaka or Ronaldo. But if you put them together, they are one of the best teams in the world. "So we could learn a lot from them, especially the youngsters in the team." Germany's general manager Oliver Bierhoff has denied the nation's post-season tour of Asia is a waste of time. They face China today after a 10-hour flight on Monday, before jetting to Dubai for the UAE game.

Coach Joachim Loew has not been able to name his strongest squad as Bayer Leverkusen and Werder Bremen are involved in Saturday's German Cup final on tomorrow, while captain Michael Ballack is playing in the FA Cup final for Chelsea. But Bierhoff said: "The people who say there is no point to this trip are the same ones who say that German football has failed to take itself to other countries," he said.

"And they are the same people who criticise us for not giving young players enough chances." arizvi@thenational.ae