x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

UAE are simply irresistible

The UAE's ability to keep things "simple" was the secret of their triumph over Venezuela in the last 16 of the Under 20 World Cup on Wednesday night, according to the South Americans' coach.

AD200910710089934AR
AD200910710089934AR

SUEZ, EGYPT // The UAE's ability to keep things "simple" was the secret of their triumph over Venezuela in the last 16 of the Under 20 World Cup on Wednesday night, according to the South Americans' coach. Following his side's 2-1 defeat against the Asian champions, Cesar Farias said: "We have a saying back home that sometimes simplicity is the best way to achieve your goals. The UAE managed to do that in this game. They kept things simple, while we couldn't.

"But I cannot really fault my players; they have given it their all. "One of my two central defenders has a broken nose and the other has injuries on his mouth. So they have done everything they could. The same way, the UAE players gave it their all to bounce back for a win, which is a deserved one. We just have to admit they were the better team on the night. We had our chances, but missed them and they took their chances."

The Venezuelans were making their first appearance at a World Cup at any age level after emerging as surprise qualifiers from South America, ahead of six-time youth World Cup winners Argentina. Coming to Egypt, Farias's side had set their hearts on keeping the fairy tale going until the semi-finals. But Ahmed Khalil's winner, just when the game seemed headed for extra time, left them shattered. "I have seen tears of pain in the dressing room," said Farias. "It is a tough loss to accept. We wanted something more than qualifying for the second round and we knew we could achieve that. But overall, the balance sheet is 100 per cent positive. I am happy with everything we have accomplished, this being our first World Cup."

Talking to his heartbroken players after the game, Farias, who was to return home anyway after the game to lead the senior national team in the qualifiers for the 2010 World Cup, advised them to forget about defeat and focus on reaching greater heights in the future. "They are all below 20 years of age and they should not think of this as the end," he said. "It is the start of something new and wonderful for them."

Should the UAE beat Costa Rica in the quarter-finals, they will face Brazil or Germany in the semi-final. The two meet on Saturday after victories on Wednesday. Germany overcame Nigeria 3-2, while Brazil outclassed Uruguay 3-1. "It took an extraordinary performance to win the match as we did," said Brazil coach Rogerio Lourenco. arizvi@thenational.ae