x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

UAE hoping to shine in Egypt

For the UAE team, playing in the Under 20 World Cup is a dream come true and the youngsters are determined to keep it going for as long as possible.

For the UAE team, playing in the Under 20 World Cup is a "dream come true" and the youngsters are determined to keep it going for as long as possible. The squad qualified for the tournament in Egypt after their stirring triumph at the Asian U19 Championship last year. They had gone to Saudi Arabia as virtual unknowns and returned home without losing a game. Now there is a lot of media attention around the team, but the players remain focused. "The World Cup is a dream for all the players," said striker Ahmed Ali. "We are determined to make it last. For the moment, though, we are thinking only about the opening game against South Africa [on Sunday]. We are the champions of Asia and we want to give a good account of Asian and Gulf football." Ali was Ahmed Khalil's strike partner during the Asian triumph, but he has lost place in the starting line-up following an injury. The Al Wahda youngster said: "Yes, I have lost my position in the starting line-up, but I am here to support my team and hope I can get a chance to play again." Egypt, the hosts, opened the tournament on Thursday night with a thumping 4-1 victory over Trinidad & Tobago.

arizvi@thenational.ae