x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

UAE team handed difficult beach soccer World Cup qualifying test

The UAE, which finished third in the Intercontinental Cup earlier this year, was drawn in the only group of four for next month's qualifying matches in Qatar.

UAE beach soccer player Rami Abdullah Al Messabi looks to put the ball past the USA.
UAE beach soccer player Rami Abdullah Al Messabi looks to put the ball past the USA.

The UAE will face Palestine, Uzbekistan and Saudi Arabia after being drawn in a tough group for the 2013 Fifa Beach Soccer World Cup qualifiers.

The games, which will be held next month in Qatar, will see 13 teams from across the Middle East battle it out for places at the final in Tahiti next September.

The UAE beach soccer team won the AFC competitions in 2007 and 2008, but has not qualified for the World Cup since hosting it in 2009.

The team will go into next year's qualifying competition with high hopes, following their third place finish behind Russia and Brazil at last month's Intercontinental Cup event in Dubai.

But they will face a tough test after being drawn in the only group of four at the qualifying competition, which gets underway at Katara Beach in Doha from January 22.

The UAE side will open their campaign against Saudi Arabia that day, followed by a clash with Uzbekistan the following day. They will face Palestine on January 24, with semi-final and final rounds over the net two days.

Players had been preparing for the launch of the UAE beach soccer league, but have been given a month's break to prepare for the competition, with training under way at Al Mamzar.

The other qualifying groups see Qatar face Oman and Australia, Japan drawn with Bahrain and Lebanon, and Iran take on China and Iraq.

sports@thenational.ae

twitter Follow us @SprtNationalUAE