The UAE coach Bert van Marwijk warned his team against complacency after their third straight win in the Asian World Cup qualifiers in Dubai on Friday.
Having collected nine points from three games since the resumption of the World Cup qualifiers in Dubai, The Whites are now on a roll as they head into the final Group G game on June 15 against leaders Vietnam with great momentum.
Van Marwijk’s team will advance to the final round of World Cup qualifiers with a victory over the skillful Vietnam, who lead the second-placed UAE by two points in Group G. The winners of eight groups will qualify for the final round, but the UAE can still book their tickets as one of the four best-placed runners-up teams across eight groups.
Even a draw or a defeat by a slender margin could be enough for Van Marwijk’s men.
Van Marwijk demands victory in UAE's curnch game against Vietnam
The Dutch coach, though, will be happy only with a victory in their crunch game.
And for The Whites to beat Vietnam, who have conceded only two goals in seven matches, Van Marwijk knows his team cannot to afford show any lapse of concentration. Despite their 5-0 win over Indonesia on Friday, the UAE suffered from defensive lapses and would have even conceded a goal in the first half if their goalkeeper Ali Khasif had not saved a penalty from Muhammad Rafli.
While the UAE put on a dazzling show of attacking football, gaps in their back four gave the Dutch coach reasons to worry ahead of their clash against the gifted Vietnamese team.
“The team started the match (against Indonesia) very well. But later, the players thought that the match would be easy, which caused some decline in our performance,” said Van Marwijk, referring to the defensive lapse that allowed the Indonesians to earn a penalty. “If you feel that everything is going easy, it means that you need more discipline in the way you play.”
Van Marwijk, who famously helped Saudi Arabia qualify for the 2018 World Cup in Russia, asked the team to remain focused on the Vietnam game.
“We will continue to work to prepare the team for the game and focus more on our style of play,” he said.
“We will not make major changes to the way we play or the elements, and we will do our best to achieve our goal and qualify for the next stage.”
By Rituraj Borkakoty
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