United Arab Emirates national football team

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United Arab Emirates
Shirt badge/Association crest
Nickname(s) Al-Abyad (The White)
Eyal Zayed (Zayed's sons)
Association U.A.E. Football Association
Sub-confederation WAFF (West Asia)
Confederation AFC (Asia)
Head coach Mahdi Ali
Captain Ismail Matar
Most caps Adnan Al Talyani (161)
Top scorer Adnan Al Talyani (52)
FIFA ranking 73 Decrease 5 (4 June 2015)
Highest FIFA ranking 42 (November 1998)
Lowest FIFA ranking 138 (January 2012)
Elo ranking 51 (June 2015)
Highest Elo ranking 37 (15 January 2015)
Lowest Elo ranking 151 (September 1981)
First colours
Second colours
First international
 United Arab Emirates 1–0 Qatar 
(Riyadh, Saudi Arabia; March 17, 1972)
Biggest win
 Brunei 0–12 United Arab Emirates United Arab Emirates
(B. S. Begawan, Brunei; April 14, 2001)
Biggest defeat
 United Arab Emirates 0–8 Brazil 
(Abu Dhabi, UAE; November 12, 2005)
World Cup
Appearances 1 (First in 1990)
Best result Group stage; 1990
Asian Cup
Appearances 9 (First in 1980)
Best result Runners-up; 1996
Confederations Cup
Appearances 1 (First in 1997)
Best result Group stage; 1997

The United Arab Emirates national football team (Arabic: الامارات العربية المتحدة لكرة القدم‎) represents the United Arab Emirates in association football and is controlled by the United Arab Emirates Football Association, the governing body for football in United Arab Emirates and competes in AFC (the Asian Football Confederation). The team is popularly known as Al-Abyad (The Whites).

United Arab Emirates' home ground varies, having playing most of their games at Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi. Abu Dhabi's Al Jazira Stadium and Hazza Bin Zayed Stadium in Al Ain are other venues.

It has made one World Cup appearance, in 1990 in Italy, but lost all three of its games to Colombia, West Germany and Yugoslavia. Two years later the UAE took fourth place in the 1992 Asian Cup, and runner-up in 1996 which hosted the tournament. In both tournaments their final match was lost on penalty kicks. They also won Gulf Cup of Nations on two occasions, first in 2007 when they won the title for the first time in their history and second in 2013. They finished third in the recent AFC Asian Cup and will be hosting the next edition in 2019.


Early years[edit]

The first match of UAE national football team was played on 17 March 1972, four months after the union of the United Arab Emirates. They played against Qatar at Riyadh's Prince Faisal bin Fahd Stadium which UAE won 1–0, the only goal was scored by Ahmed Chowbi. Then, team faced three other Arabian countries, including 4–0 and 7–0 losses to Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. They also beat Bahrain 3–0.

After participating in four Gulf Cup of Nations since 1972, UAE hosted 1982 edition. They finished third, same position with two previous tournaments.

First Asian Cup appearances[edit]

UAE qualified for the first time to the AFC Asian Cup in 1980, held in Kuwait. They drawn with eventual winners, Kuwait, runner-up South Korea, Malaysia and Qatar in Group B. They drew 1–1 with Kuwait and lost three other matches, finished their first appearance at the tournament in fifth place at the group stage and ninth (out of ten teams) in overall.

They also qualified for two next tournaments, 1984 in Singapore and 1988 in Qatar, which they eliminated in group stage in both. Their first victory of the tournament was also occurred in match against India on 7 December 1984 under Heshmat Mohajerani.

1990 FIFA World Cup in Italy[edit]

In 1984, Mohajerani resigned as UAE head coach and was replaced with former Brazil manager Carlos Alberto Parreira. Parreira led the country at 1988 which was unsuccessful and left his position after the tournament. He was succeeded by Brazilian World Cup winning coach Mário Zagallo. Zagallo led the country to qualify for the 1990 FIFA World Cup, which was held at Italy. However, Zagallo resigned before the tournament and Parreira returned as team head coach to led UAE at the tournament.

They were drawn at Group D along with eventual winner West Germany, Colombia and Yugoslavia. They lost 2–0 to Colombia, 5–1 to West Germany and 4–1 to Yugoslavia. They finished fourth with no points, scoring two goals and conceding eleven goals. UAE's first goal at the tournament was scored by Khalid Ismaïl against West Germany. After the tournament, Parreira was sacked. Two years later and in 1992 AFC Asian Cup, UAE finished at fourth place, their best until then.

1996 AFC Asian Cup[edit]

UAE hosted 1996 AFC Asian Cup at home country. They hired Croatian coach Tomislav Ivić one year before the tournament. They were drawn in Group A along with Kuwait, South Korea and Indonesia. They drawn 1–1 with South Korea in the opening match, defeated Kuwait 3–2 and Indonesia 2–0 to qualify at Group winners with seven points. At quarter-finals, they faced Iraq 1–0 with golden goal was scored by Abdulrahman Ibrahim at 103rd minute in extra times. They was faced again with Kuwait, this time at semi-finals and won 1–0 to qualify to the final for the first time. In final, they loss to Saudi Arabia in penalty shout-outs. They finished the tournament as runner-up, which is still their best finish of the AFC Asian Cup.

The tournament was also review as one of the best tournaments being held since 1956. The tournament had an average 3.08 goals per game with 80 goals scored, 49 goals higher than previous edition.

UAE also appeared in 1997 FIFA Confederations Cup after award a spot because Asian winners Saudi Arabia was hosted the games. They lost first match 2–0 to Uruguay. Then, they defeated South Africa 1–0. In final match, they were defeated 6–1 by Czech Republic and missed their chance to qualify for the next round. They finished third in their group.

Fahad Khamees captained UAE in the 1990 FIFA World Cup

Dark years[edit]

Despite their good performances at previous Asian Cup, UAE missed qualification for the 2000 AFC Asian Cup in Lebanon. They also finished last at 2002 Gulf Cup of Nations.

They were eliminated in three next AFC Asian Cup tournaments at group stage, the worst was at 2011 which they not scored any goals. At this time, many notable coaches were managed UAE, including Carlos Queiroz, Roy Hodgson and Dick Advocaat. In 2006, UAE appointed Senegal's head coach at the 2002 FIFA World Cup as their new manager. He led UAE to the 2007 Gulf Cup of Nations title, the country first major achievement.

Recent successes[edit]

After hiring many notable and European coaches, UAE decided to appoint a veteran coach. They appointed Olympic team coach Mahdi Ali as the new manager of the national team. Ali previously led the country to their first ever appearance at the Olympic Games.

Ali began creating a young squad for UAE, invited many players that he had worked with them at youth levels. He led UAE to their second Gulf Cup of Nations title in 2013 Gulf Cup of Nations.

2015 AFC Asian Cup[edit]

UAE's form at the 2015 AFC Asian Cup was surprise. They were drawn in Group C along with Iran, Qatar and Bahrain. They defeated Qatar 4–1 in their first match. At the next match, they defeated Bahrain 2–1 which qualified them for the knockout stage. In the group's final game, UAE lost 1–0 to Iran and advanced as group runner-up. They faced defending champions Japan in the quarter-final and won the match in a penalty shootout to advance to the last four. However, they lost 2–0 to host country Australia in the semi-finals. In the third place play-off, they beat Iraq 3–2 and finished the tournament in the third place. UAE will be hosting the 2019 AFC Asian Cup.


The United Arab Emirates has known as Al-Abyad, meaning The White and also Eyal Zayed which meant Zayed's sons, given by supporters and medias.

In October 2012, the Asian Football Confederation official website published an article about the UAE national team's campaign to qualify for the 2015 AFC Asian Cup, in which the team was referred to as the "Sand Monkeys." This was the indirect result of vandalism of the Wikipedia article on the team, and the AFC was forced to apologise for what was perceived as a racist slur.[1]

Home stadium[edit]

UAE's main national stadium is Sheikh Zayed Stadium, located in capital Abu Dhabi. However, UAE also used Mohammed Bin Zayed Stadium (Al Jazira Stadium) and newly constructed Hazza Bin Zayed Stadium in Al Ain.

Historical Kits[edit]

1990 Home
1990 Away
1992 Asian Cup Home
1994 Asian Games Home
1994 Asian Games Away

Coaching staff[edit]

Head coach United Arab Emirates Mahdi Ali
Assistant coach United Arab Emirates Abdullah Masfar
Goalkeeping coach Serbia Branko Davidović
Fitness coach France Pierre Barrieu
Team doctor United Arab Emirates Ammar Awad
Technical director Germany Bernhard Schumm


Current squad[edit]

Match Date: 11–30 January 2015 (2015 AFC Asian Cup)
Opposition:  Iraq
Caps and goals correct as of: 30 January 2015 after match against Iraq.

0#0 Pos. Player Date of birth (age) Caps Goals Club
1 1GK Majed Naser (Captain) (1984-04-01) 1 April 1984 (age 31) 69 0 United Arab Emirates Al-Ahli
12 1GK Khalid Eisa (1989-09-15) 15 September 1989 (age 25) 1 0 United Arab Emirates Al Ain
22 1GK Mohamed Yousif (1991-05-25) 25 May 1991 (age 24) 0 0 United Arab Emirates Sharjah
3 2DF Walid Abbas (1985-06-11) 11 June 1985 (age 30) 20 4 United Arab Emirates Al-Ahli
6 2DF Mohanad Salem (1985-03-01) 1 March 1985 (age 30) 8 0 United Arab Emirates Al-Ain
8 2DF Hamdan Al-Kamali (1989-05-02) 2 May 1989 (age 26) 33 0 United Arab Emirates Al-Wahda
9 2DF Abdulaziz Hussain (1990-09-10) 10 September 1990 (age 24) 11 0 United Arab Emirates Al-Ahli
14 2DF Abdelaziz Sanqour (1989-05-07) 7 May 1989 (age 26) 8 0 United Arab Emirates Al Ahli
18 2DF Mohammed Fawzi (1990-02-22) 22 February 1990 (age 25) 4 0 United Arab Emirates Al-Ain
19 2DF Mohamed Ismail Ahmed Ismail (1983-07-01) 1 July 1983 (age 32) 3 0 United Arab Emirates Al Ain
23 2DF Mohamed Ahmed (1989-04-16) 16 April 1989 (age 26) 13 0 United Arab Emirates Al-Ain
2 3MF Hassan Ibrahim (1990-10-19) 19 October 1990 (age 24) 4 0 United Arab Emirates Al Shabab
4 3MF Habib Fardan (1990-11-11) 11 November 1990 (age 24) 18 7 United Arab Emirates Al Ahli
5 3MF Amer Abdulrahman (1989-07-03) 3 July 1989 (age 26) 43 2 United Arab Emirates Baniyas
10 3MF Omar Abdulrahman (1991-09-20) 20 September 1991 (age 23) 32 3 United Arab Emirates Al Ain
13 3MF Khamis Esmaeel (1989-08-16) 16 August 1989 (age 25) 12 0 United Arab Emirates Al Jazira Club
15 3MF Ismail Al Hammadi (1988-07-01) 1 July 1988 (age 27) 56 7 United Arab Emirates Al-Ahli
16 3MF Mohamed Abdulrahman (1989-01-01) 1 January 1989 (age 26) 5 0 United Arab Emirates Al Ain
17 3MF Majed Hassan (1992-08-01) 1 August 1992 (age 22) 7 1 United Arab Emirates Al-Ahli
21 3MF Haboush Saleh (1989-07-13) 13 July 1989 (age 25) 9 0 United Arab Emirates Baniyas
7 4FW Ali Mabkhout (1990-10-05) 5 October 1990 (age 24) 37 25 United Arab Emirates Al Jazira Club
11 4FW Ahmed Khalil (1991-06-08) 8 June 1991 (age 24) 63 27 United Arab Emirates Al Ahli
20 4FW Saeed Al-Kathiri (1988-03-28) 28 March 1988 (age 27) 16 4 United Arab Emirates Al Ain

Recent and forthcoming fixtures[edit]




Tournament records[edit]

FIFA World Cup record[edit]

World Cup record
Year Round Position GP W D* L GS GA
Uruguay 1930 to Germany 1974 Did not enter - - - - - - -
Argentina 1978 Withdrew - - - - - - -
Spain 1982 Did not enter - - - - - - -
Mexico 1986 Did not qualify - - - - - - -
Italy 1990 Group stage 24th 3 0 0 3 2 11
United States 1994 to Brazil 2014 Did not qualify - - - - - - -
Total Round 1 1/20 3 0 0 3 2 11
* Denotes draws include knockout matches decided on penalty kicks.

AFC Asian Cup record[edit]

Year Round Position GP W D* L GS GA
Hong Kong 1956 to Iran 1976 Did not enter
Kuwait 1980 Group stage 9th 4 0 1 3 3 9
Singapore1984 Group stage 6th 4 2 0 2 3 8
Qatar 1988 Group stage 8th 4 1 0 3 2 4
Japan 1992 Fourth place 4th 3 1 2 0 2 1
United Arab Emirates 1996 Runners-up 2nd 6 4 2 0 8 3
Lebanon 2000 Did not qualify
China 2004 Group stage 15th 3 0 1 2 1 5
IndonesiaMalaysiaThailandVietnam 2007 Group stage 12th 3 1 0 2 3 6
Qatar 2011 Group stage 13th 3 0 1 2 0 4
Australia 2015 Third place 3rd 6 3 1 2 10 8
United Arab Emirates 2019 Qualified 0 0 0 0 0 0
Total 9/16 Second place 36 12 8 16 32 48

FIFA Confederations Cup record[edit]

FIFA Confederations Cup record
Year Round Position Pld W D * L GF GA
Saudi Arabia 1992 Did not qualify
Saudi Arabia 1995
Saudi Arabia 1997 Group stage 6th 3 1 0 2 2 8
Mexico 1999 Did not qualify
South Korea Japan 2001
France 2003
Germany 2005
South Africa 2009
Brazil 2013
Russia 2017
Total Group stage 1/10 3 1 0 2 2 8

Gulf Cup of Nations record[edit]

Year Host Country Place
1970  Bahrain Did not enter
1972  Saudi Arabia Third place
1974  Kuwait Fourth place
1976  Qatar Third place
1979  Iraq Sixth place
1982  UAE Third place
1984  Oman Fourth place
1986  Bahrain Runners-up
1988  Saudi Arabia Runners-up
1990  Kuwait Fifth place
1992  Qatar Fourth place
1994  UAE Runners-up
1996  Oman Fourth place
1998  Bahrain Third place
2002  Saudi Arabia Sixth place
2003  Kuwait Fifth place
2004  Qatar Group stage
2007  UAE Champions
2009  Oman Group Stage
2010  Yemen Semi-finals
2013  Bahrain Champions
2014  Saudi Arabia Third place


Active players are shown in Bold.


Major competitions

Runner-up (1): 1996
Third place (1): 2015
Fourth place (1): 1992
Winners (2): 2007, 2013
Runner-up (3): 1986, 1988, 1994
Third place (5): 1972, 1976, 1982, 1998, 2014

Minor competitions

Winners (1): 2005

See also[edit]


External links[edit]