UAE focused on win with slim World Cup qualification hopes on the line

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Coach Edgardo Bauza believes a win for UAE against Iraq goes beyond their attempt to qualify for the 2018 World Cup.

UAE take on Iraq in their last 2018 World Cup qualifying group game on Tuesday.

The Whites are fourth in the standings and apart from winning their own game in Jordan, need Australia and Saudi Arabia to slip up while also hoping for a huge swing in goal difference.

UAE 7/4 to beat Iraq

The odds are stacked against them but regardless of the outcome, head coach Edgardo Bauza is desperate for the win.

“Calculations are difficult because they depend on the results of others,” said Bauza.

“But we forget that during the game because our only focus is to win."

Bauza is looking ahead to the future and realises the importance of a victory for the team moving forward.

“Victory will help us build a strong team for the future as we prepare to host, and give a good account of ourselves in, the 2019 Asian Cup.”

The Argentine coach drew his first competitive game with UAE 1-1 against Thailand in June and defeated Saudi Arabia 2-1 at home last week.

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His side will however be without six players when they face Iraq as Omar Abdulrahman, Esmail Ahmad and Ali Khaseif are sidelined with injuries while Khamis Esmail, Ali Mabkhout and Mahmoud Khamis are suspended.

“Despite the absences I have great confidence in the players. I wish I could have the same line-up as I did against Saudi but those available are just as qualified to get three points.

“Omar Abdul Rahman is an important player but Esmail Mattar did well in Omar’s absence against Saudi. I didn’t know the level of the players very well before the Thailand game, but after that match I was able to identify their ability ahead of the Saudi game where preparation was good and morale was high.

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