MX23RW : Saturday, July 31 15:16:44| >> :600:4129593:4129593:
Jun 15, 2021 at 5.45pm UK
UAEUnited Arab Emirates
Salmeen (32'), Mabkhout (40' pen.), Khamis (50')
Al Ahbabi (90+4')
FT(HT: 2-0)
Linh Nguyen (85'), Vuơng Tran (90+3')
Hai Que (45')

Preview: United Arab Emirates vs. Vietnam - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Tuesday's World Cup Qualifying - Asia clash between United Arab Emirates and Vietnam, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

The United Arab Emirates have one final chance to overtake opponents Vietnam in the World Cup Qualifying Group G table on Tuesday, as the top two meet in Dubai.

Their visitors, meanwhile, will be looking to extend an eight-game unbeaten run which has seen them all but seal progress to the next stage of the Asian qualifying process.

Match preview

Having struggled in the opening stages of World Cup qualifying, the UAE have returned reinvigorated after a year-long break in proceedings, to win all three of their fixtures so far this month.

A 4-0 triumph over Malaysia last week was then followed by a convincing 3-1 win over Thailand to put them within touching distance of the group leaders.

Last time out, the Emirates thrashed Indonesia 5-0 to keep their hopes of reaching the first-ever Middle Eastern finals alive, as prolific striker Ali Mabkhout netted two more goals. In doing so, Mabkhout overtook veteran India forward Sunil Chhetri as the second-highest active goalscorer in international football, behind only Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo.

Having bolstered his phenomenal strike rate at the Indonesians' expense, the Al Jazira sharpshooter can now boast a total of 75 goals from 91 appearances for his nation, while Brazil-born Fabio Lima also struck twice against Group G's bottom side.

A former World Cup finalist as the Netherlands' coach, back in 2010, head coach Bert van Marwijk will be aware that his team now hold their fate in their own hands ahead of one final fixture in the second qualification phase.

It has been a testing period in charge for the former Feyenoord and Australia manager, as he has already been fired by the Emirati FA in December 2019, following defeat to local rivals Qatar in the Gulf Cup. However, some twelve months later, he returned to the dugout - winning five of his six games since.

Now victory against Vietnam, on home soil at the Zabeel Stadium, would earn the UAE passage to the final group stage of qualifiers as group winners. In fact, even a loss or draw against could potentially still send Al Abyad through to the next round as one of the four best second-placed teams across Asia.

Meanwhile, unbeaten after their first seven games in the group, Vietnam are within touching distance of progress and have tightened their grip on top spot since the resumption.

Following a convincing 4-0 win against Indonesia - featuring their third consecutive clean sheet - Park Hang-seo's skilful side cemented their place at the summit with victory over Malaysia last Friday. The Vietnamese sat back and packed their midfield with five men, playing mostly on the counter, and with the score at 1-1 in the 82nd minute, Nguyen Van Toan was tripped in the box; captain Que Ngoc Hai subsequently firing home from the spot.

Including their latest success, the Golden Dragons have drawn twice and won five times to date, so will hope to again escape unscathed as the away side in Dubai.

Perhaps the best side in Southeast Asia, now Vietnam will aim for a repeat of their 2019 win over the UAE in the reverse fixture - to keep dreams of a first global finals burning bright.

United Arab Emirates World Cup Qualifying - Asia form:
  • W
  • L
  • L
  • W
  • W
  • W

United Arab Emirates form (all competitions):
  • D
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • W

Vietnam World Cup Qualifying - Asia form:
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • D
  • W
  • W

Vietnam form (all competitions):
  • W
  • W
  • D
  • D
  • W
  • W

Team News

Following last month's training camp, UAE coach Bert van Marwijk slimmed his squad down to a more workable 24 men, each of whom ply their trade domestically.

Striker Fabio Lima - born in Paraiba, Brazil - has taken to international football with serene ease, notching six goals from eight appearances so far and will join compatriot Caio Canedo Correa in the starting XI.

The imported pair are expected to join Khalfan Mubarak in support of main man Ali Mabkhout in the Emirati attack.

Vietnam's squad, meanwhile, is also comprised entirely of home-based players, and is relatively inexperienced - with only skipper Que Ngoc Hai registering more than 40 caps to date.

However, 35-year-old Bui Tan Truong is set to continue in goal for the Golden Dragons, with both Vu Van Thanh and Phan Van Duc strong contenders to start in midfield.

United Arab Emirates possible starting lineup:
Khasif; Abbas, Abdulrahman, Al Hammadi, Mohamed; Mubarak, Ramadan, Al Hammadi, Lima; Correa, Mabkhout

Vietnam possible starting lineup:
Bui T.T; Do, Bui T.D, Que; Phong, Vu, Phan, Tuan Anh; Quang Hai, Tien Linh, Van Toan

SM words green background

We say: United Arab Emirates 1-2 Vietnam

Though both sides are enjoying a superb streak of form, it is Vietnam who have set the standard in Group G, with some eye-catching performances and displays of resilience when required.

Even home advantage may not be enough for the UAE to overcome an ever-improving side, so they may have to rely on finishing as a 'best runner-up' to stay in contention for a place at neighbours' Qatar's festival of football next year.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at are predicting under 3.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Under 3.5:data

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Saturday's key events

· After silvers in both the men's and women's events, Team GB will be fancied to get on the podium again in the mixed relay (11.30pm-1am)

· Touted as Michael Phelps's successor, Caeleb Dressel already has two gold medals from these Games and he will be going for a third in the men's 50m butterfly final (2.30am)
· It is Katie Ledecky vs. Ariarne Titmus III in the women's 800m freestyle final, with Ledecky entering as firm favourite (2.46am)
· Great Britain will be heavily fancied to add another gold medal to their swimming haul, having produced by far the fastest qualifying time for the mixed 4x100m medley relay final (3.43am)

· Dina Asher-Smith is one of three British women in the 100m semi-finals (3.01am-3.20am), and will hope to challenge for a medal in what is likely to be a star-studded final (1.50pm)
· The inaugural Olympic 4x400m mixed relay event concludes with Great Britain one of the eight finalists going for gold (1.35pm)

· Team GB's dreams of an unlikely gold are still alive in the women's event as they face France in their semi-final (3.30am). The winners will face either New Zealand or Fiji in the gold medal match later in the day (10am)

· Gold medals are up for grabs in the windsurfer - RS:X finals. Emma Wilson participates for Team GB in the women's final (6.33am), while Tom Squires is in action in the men's (7.33am)

· Following his shock semi-final defeat, ending his hopes of a Golden Slam in 2021, Novak Djokovic battles for bronze against Pablo Carreno Busta (7am)
· The women's singles event reaches its conclusion with the gold medal match between Belinda Bencic and Marketa Vondrousova

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