United Arab Emirates national football team

United Arab Emirates
Nickname(s) The White Jersey
Eyal Zayed (Zayed's sons)
Association U.A.E. Football Association
Confederation AFC (Asia)
Sub-confederation WAFF (West Asia)
Head coach Mahdi Ali
Captain Ismail Matar
Most caps Adnan Al Talyani (161)
Top scorer Adnan Al Talyani (52)
First colours
Second colours
FIFA ranking
Current 64 Increase 6 (24 November 2016)
Highest 40 (November–December 1998)
Lowest 138 (January 2012)
Elo ranking
Current 60 (28 June 2016)
Highest 24 (15 January 2015)
Lowest 140 (September 1981)
First international
 United Arab Emirates 4–0 Qatar 
(Riyadh, Saudi Arabia; March 17, 1972)
Biggest win
 Brunei 0–14 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)

 Kuwait 7-0  United Arab Emirates
(Baghdad, Iraq; April 1, 1979)
World Cup
Appearances 1 (first in 1990)
Best result Group stage, 1990
Asian Cup
Appearances 9 (first in 1980)
Best result Second Place, 1996
Confederations Cup
Appearances 1 (first in 1997)
Best result Group Stage, 1997

The United Arab Emirates national football team (Arabic: منتخب الإمارات 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. They were for a time managed by legendary English manager Don Revie.

United Arab Emirates' home ground varies. Most home games have been played at Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi with Abu Dhabi's Al Jazira Stadium and Hazza Bin Zayed Stadium in Al Ain as 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 as hosts of the tournament. In both tournaments their final match was lost on penalty kicks. They also won the Gulf Cup of Nations on two occasions – in 2007 when they won a title for the first time in their history and then in 2013. They finished third in the recent AFC Asian Cup and will be hosting the next edition in 2019.


Early years

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 and UAE won 1–0 with the only goal scored by Ahmed Chowbi. Then, the team faced three other Arabian countries, losing 4–0 and 7–0 to Saudi Arabia and Kuwait respectively and beating Bahrain 3 nothing.

After participating in four Gulf Cup of Nations since 1972, the UAE hosted the 1982 edition. They again finished third, as they did in the two previous tournaments.

First Asian Cup appearances

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

They also qualified for next two tournaments, 1984 in Singapore and 1988 in Qatar and were again eliminated in the group stages in both. Their first victory of the tournament occurred against India on 7 December 1984 under manager Heshmat Mohajerani.

1990 FIFA World Cup in Italy

In 1984, Mohajerani resigned as UAE head coach and was replaced with former Brazil manager Carlos Alberto Parreira. Parreira led the country at the 1988 AFC Asian Cup and left his position after the tournament. He was succeeded by Brazilian World Cup winning coach Mário Zagallo. Zagallo led the country to qualification for the 1990 FIFA World Cup in Italy. However, Zagallo resigned before the tournament and Parreira returned as head coach to lead 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, at the 1992 AFC Asian Cup, UAE finished in fourth place, their best finish up to that date.

1996 AFC Asian Cup

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

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

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

Fahad Khamees captained UAE in the 1990 FIFA World Cup

Dark years

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

They were eliminated in the next three AFC Asian Cup tournaments at the group stage. Their worst performance was in 2011 when they finished the tournament goalless. At this time, many notable coaches managed UAE, including Carlos Queiroz, Roy Hodgson and Dick Advocaat. In 2006, UAE appointed Senegal's 2002 FIFA World Cup head coach, Bruno Metsu as their new manager. He led UAE to the 2007 Gulf Cup of Nations title, the country's first major achievement.

Recent successes

After hiring many notable European coaches, in 2012, UAE 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, inviting many players that he had worked with at youth level. He led UAE to their second Gulf Cup of Nations title in 2013.

2015 AFC Asian Cup

UAE's form at the 2015 AFC Asian Cup was a surprise to many. 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, in which Iran scored a controversial goal that appeared to be offside. However, the gulf team advanced as group runner-up. They faced defending champions Japan in the quarter-final and earned a shock victory on penalties 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.

2018 FIFA World Cup Qualification

UAE had to face Saudi Arabia, Palestine, Timor-Leste and Malaysia in the Group A of the AFC Qualification Second Round. They ended second in the Group behind Saudi Arabia and in front of Palestine, Malaysia and Timor-Leste. In the Third Round, they will be facing Australia, Japan, Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Thailand in Group B.


UAE has plenty of rivals like  Uzbekistan , Saudi Arabia,  Qatar and  Bahrain, however the rivalry with Saudi Arabia is often considered to be the biggest and many Emirati football fans did not enjoy the recent match against Saudi Arabia in the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualification.


The United Arab Emirates is known by supporters and the media as Al-Abyad, meaning The White jersey and also Eyal Zayed which means Zayed's sons.

Home stadium

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

Historical Kits

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

Coaching staff

Head coach United Arab Emirates Mahdi Ali
Assistant coach United Arab Emirates Hassan Abdouly
Fitness coach France Patrice Coutard
Goalkeeping coach United Arab Emirates Hassan Ismail
Analyzer France Jean Martinez


Current squad

0#0 Pos. Player Date of birth (age) Caps Goals Club
1 1GK Majed Naser (1984-04-01) 1 April 1984 70 0 United Arab Emirates Al Ahli
22 1GK Ahmed Mahmoud (1989-03-30) 30 March 1989 3 0 United Arab Emirates Baniyas
1GK Ali Khasif (1987-06-09) 9 June 1987 11 0 United Arab Emirates Al-Jazira

3 2DF Walid Abbas (1985-06-11) 11 June 1985 69 5 United Arab Emirates Al Ahli
6 2DF Mohanad Salem (1985-03-01) 1 March 1985 47 2 United Arab Emirates Al-Ain
8 2DF Hamdan Al-Kamali (1989-05-12) 12 May 1989 33 5 United Arab Emirates Al-Wahda
9 2DF Abdulaziz Haikal (1990-09-10) 10 September 1990 29 5 United Arab Emirates Al Ahli
14 2DF Abdelaziz Sanqour (1989-05-07) 7 May 1989 36 1 United Arab Emirates Al Ahli
18 2DF Mohammed Fawzi (1990-02-22) 22 February 1990 4 0 United Arab Emirates Al-Ain
19 2DF Ismail Ahmed (1983-07-07) 7 July 1983 26 1 United Arab Emirates Al-Ain
24 2DF Mohammed Marzooq (1989-01-23) 23 January 1989 0 1 United Arab Emirates Al Shabab

4 3MF Habib Fardan (1990-03-12) 12 March 1990 48 6 United Arab Emirates Al Ahli
10 3MF Omar Abdulrahman (1991-09-20) 20 September 1991 57 6 United Arab Emirates Al-Ain
13 3MF Khamis Ismail (1989-08-16) 16 August 1989 27 3 United Arab Emirates Al Ahli
15 3MF Ismail Al Hammadi (1988-07-01) 1 July 1988 94 14 United Arab Emirates Al Ahli
16 3MF Mohamed Abdulrahman (1989-01-01) 1 January 1989 27 1 United Arab Emirates Al-Ain
20 3MF Hassan Ibrahim (1990-10-19) 19 October 1990 5 1 United Arab Emirates Al Shabab
21 3MF Tareq Ahmed (1988-03-12) 12 March 1988 4 0 United Arab Emirates Al-Nasr
3MF Khalfan Mubarak (1995-05-09) 9 May 1995 0 0 United Arab Emirates Al Jazira

2 4FW Salem Saleh (1991-01-14) 14 January 1991 13 7 United Arab Emirates Al-Nasr
4FW Ismail Matar (1983-04-07) 7 April 1983 114 36 United Arab Emirates Al-Wahda
7 4FW Ali Mabkhout (1990-10-05) 5 October 1990 46 38 United Arab Emirates Al-Jazira
11 4FW Ahmed Khalil (1991-06-08) 8 June 1991 87 49 United Arab Emirates Al Ahli

Recent and forthcoming fixtures



Tournament records

FIFA World Cup record

World Cup record
Year Round Position GP W D* L GS GA
Uruguay 1930 to Germany 1974Not eligible to enter-------
Argentina 1978Did not enter-------
Spain 1982Did not enter-------
Mexico 1986Did not qualify-------
Italy 1990Group stage24th3003211
United States 1994 to Brazil 2014Did not qualify-------
Russia 2018TBD-------
Qatar 2022TBD-------
TotalRound 11/223003211
* Denotes draws include knockout matches decided on penalty kicks.

AFC Asian Cup record

Year Round Position GP W D* L GS GA
Hong Kong 1956 to Iran 1976Did not enter
Kuwait 1980Group stage9th401339
Singapore1984Group stage6th420238
Qatar 1988Group stage8th410324
Japan 1992Fourth place4th312021
United Arab Emirates 1996Runners-up2nd642083
Lebanon 2000Did not qualify
China 2004Group stage15th301215
IndonesiaMalaysiaThailandVietnam 2007Group stage12th310236
Qatar 2011Group stage13th301204
Australia 2015Third place3rd6312108
United Arab Emirates 2019Qualified000000
Total9/16Second place36128163248

FIFA Confederations Cup record

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

YearHost CountryPlace
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 ArabiaRunners-up
1990  Kuwait Fifth place
1992  Qatar Fourth place
1994  UAERunners-up
1996  Oman Fourth place
1998  Bahrain Third place
2002  Saudi ArabiaSixth place
2003  KuwaitFifth place
2004  Qatar Group stage
2007  UAE Champions
2009  Oman Group Stage
2010  Yemen Semi-finals
2013  UAE Champions
2014  Saudi ArabiaThird place


Active players are shown in Bold. As of October 7, 2016.

Most Caps[1]
# Player Caps Goals Career
1 Adnan Al Talyani 161 52 1983–1997
2 Subait Khater 120 1 1999–2011
3 Ismail Matar 116 36 2003–
4 Abdulrahim Jumaa 115 13 1998–2009
5 Zuhair Bakheet 112 27 1988–2002
6 Abdulsalam Jumaa 111 7 1997–2010
7 Muhsin Musabah 106 0 1988–1999
8 Mohammed Omar 102 28 1996–2009

Top Goalscorers
# Player Goals Caps Career
1 Adnan Al Talyani 52 161 1983–1997
2 Ahmed Khalil 49 79 2008–
3 Ali Mabkhout 38 46 2012–
4 Ismail Matar 36 116 2003–
5 Mohammad Omar 28 102 1996–2009
6 Zuhair Bakheet 27 112 1988–2002
7 Saeed Al Kass 15 60 1998–2013
8 Abdulrahim Jumaa 13 115 1998–2009


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


  1. Roberto Mamrud; Karel Stokkermans. "Players with 100+ Caps and 30+ International Goals". RSSSF. Archived from the original on March 22, 2012. Retrieved 2012-04-05.


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