United Arab Emirates national football team

United Arab Emirates
Nickname(s) The Whites (الأبيض)
Eyal Zayed (Zayed's sons) (عيال زايد)
Association U.A.E. Football Association
Confederation AFC (Asia)
Sub-confederation WAFF (West Asia)
Head coach Alberto Zaccheroni
Captain Majed Naser
Most caps Adnan Al Talyani (161)
Top scorer Adnan Al Talyani (52)
Home stadium Mohammed Bin Zayed Stadium
First colours
Second colours
FIFA ranking
Current 77 (16 August 2018)
Highest 40 (November – December 1998)
Lowest 138 (January 2012)
Elo ranking
Current 75 1 (19 August 2018)
Highest 24 (15 January 2015)
Lowest 140 (September 1981)
First international
 United Arab Emirates 1–0 Qatar 
(Riyadh, Saudi Arabia; March 17, 1972)
Biggest win
 Brunei 0–12 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 10 (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: 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 United Arab Emirates 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 Arabian Gulf Cup on two occasions; in 2007 when they won the title for the first time in their history, and the second time was in 2013. They finished third in the 2015 AFC Asian Cup and will be hosting the next AFC Asian Cup in 2019.


Early years

The first match of the United Arab Emirates 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 to nothing.

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

First Asian Cup appearances

In 1980, the United Arab Emirates 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 the qualification for the 1990 FIFA World Cup in Italy. However, Zagallo resigned before the tournament and Parreira returned as head coach to lead the United Arab Emirates 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, the United Arab Emirates finished in fourth place, their best finish up to that date.

1996 AFC Asian Cup

The United Arab Emirates hosted the 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, and after a goalless draw, they lost to Saudi Arabia 2–4 in a penalty shoot-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.

The United Arab Emirates also appeared in the 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.

Dark years

Despite their good performances at the previous Asian Cup, the United Arab Emirates missed the qualification for the 2000 AFC Asian Cup in Lebanon. They also finished in last place at the 2002 Gulf Cup in Saudi Arabia.

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 the United Arab Emirates, including Carlos Queiroz, Roy Hodgson and Dick Advocaat. In 2006, the UAE appointed Senegal's 2002 FIFA World Cup head coach, Bruno Metsu as their new manager. He led the United Arab Emirates to the 2007 Gulf Cup title, the country's first major achievement.

Recent successes

After hiring many notable European coaches, in 2012, the United Arab Emirates appointed the 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 the United Arab Emirates, inviting many players that he had worked with at youth level. He led the United Arab Emirates to their second Gulf Cup title in 2013.

2015 AFC Asian Cup

The United Arab Emirates'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, the United Arab Emirates 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 the 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 the 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. The United Arab Emirates will be hosting the 2019 AFC Asian Cup.

2018 FIFA World Cup Qualification

The United Arab Emirates qualified for the Second Round of the AFC qualification, where they finished second in Group A behind Saudi Arabia and qualified for the Third Round. In this round, they finished fourth in Group B, thus failing to qualify for the 2018 FIFA World Cup. Despite this, one of United Arab Emirates players Ahmed Khalil manage to be the top scorer in the qualification along with two other players.


UAE has rivalries with Uzbekistan, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Oman, Kuwait, and Iran.


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.

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

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

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

Coaching staff

Head coach Alberto Zaccheroni
Assistant coach Abdul Hameed Al-Alawi
Fitness coach Waleed Khamis
Goalkeeping coach Musa Al-Kwikbi


Current squad

  • The following players were called up for 2018 King's Cup
  • Match date: 22 and 25 March 2018
No. Pos. Player Date of birth (age) Caps Goals Club
1GK Majed Naser (1984-04-01) 1 April 1984 73 0 Shabab Al-Ahli Dubai
1GK Khalid Eisa (1989-09-15) 15 September 1989 16 0 Al–Ain

2DF Abdelaziz Sanqour (1989-05-07) 7 May 1989 36 1 Shabab Al-Ahli Dubai
2DF Khalifa Mubarak (1993-10-30) 30 October 1993 1 0 Al–Nasr
2DF Hamdan Al-Kamali (1989-05-02) 2 May 1989 52 5 Al–Wahda
2DF Mohanad Salem (1985-03-01) 1 March 1985 57 2 Al–Ain
2DF Mahmoud Khamees (1987-10-28) 28 October 1987 27 1 Al–Nasr
2DF Mohamed Ahmed (1989-04-16) 16 April 1989 15 2 Al–Ain

3MF Tareq Ahmed (1988-03-12) 12 March 1988 1 1 Al–Nasr
3MF Ahmed Barman (1994-02-05) 5 February 1994 4 0 Al–Ain
3MF Ismail Al Hammadi (1988-07-01) 1 July 1988 97 14 Shabab Al-Ahli Dubai
3MF Omar Abdulrahman (1991-09-20) 20 September 1991 57 9 Free Agent
3MF Khamis Esmaeel (1989-08-16) 16 August 1989 12 0 Al- Wasl
3MF Khaled Bashir (1995-01-06) 6 January 1995 0 0 Al–Wasl
3MF Habib Fardan (1990-11-11) 11 November 1990 12 6 Shabab Al-Ahli Dubai
3MF Hassan Ibrahim (1990-10-19) 19 October 1990 4 0 Shabab Al-Ahli Dubai

4FW Ahmed Khalil (1991-06-08) 8 June 1991 81 49 Shabab Al-Ahli Dubai
4FW Ali Mabkhout (1990-10-05) 5 October 1990 62 42 Al–Jazira
4FW Ismail Matar (1983-04-07) 7 April 1983 117 36 Al–Wahda
4FW Mohammed Fawzi (1990-10-23) 23 October 1990 13 2 Al–Jazira
4FW Salem Saleh (1991-01-14) 14 January 1991 12 5 Al–Nasr

Recent and forthcoming fixtures




Tournament records

FIFA World Cup record

FIFA World Cup record FIFA World Cup qualification record
Year Round Position Pld W D* L GF GA GP W D L GF GA
1930 to 1974Not eligible to enter------- 000000
1978Did not enter------- 000000
1982Did not enter------- 000000
1986Did not qualify------- 421154
1990Group stage24th3003211 9441167
1994 to 2018Did not qualify------- 83361533142100
2022To be determined------- 000000
2026To be determined------- 000000
TotalGroup stage1/213003211 96422035163111
* Denotes draws include knockout matches decided on penalty kicks.

AFC Asian Cup record

AFC Asian Cup record AFC Asian Cup qualification
Year Result Position GP W D* L GF GA GP W D L GF GA
1956 to 1976Did not enter 000000
1980Group stage9th401339 000000
1984Group stage6th420238 000000
1988Group stage8th410324 000000
1992Fourth place4th312021 000000
1996Runners-up2nd642083 000000
2000Did not qualify 000000
2004Group stage15th301215 000000
2007Group stage12th310236 000000
2011Group stage13th301204 000000
2015Third place3rd6312108 000000
2019Qualified000000 000000
TotalRunners-up9/1636128163248 000000

FIFA Confederations Cup record

FIFA Confederations Cup record
Year Round Position Pld W D* L GF GA
1992 Did not qualify
1997 Group stage 6th 3 1 0 2 2 8
1999 Did not qualify
Total Group stage 1/10 3 1 0 2 2 8

Asian Games record

Football at the Asian Games has been an under-23 tournament since 2002.
Asian Games record
Year Result GP W D L GS GA
1951Did not enter000000
1954Did not enter000000
1958Did not enter000000
1962Did not enter000000
1966Did not enter000000
1970Did not enter000000
1974Did not enter000000
1978Did not enter000000
1982Did not enter000000
19865th place532074
1990Did not enter000000
19948th place412165
199815th place4112510
2002–present See United Arab Emirates national under-23 football team

Arabian Gulf Cup record

Arabian Gulf Cup record
YearHost CountryPlace Pld W D* L GF GA
1970 BahrainDid not enter000000
1972 Saudi ArabiaThird place
1974 KuwaitFourth place
1976 QatarThird place
1979 IraqSixth place
1982 UAEThird place
1984 OmanFourth place
1986 BahrainRunners-up
1988 Saudi ArabiaRunners-up
1990 KuwaitFifth place
1992 QatarFourth place
1994 UAERunners-up
1996 OmanFourth place
1998 BahrainThird place
2002 Saudi ArabiaSixth place
2003 KuwaitFifth place
2004 QatarGroup Stage
2007 UAEChampions
2009 OmanGroup Stage
2010 YemenSemi-finals
2013 BahrainChampions
2014 Saudi ArabiaThird place
2017 KuwaitRunners-up

Pan Arab Games record

Pan Arab Games record
Year Round Pld W D L GF GA
Total/10 0 0 0 0 0 0

Palestine Cup of Nations

Palestine Cup of Nations

Head to head against other countries

As of 19 August 2018[2]

  Positive Record   Neutral Record   Negative Record

 China PR11254717−10
 Czech Republic201116−5
 Hong Kong321091+8
 New Zealand220030+3
 North Korea11344811−3
 Saudi Arabia3778222454−30
 South Africa110010+1
 South Korea2126131641−25
 Sri Lanka7700302+28
 Trinidad and Tobago1010330


Active players are shown in bold. As of June 13, 2017.


Major competitions

Runner-up (1): 1996
Third place (1): 2015
Fourth place (1): 1992
Winners (2): 2007, 2013
Runner-up (4): 1986, 1988, 1994, 2017
Third place (5): 1972, 1976, 1982, 1998, 2014

Minor competitions

Winners (1): 2005
  • OSN Cup
Winners (1): 2013

See also


  1. Yahoo! Sports: Asian Football Confederation apologize for calling UAE national team ‘Sand Monkeys’
  2. "World Football Elo Ratings: United Arab Emirates". Eloratings.net. 5 January 2018. Retrieved 5 January 2018.
  3. 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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