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UAE in adidas: 4 memorable tournament appearances

FourFourTwoArabia logo FourFourTwoArabia 01/10/2018 Ali Khaled
a man holding a football ball: UAE in adidas: 4 memorable tournament appearances © Motivate Publishing UAE in adidas: 4 memorable tournament appearances

Some of the UAE’s most memorable tournament appearances have been in white and red adidas outfits.

Here, FourFourTwo Arabia looks at their most iconic moments…


1990 World Cup, Italy

a group of men playing a game of football © Motivate Publishing

To date the UAE’s one and only World Cup appearance and the country’s finest ever footballing achievement.

The team may have lost their three matches in Italy, but qualification to the finals had been a miracle in itself for a country of 18 years.

The now famous adidas shirts – the white worn against Colombia and Yugoslavia and, in particular, the red sported against eventual champions West Germany – will forever be associated with Adnan Al Talyani, Ali Thani, Khalid Ismail and the rest of the nation’s first Golden Generation.


1996 AFC Asian Cup, UAE

a man standing on a baseball field © Motivate Publishing

The UAE hosted the AFC Asian Cup for the first time and promptly reached the final against Saudi Arabia.

Sporting a mid-1990s white adidas design with asymmetric red stripes and sleeve, the UAE were held to a 0-0 draw after extra time and lost on penalties to the formidable Saudis, who had distinguished themselves at the 1994 World Cup in the USA.

This final appearance remains the UAE’s best achievement in the competition.


2007 Gulf Cup, UAE

© Motivate Publishing

Emirati fans had waited a long time for their first ever trophy and it duly arrived at the 2007 Gulf Cup held on home soil.

UAE golden boy Ismail Matar, voted best player at the 2003 FIFA World Youth Championship, was the star of the show, scoring the winners in the semi-final against Saudi and the final against Oman.

The win sparked unprecedented wild celebrations across the streets of the seven emirates.


2015 AFC Asian Cup, Australia

Omar Abdulrahman with a football ball on a field © Motivate Publishing

The comprehensive 4-1 win over Qatar. Omar Abdulrahman’s memorable “Panenka” penalty against Japan. And top scorer Ali Mabkhout’s five goals.

The 2015 AFC Asian Cup in Australia introduced the world to the UAE’s second Golden Generation, led by the irrepressible Abdulrahman.

In classic, adidas plain white shirts with three red stripes, the young Emirati players charmed their way to the semi-final where they lost to the hosts, before finishing the tournament on a high by beating Iraq to claim third place.

The penalty shootout victory over Japan in the quarter-finals is arguably one of the country’s finest ever international performances.

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