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UAE 'deserve' FIFA World Cup spot

AAP logoAAP 5/09/2016 Ben McKay

The United Arab Emirates aren't putting the Socceroos on a pedestal ahead of their World Cup qualifier, believing they deserve a place at the 2018 tournament.

The two countries clash in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday night (Wednesday morning AEST) in a meeting of early Asian pacesetters on the road to Russia.

The UAE claimed a stunning 2-1 away-day win over Japan but are firm underdogs for this meeting, a position reinforced by Socceroos coach Ange Postecoglou who claimed they would be "a bit fearful" of the Asian champions Australia.

Speaking on Monday, UAE boss Mahdi Ali wasn't biting back on that accusation.

"This is his opinion and I respect that ... but UAE has played a long time with this group," he said.

"We've worked for a long time to create an identity for this team and I think we have an identity.

"We know what we need from the game tomorrow and we will see, Inshallah, how it will go."

The Gulf nation caught the attention of the footballing world with their success in Tokyo, and Ali said it was his belief that they would beat favourites Australia and Japan to one of the two World Cup places on offer from the six-team group.

"Our first time to qualify to a World Cup was 1990 (and) since that date UAE has been working very hard to qualify for the second time," he said.

"This time we have a very good chance and we have a very good team. I think UAE deserve to qualify to the World Cup."

He downplayed suggestions that the stifling weather would be a boost to the home team.

"That's not an advantage, the weather will be for both teams," he said.

"The team is very well prepared. Who has the will to win in the game and is fighting in the game, that gives the result in the end."

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