UAE Remain Unbeaten In 2026 Fifa World Cup Qualifiers

(MENAFN- Khaleej Times) Published: Wed 12 Jun 2024, 3:50 PM

The UAE finished their campaign in the second round of the 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifiers with a 1-1 draw against Bahrain on Tuesday night in Dubai.

The Whites, which have already qualified for the next round, finished the campaign with 14 points from six matches.

Bahrain scored the first goal through Mahdi Abduljabbar at Zabeel Stadium in the fourth minute, but Sultan Adil equalised for the home team six minutes later.

Paulo Bento's team kept on pressing for a winner, but the Bahraini defence rose to the challenge as the home team had to settle for a draw.

The next round of qualifying matches will start in September. With eight slots up for grabs from Asia in the 2026 edition of the tournament, the UAE are confident of reaching the World Cup for the first time since in 1990.

Meanwhile, India coach Igor Stimac condemned what he called an "irregular" goal in a 2-1 defeat at Qatar that ended his team's World Cup 2026 qualifying hopes, saying: "It shouldn't happen."

The loss in Doha on Tuesday dashed India's dreams of reaching the third round of Asian qualifying for the World Cup for the first time.

India scored in the first half and were on course for a footballing landmark until Youssef Ayman equalised in the 73rd minute.

The goal was hugely controversial, with some television replays appearing to show that the ball had gone out of play just beforehand.

India's players, some of whom had stopped in the belief the ball had gone out, vehemently protested.

But with VAR technology not in use, the goal stood.

Asian champions Qatar, who had already qualified for the next round, scored the winner five minutes before the end to seal India's fate.

"Qatar were lucky tonight, especially because they came back from 0-1 with an irregular goal," the former Croatia international defender Stimac told reporters.

"I can confirm that now because I have seen the replay. The whole ball was over the line and the goal was given."

He added: "It shouldn't be happening in today's football because that goal changed everything in this game.

"As an organisation, Fifa has enough power and resources, at least in the crucial games and the World Cup qualifiers, to use VAR."

"It's kind of an injustice to my boys tonight because we were very close to win this game and qualifying for the third round, but it didn't happen," he said.

India ended third in the group, with Kuwait joining Qatar in the next qualifying stage following a 1-0 home win over Afghanistan. (With inputs from AFP)


Khaleej Times

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