Can Bento pull off miracle of faith in UAE…hopes of qualifying for World Cup after ’36 years’ up

Can Paulo Bento pull off a miracle of faith in the United Arab Emirates (UAE)?

The United Arab Emirates (ranked 72nd in FIFA) defeated Costa Rica (ranked 46th in FIFA) 4-1 in an A-match friendly at Stadion Maksimir in Zagreb, Croatia, on Wednesday morning (ET).

The UAE lined up in a 4-2-3-1 formation. Kaiou, Yahya Al Ghassani, Ali Saleh, Fabio Zirima, Yahya Nader, Ali Salmin, Abdullah Idris, Khalid Al Hashemi, Khalifa Al Hammadi, Khalid Ibrahim, and Khalid Eisa started.

Costa Rica lined up in a 4-4-2 formation. Joel Campbell, Manfred Ugalde, Randall Lill, Alejandro Bran, Sebastian Murillo, Jimmy Marin, Ronald Matarrita, Francisco Calvo, Julio Cascante, Jeffrey Valverde, and Keylor Navas.

The UAE opened the scoring in the 16th minute. After a pass from Zi Lima, Al Ghassani dribbled brilliantly inside the penalty box before shooting toward the near post. The ball hit the hands of Navas and slipped into the back of the net.

A second goal soon followed. In the 23rd minute, Al Ghassani played a long ball from just outside the penalty box to the opposite side of the box, where Saleh cut back and crossed into the box. Kaiou slotted it into an empty net.

It was a three-goal deficit by halftime. In the 38th minute, Zi Lima took an audacious shot from distance. The ball bounced off an opponent and curved into the top corner of the goal.

In the second half, the UAE drove a wedge. Eight minutes into the second half, Al Ghassani exchanged one-on-one passes with Nader to get into the penalty box and calmly finish into the top corner of the net.

Despite conceding a late goal in the 19th minute, the UAE were able to hold off Costa Rica with a 4-1 three-point victory.

The win marked the first time the UAE had scored four or more goals in a match in 39 months, since a 5-0 win over Indonesia in June 2021. Bento has had the UAE dancing since his debut. The UAE had been on a roll before Bento’s arrival, winning two in a row, so the momentum was there for the taking.

Now, like Jürgen Klinsmann, Bento has his sights set on the 2023 Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Asian Cup. The United Arab Emirates have never won the Asian Cup before. However, they did finish as runners-up in the 1996 edition. In the last edition, in 2019, they finished fourth.

It will take time for Bento’s colors to fully take root in the UAE, so it will be difficult to expect immediate success at the upcoming Asian Cup. Bento has been criticized in the past for struggling at the Asian Cup, although he did well in his first stint with the South Korean national team.

The UAE won’t be looking to Bento to excel at the Asian Cup right away either. When they hired Bento, they gave him a three-year contract that will take him through the World Cup in North and Central America. What the UAE will want from Bento is to qualify for the World Cup.

The UAE hasn’t qualified since the 1990 World Cup in Italy. Until the 2022 World Cup, only 4.5 Asian nations qualified for the World Cup, but with the change from a 32- to a 48-nation system for the 2026 World Cup, the UAE is in a position to make a run.

The 48-team World Cup gives Asia 8.5 World Cup spots. Simply based on FIFA rankings, the UAE is the eighth highest ranked Asian nation. While the FIFA rankings are not a true reflection of a country’s strength, the UAE is well positioned to qualify for the World Cup.

The second round isn’t too bad either. The group is not yet finalized as the first round hasn’t been played yet, but they are in the same group as Kyrgyzstan and Turkmenistan. The UAE is the highest ranked team in the FIFA rankings. With their recent form, they shouldn’t have any trouble making it to the third round.

The third round is the final round. In the final round, a total of 18 nations will compete for World Cup tickets in six groups of three teams. The first and second place finishers in each group will be awarded a ticket to the World Cup. Let’s face it, it’s not easy for the UAE to get a ticket to the World Cup from the final round. Asian powerhouses like South Korea, Japan, Australia, Saudi Arabia, and Iran have a better chance than the UAE.바카라

However, there are still ways to get to the World Cup. It’s possible to qualify for the World Cup in the Asian playoffs. The third- and fourth-place teams in the final qualifiers will play in the Asian playoffs. The six nations are divided into two groups of three teams, and a first-place finish is enough to qualify for the World Cup. If the UAE is as good as it seems, it could still qualify for the World Cup through the Asian playoffs.

If they finish second, there’s still hope. A scenario where the second-place teams in each group play each other for a winner-take-all and then move on to the intercontinental playoffs is also possible. Either way, if the UAE were to qualify for the World Cup, it would give them the World Cup they’ve been dreaming of for 36 years, since 1990. Just qualifying for the World Cup would make Bento a hero for the UAE.

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