Image for Greg Lea Greg Lea - October 14, 2022

United Arab Emirates vs Australia Prediction, Odds, Best Bets

  • The winner of this Asian play-off will face Peru for a place at the 2022 World Cup
  • The UAE are looking to qualify for the tournament for the first time since 1990
  • Australia have become regulars in recent years but have plenty of work to do

United Arab Emirates vs Australia Odds

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Half of First Goal Odds
First -225
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No Goal +625
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Second +225
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United Arab Emirates vs Australia Pick

The heat and the high-stakes nature of this play-off means we are likely to see a tight, low-scoring game – particularly in the first half.

Back the first goal to be scored in the second half

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United Arab Emirates Vs Australia 2022 06 07 Jackson Irvine

United Arab Emirates vs Australia Prediction

UAE Hoping for First World Cup Appearance in a Generation

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) have only qualified for the World Cup once before. That was back in 1990, when a team managed by Carlos Alberto Parreira – who went on to win the subsequent edition of the tournament with his native Brazil – lost all three group games. The UAE have been striving to make it back to the biggest stage of all ever since. This is the closest they have got to a second appearance since 2001, when they lost to Iran in a play-off for the following year’s World Cup in Japan and South Korea.

Al Abyad, as the national team is nicknamed, finished a distant third in Group A of Asian qualifying. Iran and South Korea ran away with the group, booking their places in Qatar automatically. The UAE finished three points clear of Iraq in third, but their campaign was distinctly underwhelming. They averaged just 0.7 goals per game and failed to win seven of their 10 matches.

Still, the UAE are just two wins away from the 2022 World Cup (the winner of this play-off will face Peru, who finished fifth in CONMEBOL qualifying, for a place at the tournament). Rodolfo Arruabarrena is the manager who has been entrusted with overseeing this stage of the process, after Bert van Marwijk was dismissed in February.

The big news from his squad selection was the recall of Omar Abdulrahman, the most talented Emirati player of his generation who has not lived up to his potential. Now 30, Abdulrahman will be desperate to make an impact in his first competitive appearance for his country since 2019.

This Is Not a Vintage Australia Side but Socceroos Still in Hunt

Australia finished third in qualifying Group B, missing out on automatic qualification for the second World Cup on the bounce. They did not get particularly close either, finishing seven points behind Japan and eight adrift of Saudi Arabia. The Socceroos failed to win six of their 10 matches and turned in several unconvincing displays. Peru, you feel, will not fear either side later this month.

This is not a vintage Australian generation. Mat Ryan, the Real Sociedad goalkeeper, and Ajdin Hrustic, the Eintracht Frankfurt attacking midfielder, are the only two players who currently ply their trade in a top-five European league. That is not the only measure of quality, of course, but Australia’s current crop of players is not as strong as those that made it to the 2006, 2010, 2014 and 2018 World Cups.

It is revealing that Graham Arnold was close to being sacked in March. The ongoing speculation about the manager’s future has not aided Australia’s preparations for this play-off, but it is not hard to see why Arnold is under pressure given his team’s performances in the qualification process up to now. The only way the 58-year-old is likely to keep his job beyond the summer is by guiding Australia to the World Cup.

We Can Expect a Tight, Cagey Affair on a Hot Night in Qatar

The 2022 World Cup is taking place in November and December because it is too hot to play soccer in Qatar in the summer months. It may come as a surprise to learn, then, that this Asian play-off will be held in Al Rayyan on Tuesday, when daytime temperatures are expected to peak at 99 degrees Fahrenheit. It will be cooler in the city by the time the match kicks-off, while the Al Rayyan Stadium has an air conditioning system installed, but this will still be a sticky night in central Qatar.

The heat is one reason why we can expect a tight, cagey encounter. Another, of course, is the high-stakes nature of the match. World Cup play-offs in Asia are usually held over two legs, but the Covid-19 pandemic necessitated a change to the format this time around. Both the UAE and Australia have more to lose in a one-off match, and neither will come flying out of the blocks.

The third reason why we should not expect too many goals concerns the nature of the sides themselves. The UAE scored just seven times in their 10 qualifiers in the group phase. Australia scored 15 goals, but only one in four meetings with Japan and Saudi Arabia – the strongest sides in their group. All things considered, it is worth backing the first goal to come in the second half of this World Cup play-off.

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How to Watch United Arab Emirates vs Australia

United Arab Emirates vs Australia Information
Teams United Arab Emirates vs Australia
Location Al Rayyan Stadium, Al Rayyan, Qatar
Time Tuesday, 7 June 2022, 2.00 PM EDT
How to watch Paramount+

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Greg Lea

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Greg Lea is a freelance soccer journalist from London. He is the former editor of The Set Pieces, and has contributed to the Guardian, FourFourTwo, and ESPN. A Crystal Palace fan, he is a long-time subscriber to the belief that it's the taking part that counts. Email: [email protected]

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