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UAE football coach Van Marwijk sets sights on third World Cup

Published: Updated:

Dutchman Bert van Marwijk believes he can coach at a third World Cup after agreeing to take charge of the United Arab Emirates national team, a year after he was sacked from the job.

Van Marwijk, 68, will lead the side’s World Cup qualifying bid, which is set to resume in March.

“Until my departure last year, I was able to work really well in Dubai, with excellent facilities and a young, ambitious group of players,” Van Marwijk told the Dutch daily Algemeen Dagblad on Tuesday.

“For me it is important that I see perspective: if it was purely for the money I could have taken another job. But playing a World Cup remains something fantastic. I have experienced it with the Netherlands and Australia, I believe it is also possible with the United Arab Emirates.”

Van Marwijk led the Netherlands to the 2010 World Cup final and steered Saudi Arabia to the tournament in 2018, only to leave the role before it started when his contract expired. He coached Australia at the last World Cup in Russia on a short-term deal.

Van Marwijk had been in charge of the UAE for 260 days before being fired after a 4-2 loss to Qatar during the Gulf Cup last December.

During his initial stint in the UAE, the side lost World Cup preliminaries to Thailand and Vietnam.

“That position is quite distorted. We have six points now, but played one game less than the rest: if we win it, we will be second,” Van Marwijk said.

“Moreover, three of our last four games are at home. The number one qualifies, the number two has a chance through the playoffs. I see opportunity otherwise I would not have taken the job again.”

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