UAE fear ref may favour hosts
Published : 28 Jul 2012 23:47:06
The United Arab Emirates fear the referee in Sunday's game against Great Britain will favour the host nation.
The UAE face the biggest fixture in their Group A campaign when they take on Stuart Pearce's team at Wembley. GB are overwhelming favourites to bounce back from their opening draw against Senegal with a win, but the UAE stunned Uruguay by taking the lead on Thursday before falling to a narrow 2-1 defeat.
The underdogs are full of confidence, but fear the officials could bow to home pressure and undermine any chance of an upset and UAE assistant manager Hassan Alabdooli said: "We are not afraid of the British team, but the one thing we are maybe afraid of is that the referee is going with the host team."
He added: "We will pray that the referee is neutral. The referee in the Uruguay game maybe cared too much for Luis Suarez and he didn't have any mind for our players because he thought maybe we were weak.
"Tomorrow we hope the referee will not be influenced by the crowd and everything around him."
With a team containing stellar names like Ryan Giggs, the away side would be forgiven for thinking about who to swap shirts with after the match, rather than concentrating on pulling off an unlikely upset, but Alabdooli insists his men will not be fazed by the task in front of them.
"We are not tourists here," he said. "When we play against any team we don't focus on the names or players
"It's 11 v 11. We saw the British team play against Senegal. We saw some strong points and some weak points."