Ajdin Hrustic's 84' winner at the Ahmed bin Ali Stadium effectively ended UAE's hopes of qualifying for the World Cup in Qatar.
Six Confederations, 211 Countries, 32 Spots. One out of the 32 spots in the FIFA World Cup is an unrivalled source of joy, happiness, ecstasy, and elation. Perhaps more importantly, the feeling of representing one’s country when the entire world stops to watch is arguably the best feeling, and no one, except the host nation, is guaranteed a spot. Even before the curtain raiser of the tournament in Qatar, the footballing fraternity saw a number of big names slip out of the quadrennial event.
The FIFA World Cup is the biggest showcase of talent and ability in football, with many footballers skyrocketing their careers on the back of strong performances on the grandest of stages among the best talent across the globe.
The World Cup is the pinnacle of international football. While the nation’s failure or failure to qualify has caused embarrassment, it has also caused heartbreak.
The United Arab Emirates would have been over the moon if they had booked a spot for the FIFA World Cup 2022 in Qatar as the World Cup is being hosted in the Middle East for the first time. UAE currently occupy 70th place in the FIFA Ranking and their best campaign was in 1990 when they made it to the tournament. Ajdin Hrustic’s late 84′ winner at the Ahmed bin Ali Stadium secured Australia’s 2-1 win over the United Arab Emirates in an Asian playoff, effectively ending the UAE’s hopes of qualifying for the World Cup.
China are currently ranked 79th in the FIFA World Rankings, and their best campaign came in the FIFA World Cup in Japan, where the team advanced to the Group stage from qualification. China were heartbroken and disappointed after losing 3-1 to Vietnam in a World Cup qualifying match, Group B clash at Hanoi’s My Dinh Stadium, and bowing out of the tournament in Qatar.
North Korea are currently ranked 112th in the FIFA World Cup rankings and was considered one of the favourites to qualify for the playoffs after coming fourth after five games in qualification for the FIFA World Cup in Qatar. North Korea’s fabulous run in the 1990 World Cup saw them reach the quarters. However, with the Covid-19 pandemic out of control last year, North Korea withdrew from the qualifying tournament for the 2022 World Cup finals in Qatar, according to the Asian Football Confederation (AFC), citing safety concerns.