Beach Soccer World Cup: UAE keen to make history, starting with Paraguay

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Raring to go: UAE training ahead of Beach Soccer World Cup (UAE FA).

UAE veteran Ali Karim has revealed he and his team-mates have their “hearts set on” creating history, ahead of their 2017 Beach Soccer World Cup campaign kicking off (Saturday 04:00 UAE time).

The Whites have headed to the Bahamas for a fifth tournament, determined to make it past the group stage for the first time. Standing in the way of the 36-year-old and his colleagues in Group C are holders Portugal, 2017 CONCACAF Beach Soccer Championship winners Panama and ex-coach Guga’s Paraguay – whom they open the tournament against.

But such opponents will hold little fear, after a sterling runners-up spot was secured at last month’s AFC Beach Soccer Championship.

“When we got back home we didn’t rest,” Karim told FIFA.com about the qualifying event in Malaysia. “We stepped up our training for the World Cup, especially when we found out who we were playing.

“I think we’ll do well because of the skill levels we’ve got now.

“We can make it to the second round and we’ve got our hearts set on it. We’re excited at the idea of another major achievement.”

Karim made his international debut a decade ago, just before the 2007 event.

He said: “I didn’t think I’d be able to make the switch from grass to fine sand but I found my way.

“My passion has only grown over the years. We’ve got a blend of experienced players and motivated youngsters and we can now go further than we’ve ever gone before.”

UAE’s Group C fixtures

Saturday
04:00 UAE v Paraguay
Monday
04:00 Panama v UAE
Wednesday
12:00 UAE v Portugal

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