UAE rise 12 places in latest FIFA World Rankings

Ali Mabkhout celebrates his goal that got the UAE a 1-0 win over Australia and into the Asian Cup last four. (AFP)
Updated 07 February 2019

UAE rise 12 places in latest FIFA World Rankings

  • Asian Cup hosts UAE reach 67th in world rankings.
  • Saudi Arabia drop one spot to 70th as Tunisia remain highest ranked Arab side at 28.

LONDON: The UAE’s march to the Asian Cup semifinals has seen the Whites leap 12 places to 67th in the latest FIFA World Rankings.
The hosts of the continental tournament memorable beat Australia in the quarterfinals before losing to eventual winners Qatar in the last-four clash in Al-Ain.
Saudi Arabia’s 1-0 exit at the hands of Japan in the second round only sees them drop one spot to 70, one place behind Algeria.
Iraq’s journey to the second round in the UAE has seen them rise one place to 80 while Syria’s surprise group-stage departure — they lost to Jordan and the Socceroos in Group B — has precipitated a drop of nine spots to 83.
Of other Arab nations, Egypt are at 57, Morocco 43 and Tunisia the highest at 28.

Simona Halep positive despite Dubai defeat by Belinda Bencic

Updated 21 February 2019

Simona Halep positive despite Dubai defeat by Belinda Bencic

  • Former world No.1 blames three-set loss on tiredness after nine matches in 13 days.
  • Halep has high hopes for the rest of 2019, saying her game is in good shape.

LONDON: Simona Halep is still certain a good year lies in store for her despite losing to Belinda Bencic in the Dubai quarterfinals.
The Romanian former world No. 1 was the favorite to win her second title in the emirate but ran out of steam as her Swiss opponent ran out 4-6, 6-4, 6-2 winner.
It was Halep’s ninth match in just 13 days and she admitted tiredness had caught up with her.
“It was really difficult physically. I was tired,” the world No. 2 said.

Bencic came from a set down to beat the favorite in the last-eight encounter in Dubai. (AFP) 

“After the second set, I felt like I’m getting cramping a little bit. It’s normal. I was sweating a lot.”
While, her fatigue was clear for all to see, Halep was not using it as an excuse, admitting Bencic, who has now beaten her in two of their three matches, was the deserved winner.
“Yeah, she played well. She played very well. In the end, she was a little bit stronger,” the Romanian said.
Having lost in the Qatar final last weekend and failed to make the last-four in Dubai you might think Halep would be disappointed with her Middle East stint. She was, however, far from glum and revealed she is looking forward to landing more titles to add to her collection during the rest of the year.

Cheerio from Halep after her defeat to the Swiss. (AFP) 

“I think were three good weeks. Tough weeks. A lot of tension, a lot of pressure. Also the Fed Cup,” she said.
“I take only positive things. I had great matches. My level is good. Physically also I’m good. But day by day I had to play, so is not easy.
“I’m confident for the next tournaments.”