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.


Spanish striker David Villa set to retire from Japan club

Updated 22 min 1 sec ago

Spanish striker David Villa set to retire from Japan club

  • Villa scored 59 goals in 98 appearances for Spain from 2004-17, including five goals at the 2010 World Cup
  • Before signing with Kobe, Villa played at Valencia, Barcelona and Atletico Madrid before spending four seasons with New York City FC
KOBE, Japan: Spanish striker David Villa says he will retire from Japanese club Vissel Kobe next year, ending the career of Spain’s top scorer in international play.
The 37-year-old Villa, who joined Kobe last December, said he plans to retire after the season ends in January.

“It’s better to leave football before football leaves me,” he told a news conference speaking in Spanish. “I’ve been thinking for several years — when you reach 33, 34 or 35 — the moment can arrive at any time in a game, in training, or with an injury.”

Villa scored 59 goals in 98 appearances for Spain from 2004-17, including five goals at the 2010 World Cup as his nation won the title for the first time.
He scored four goals for Spain en route to the 2008 European Championship title.

Before signing with Kobe, Villa played at Valencia, Barcelona and Atletico Madrid before spending four seasons with New York City FC, scoring 80 goals in 124 MLS appearances.

“It’s a decision I’ve thought about a lot,” he said. “I spoke about this with the people who care about me, with my family, and the people who have been with me for my whole career.”

Villa repeated several times that it was not a knee-jerk reaction. He scored 12 goals this season for Kobe, a decent scoring output for a struggling club. But he said he knew the retirement time was near.

He was asked about the quality of play in Japan and was laudatory.

“I was surprised at the level of play in the J-League,” he said. “Not only in terms of the veteran players here, but the young players here that have enormous potential. It’s not that I was expecting less. I was expecting a top league, but it surpassed by expectations.”

Villa has also mentioned his interest being an investor in a new club based in the New York area — Queensboro FC, which will play in the second tier of American soccer.

“Queens always showed love to me and my family while we were in New York,” he wrote on Twitter. He said it was “a dream to build” a new professional team.