After their historic win over Japan in tonight’s quarter final you could forgive the UAE players if they basked in the glory for one night.
The players, however, are not content with a semi final appearance and are determined to put their best foot forward as they look to make their first AFC Asian Cup final since 1996 when they hosted the tournament.
Ismail Ahmed, who converted the winning penalty, spoke Football Channel Asia after the match and said their focus was firmly on Tuesday’s encounter with Australia.
“Now we will forget this game and tomorrow we start to focus on the game against Australia,” the AFC Player of the Year nominee said.
“It will not be easy for us and I hope we’ll give everything.”
It was a sentiment echoed by his teammates.
“I think it’s a big win and now the game for me is finished, but we have to continue for the next game,” striker Ahmed Khalil told Football Channel Asia.
“We have to concentrate on the next game and we want to win.”
The man who gave the UAE a surprise early lead, Ali Mabkhout, said the UAE would focus on playing their game against Australia.
“We know the Australian team very well, we know they are very strong and maybe the best team in Asia with Japan,” he told Football Channel Asia.
“But we will try to play our game and we hope we win this game.”
It seems clear that while they will go into the Australia game as underdogs just as they did against Japan, they’ve now proved that they will be no pushover and the Socceroos will have to be at their best if they are to advance to the final.