Great Britain v United Arab Emirates

UAE fear ref will favour Team GB

July 28, 2012
By ESPN staff

Great Britain's Group A opponents the United Arab Emirates fear the referee will favour the Olympic hosts when the two teams meet at Wembley on Sunday.

Stuart Pearce
PA PhotosStuart Pearce: Quarter-final exit

Stuart Pearce's Team GB are favourites to bounce back from their opening 1-1 draw against Senegal with a win, but the UAE stunned Uruguay by taking the lead on Thursday before falling to a narrow 2-1 defeat.

The underdogs are full of confidence heading into the match, but fear the officials could bow to pressure from the home fans in the 90,000 seater stadium and undermine any chance of an upset.

"We are not afraid of the British team, but the one thing we are maybe afraid of is that the referee is going with the host team," UAE assistant manager Hassan Alabdooli said.

"We will pray that the referee is neutral. The referee in the Uruguay game maybe cared too much for Luis Suarez and he didn't have any mind for our players because he thought maybe we were weak.

"Tomorrow we hope the referee will not be influenced by the crowd and everything around him."

Although the GB team is full of household names like Ryan Giggs and will be playing on home turf, Alabdooli insists his men will not be fazed by the task in front of them.

"We are not tourists here," he said. "When we play against any team we don't focus on the names or players

"It's 11 v 11. We saw the British team play against Senegal. We saw some strong points and some weak points."