Qatar hosts UAE in Gulf Cup amid economic blockade

Qatar and UAE are facing off in a crucial Gulf Cup group A game at the Khalifa Stadium in Doha, in the midst of an economic blockade against the host nation.

Qatar and UAE players line up before their Gulf Cup match.   -  REUTERS

West Asian rivals Qatar and the United Arab Emirates are facing off in a crucial Gulf Cup group A game at the Khalifa Stadium in Doha on Monday, in the midst of an economic blockade against the host nation.

In 2017 Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain and Egypt closed their air, water and land routes with Qatar, accusing it of supporting terrorism -- charges it denies.

Qatar is hosting the FIFA World Cup for the first time in 2022 and the tournament CEO Nasser Al Khater is confident of delivering a trouble-free event

The blockade was eased for the first time earlier this year when 30 athletes from the four nations travelled to the West Asian country to participate in the World Athletics Championships.

And according to reports, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain flew directly to Doha via air, while UAE travelled from Dubai to Kuwait before arriving in the host city last week.

The match is a virtual knockout for a place in the semifinals with both second-placed Qatar, ahead on goal difference, and UAE level on points (3).

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