His name is Sebastián Tagliabúe, in Argentina he only played in the Colegiales. His goals for Al Wahda in the United Arab Emirates League have brought him to the national team.
The United Arab Emirates are two games from the second World Cup – his only participation was in Italy 90 – and two Argentines can collaborate. And Rodolfo Arruabarrena e Sebastian Tagliabue, of different roles, may be participants in what would be a historical classification. It will not be easy for them, first they will have to overcome Australia, and if they pass they would play the playoffs against Peru.
One, he has been the UAE manager since February, and he is very close to entering Qatar. The other is the most anonymous scorer in our country. However, in the Persian Gulf, especially in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, he is a celebrity. The reason? He never stops scoring goals and getting collective and individual trophies.
The other, was born in Olivos, province of Buenos Aires, born in Colegiales football, even if he made his career in a more exotic place. Enough to become the second all-time top scorer in the Arab League of the Gulf. He has scored 170 goals and is just overtaken by teammate Ali Mabkhout who has turned on 173 chances. It is that this Argentine is one of the figures of the United Arab Emirates who have plans to defeat Australia and then face Peru of Tigre Gareca for last place at the World Cup.
“It keeps me awake conducting a World Cup,” Rodolfo Arruabarrena declared a few weeks ago at the Super Miter Deportivo. “The idea is to make history and for this I need the help of the federation”, he warned.
What is it like to be an idol in the Arab world? “Here you live very calmly. From time to time I come across an Arab who tells me good things, who trusts me with the national team, wishes me the best, always with a lot of respect. Even those who are not from Al Nasr” Maybe someone asks me for more goals. In any case, it is important to take into account that only 20% of the population is Emirati, the rest are foreigners “, replies the Argentine Sebastián Tagliabúe who has found a place in the Persian Gulf by dint of the goal.
El Vasco and Tagliabúe, two Argentines on the loose in the Middle East
It is no coincidence that the 46-year-old Argentine is the coach of the United Arab Emirates. Vasco Arruabarrena’s long career on the Asian continent gave him the necessary credentials. He has directed 4 different teams: Al Wasl – a team that Diego Maradona was able to lead – and Al Ahli in the United Arab Emirates, Al-Rayyan in Qatar and Pyramids in Egypt. Additionally, he has won three titles during his time as a manager.
The dream of the former Boca coach is Qatar. Photo: EFE.
The other Argentine involved is Sebastián Tagliabúe, for many an unknown surname. The 37 year old he is the tenth Argentine scorer in history with more than 300 goals. He has played in Middle Eastern football since 2010, first in Saudi Arabia and since 2013 in the United Arab Emirates. In Argentina he only served in Schoolboys.
Sebastián Tagliabúe, the Argentine who dreams of playing the World Cup for the United Arab Emirates.
From 2013 to 2020 he played for Al-Wahda where he played 157 matches and scored 152 goals. In 2020 he played for Al-Nasr, played 50 games and scored 20 goals so far. Numbers that really impress.
Tagliabúe has been called up by the national team since 2020 and has managed to score 3 goals in 11 matches. “Sometimes I think about playing more as a team than for myself and a striker has to be more selfish“, was called the native of Olivos.
Among the historic Argentine goalscorers, Tagliabúe has only eleven ahead in terms of official matches. Almost all surnames that do not need a name: Messi, Di Stéfano, Agüero, Atilio García (nationalized Uruguayan; figure between the years 30 and 60), Bianchi, Delio Onnis (mega figure in French football between 66 and 86), Kempes, Batistuta, Maradona. Labruna and Higuain. He has 331 goals in 528 games: an average of 0.63 (for example better than Kun, El Matador and Bati). He’s 37 (he shot them on Tuesday) and says he wants more … “Yes, I’m going to my first World Cup. I hope that happens,” he told Clarín a couple of weeks ago from Dubai, where he defends colors of Al Nasr.
What is the way from the United Arab Emirates to reach Qatar?
The United Arab Emirates, the team led by Vasco Rodolfo Arruabarrena, will play this Tuesday from 15:00 against Australia, in search of the qualification to the playoffs against Peru for a place in the Qatar 2022 World Cup.
The final of the fourth and final phase of the Asian qualifiers will be played at the Ahmad bin Ali stadium in Qatar and will be broadcast on ESPN.
The winner will be Peru’s rival in the playoffs between Asia and South America which will be played on Monday 13 June at the Ahmad Bin Ali stadium in Al Rayán.
Australia starts as a favorite for its experience in five World Cups (1974, 2006, 2010, 2014 and 2018) but Arruabarrena will be looking to make history with the UAE.
The former Boca Juniors manager took over in mid-February and with just two games (one defeat and one win) secured third place in Group A in Asia, under the Iran and South Korea qualifiers.
On Sunday, May 29, “Vasco” led his third match at the helm of the team, the friendly against Gambia (1-1) in Dubai.
The UAE figure is striker Ali Mabkhout, top scorer in Asian qualifiers with 14 goals, and Argentinian striker Sebastián Tagliabúe, 37, was also called upon to contribute his experience.
For its part, Australia finished in the same position in Group B, where Saudi Arabia (Argentina’s rival in Group C) and Japan gained the direct passage to Qatar 2022.
The Australians also have a team with players who stand out in the European leagues such as Mathew Ryan, Real Sociedad goalkeeper; and midfielder Ajdin Hrustic, Europa League champion with Eintracht Frankfurt.
The Ahmad bin Ali stadium, site of tomorrow’s match, will also host six group stage matches (Croatia-Belgium, one of the highlights) and one of the round of 16.