UAE and Qatar revving up for 'El Gasico' in Asian Cup

The boycott, the worst diplomatic crisis to hit the Gulf Arab states in decades, followed allegations that Qatar was supporting terrorism and destabilizing the region.

Much of the criticism aimed at Qatar comes from its alleged support of the Muslim Brotherhood, an Islamic group considered a terrorist organization by Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

The air and land blockade imposed on Qatar also meant that the national team had to take a longer route to reach the UAE, flying via Kuwait instead.

Ranked 93 in the world, Qatar has won all five of its games without conceding a goal and boasts the tournament's top scorer in Almoez Ali.

"The players are aware that there's pressure but they're dealing with it very well," Qatar coach Felix Sanchez told reporters ahead of the game.

While the upcoming occasion is ostensibly about football, the build up to the contest -- also dubbed the "blockade derby" -- has been surrounded by analysis of the politics and diplomatic strife in the region.

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