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ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

Ex-Argentina coach Edgardo Bauza hired as United Arab Emirates boss

Former Argentina boss Edgardo Bauza was confirmed as the new manager of the United Arab Emirates national team on Thursday.

"Coaching a new team in the U.A.E. will be a new challenge," the 59-year-old said. "I am eager to be successful in the mission."

The Argentine Football Association controversially sacked Bauza in April after just eight competitive games (three wins, two draws, three losses) in charge. That less-than-stellar form has left the Albiceleste sitting fifth in World Cup qualifying with four games to play -- only the top four are assured of spots at Russia 2018.

Bauza replaces Mahdi Ali, who resigned in March following a 2-0 defeat to Australia.

His first World Cup qualifier as U.A.E. boss will be against already-eliminated Thailand on June 13, followed by an Aug. 31 trip to Saudi Arabia to face-off against Bert van Marwijk's impressive Green Falcons.

Win those two matches, and the U.A.E.'s final group game against Iraq on Sept. 5 could well decide which nation clinches third spot in the group and move on to the AFC's fourth-round playoff.

The U.A.E. last qualified for the World Cup in 1990.

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