(Reuters) - Factbox on hosts United Arab Emirates ahead of the Asian Cup, which takes place from Jan 5 to Feb 1:
FIFA world ranking: 79
Ranking in Asia: 8
Previous Asian Cups: 9
Best performance: Runners-up (1996)
2015: Third place
Nickname: The Whites
Coach: Alberto Zaccheroni
Regular captain: Majed Naser
Player to watch: Ahmed Khalil
Sept 11 United Arab Emirates 3-0 Laos Palamos
Oct 11 United Arab Emirates 1-1 Honduras Barcelona
Oct 16 United Arab Emirates 0-2 Venezuela Barcelona
Nov 16 United Arab Emirates 0-0 Bolivia Dubai
Nov 20 United Arab Emirates 2-0 Yemen Dubai
Jan 5 United Arab Emirates v Bahrain Abu Dhabi
Jan 10 India v United Arab Emirates Abu Dhabi
Jan 14 United Arab Emirates v Thailand Al Ain
Alberto Zaccheroni knows what it takes to win an Asian Cup but if he is to succeed with the United Arab Emirates as he did with Japan in 2011, the Italian coach will have to do it without one of the host nation’s outstanding talents.
Omar Abdulrahman’s delightful touch helped drive his country to third place in Australia four years ago but a knee injury sustained playing club football means the midfielder will be sidelined for the tournament.
Zaccheroni, though, has always been known for his tactical creativity — he had Japan playing a 4-2-3-1 formation in 2011 — and any squad led by the former AC Milan, Inter Milan and Juventus boss can be relied upon to play attacking football.
Compiled by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru; Editing by John O'Brien