India at the AFC Asian Cup and their chances
The final draw for the AFC Asian Cup to be played in Qatar between January and February 2024 is out. India have been paired with tougher and higher-ranked opponents making it challenging for them to progress in the tournament. They are drawn in Group B along with continental heavyweights Australia, Uzbekistan, and Syria.
Australia are the highest-ranked nation in the group (#29) with Uzbekistan (#74) and Syria (#90) way behind. India are the lowest-ranked in Group B with a FIFA ranking of 101. It is highly difficult for them to qualify as the group winners or runners-up. Realistically, the Blue Tigers can target a third-placed finish which gives them hope of progression. The four best third-placed teams from the six groups advance along with the winners and runners-up to the round-of-16.
India have won three and drew one of their eight matches against Australia but most of those were friendlies from the 1930s and 1950s. The only competitive H2H against Australia was in the 2011 Asian Cup when Australia won 4-0. The record against Uzbekistan is also poor with four defeats out of five and the only exception being a draw in a 1998 friendly. India’s record against Syria is slightly better with two wins and a draw in six matches including a 2-1 win in 2012 and a 1-1 draw in 2019, both friendlies.
Can India spring a surprise in AFC Asian Cup?
This is the fifth Asian Cup appearance for India and marked their first-ever consecutive qualification for the tournament. The Blue Tigers fans will be hoping that they can do better than the last edition when they notched a win on matchday one but failed to score a goal in their next two matches eventually finishing last.
Indian coach Igor Štimac knows that the battle ahead is a tough one. He said after the draw, “It’s going to be a tough battle for us. It’s much tougher than four years ago, but we will be there to fight every step of the way.
“It’s all about the time we have in front of us to prepare well, to obtain the work that is needed, and to be at the strongest possible point by next January,” Štimac added. It is evident that the coach isn’t keeping lofty ambitions for his side, as the best possible way out of the group is to finish third. Beating Syria is a possibility although Australia remains out of reach. If India can pinch four points from the matches against Uzbekistan and Syria, there’s a great chance of moving into the round-of-16 for the first time since the competition moved into grouping system.
It is fascinating to see the rise of interest in football in India with almost every European league being watched regularly by the fans. Those who are looking to enhance their interest can get on to today’s sure soccer win predictions to consider on SportyTrader. The day isn’t far when a few Indians will play in the top leagues of European football and India will be considered among the favourites for AFC Asian Cup. Until that time, we hope that the small steps are taken in the right earnest and the Indian football fans rejoice in the Blue Tigers’ success.
- AIFF to approach Anti Corruption Bureau for alleged match-fixing incident in Delhi
- Will 5th place Premier League team get into Champions League? Rules explained as Manchester United close gap
- Delhi Soccer Association suspends Ahbab FC with immediate effect
- Injury sidelines Kerala Blasters goalie Sachin Suresh for 'significant duration'
- Top five youngest players to score in 6 consecutive Premier League games