FIFA World Cup Qualifiers

We’ll go all out with all to win & nothing to lose: Igor Stimac

Yash Pratap SinghYash Pratap Singh
November 20 2023
(Courtesy : File Photo)

Igor Stimac revealed what he told his team after the Kuwait triumph.

The Indian football team will host the defending champions of Asia, Qatar in their first home game of the 2026 FIFA World Cup and 2027 AFC Asian Cup joint Qualifiers at the Kalinga Stadium on November 21.

India bagged a win over Kuwait away from home and got their first three points of the campaign. They’ll want to continue the same momentum against Qatar as well. Ahead of the game, India’s head coach Igor Stimac and goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu addressed the media. Excerpts are below:

Thoughts on Qatar

The head coach shared his thoughts on Qatar and said that his side are well aware of how they destroyed Afghanistan.

“We know their strength and they are the defending Asian champions. We witnessed how they destroyed Afghanistan. In this game, we have nothing to lose and a lot to win. So, let’s go for it,” he asserted.

FIFA World Cup 2026 Qualifiers | India Vs Qatar Press Conference ft. Igor Stimac & Carlos Queiroz

Thoughts ahead of the game

Sharing his thoughts ahead of the game, Igor Stimac said that the game is going to be like any other and that’s how his team will prepare for it.

“It’s going to be a game like any other. That’s how they need to approach it and that’s how they need to prepare for it. We cannot control the audience, we cannot control the crowd. We cannot control the weather. What we can control is our performance on both on an individual level and as a team. 

He also added that his team will give their best against Qatar.

“And for us, there is only one thing to do – to give our best tomorrow. When the game starts, throughout 90 minutes, and once the final result is gone, then we’re going to see what kind of results we got,” he quipped.

Message to players after Kuwait triumph

When asked about what his message was to his players after the win over Kuwait, Igor Stimac said, “I told our players immediately after the Kuwait game in the dressing room that the best thing to move forward is to forget the game immediately. I told them to save their energy from celebrating, being self-confident, overconfident or getting into euphoria or something like that. 

“Let’s get ready for the Qatar game. That’s the only way forward. But we need to mention that we’re going into the most important game in our qualifiers in this group. We are very realistic. We know that Qatar is out of our league and that is why tomorrow we will go all out with all to win and nothing to lose,” he said.

Thoughts on Bhubaneswar

Igor Stimac has always been an admirer of Bhubaneswar and its sporting facilities. Sharing his thoughts on the same he said that he loves the city because it has everything that professional football needs.

“We love this place. It’s obvious because such facilities cannot be found anywhere in India and that’s what we need in professional football. There’s a good distance from the fantastic hotel to the training purchase to the stadium.” 

He also added, “This is really important – how we present ourselves to foreign teams which are coming here to visit us. I’m enjoying each second here in Odisha and every time I have a chance, I give big thanks to the Odisha government for providing such wonderful facilities to the citizens and to the youth.”

Gurpreet’s comments 

Thoughts ahead of the game

India’s first-choice goalkeeper, Gurpreet Singh Sandhu shared his views ahead of the game and said that it is going to be a challenging encounter, but his side will go for the win as always.

“I think it is obviously going to be a challenge. And the last two games are not even in my mind right now. We are just concentrating on tomorrow’s game. We will look to make life difficult for our opposition like we always do and go for the win,” he mentioned.

Thoughts on Qatar

Gurpreet also shared his thoughts about the opposition and said, “I think it’s not that we’re not going to be any different. Obviously they will have their plan as well. But now we are making them at home and we need to use this advantage and give a good fight.

“There is nothing to lose and a lot of things to win. And that is what we want to do. Especially I want to use this opportunity to go for the maximum and hope for the best,” he asserted.

Time under Igor Stimac

The India international was asked about the national team’s time under Igor Stimac. He said that the former Croatian international has created a competitive environment within the team.

“I think what has been happening and has happened with us, the credit goes to the coach and the coaching staff for creating such a competitive environment in the team. And the consequence of that (if performance level drops) is that you might lose your spot.

He also said that the healthy competition and brotherhood has helped the team become better players and human beings.

“There is healthy competition, which has been in the team along with the same kind of brotherhood. This has helped us progress as players and human beings and we make sure that we make our team better day by day,” he signed off.

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