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AFC Asian Cup Qualifiers

Looking back at India's journey at AFC Asian Cup Qualifiers

Published at :May 28, 2022 at 2:27 PM
Modified at :December 13, 2023 at 1:01 PM
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(Courtesy : AIFF Media)

Yash Pratap Singh

The Blue Tigers will play a friendly against Jordan in preparation for the important tournament.

The Indian National football team will soon take to the ground in the Qualifiers to fight for a place in the upcoming 2023 AFC Asian Cup. The Blue Tigers are clubbed alongside Cambodia, Afghanistan and Hong Kong in Group D.

India are considered to be the ‘favourites’ to make it to the mega event from their group as their counterparts are ranked lower than them in the FIFA rankings. Igor Stimac's side will play in their comfort zone and are expected to seal the deal without barring any surprises.

Sunil Chhetri and co. will begin their campaign on June 8 against Cambodia, followed by Afghanistan on June 11 and Hong Kong on June 14.

With the qualifiers knocking at the door, Khel Now takes a look at how India has performed at the AFC Asian Cup Qualifiers over the years.

Did Not Qualify

The Blue Tigers did not make it to the colossal event in the following years:

1956: Did not participate

1960: Finished fourth in the Western Zone.

1968: Finished fourth in the Western Zone 2.

1972-1980: Did not participate

1988: Finished sixth in Group 1.

1992: Finished second in Group 3.

1996: Finished third in Group 4.

2000: Finished third in Group 3.

2004: Finished second in Group G.

2007: Finished fourth in group A.

2015: Filed to win the 2012 AFC Challenge Cup & did not qualify for the 2014 AFC Challenge Cup.



The Blue Tigers emerged as Western Zone winners in their debut AFC Asian Cup Qualifiers. All the other teams withdrew and therefore India sealed an automatic qualification for the 1964 AFC Asian Cup.


India finished second in Group C of the 1984 AFC Asian Cup Qualifiers and qualified for their second appearance at the Asian Cup. The Blue Tigers won three out of their four games and lost just once, that too against table-toppers South Korea.

India recorded a 4-0 win against North Yemen, a 2-1 victory against Malaysia and a 2-0 triumph against arch-rivals and neighbours Pakistan.


India AFC Challenge Cup
India won the 2008 AFC Challenge Cup to qualify for the 2011 edition of Asian Cup (Courtesy:

The Blue Tigers scripted history and brought an end to their declining form by winning the 2008 AFC Asian Challenge Cup. Sunil Chhetri’s hat-trick in the final helped India cruise past Tajikistan in a 4-1 win.

Moreover, Chhetri’s triplet also ensured India a slot in the 2011 AFC Asian Cup group stages. India remained unbeaten throughout the Asian Challenge cup and took a toll on everyone who came their way. 


India AFC Asian Cup Qualifiers 2019
India topped the 2019 final round Qualifiers to book a place in the AFC Asian Cup (Courtesy: AIFF Media)

Indian football team pulled off a 2-0 aggregate win over Nepal in Round 1 of the qualifiers. They finished last in Group D in the second round but were awarded a play-off round spot where they defeated Laos 7-1 on aggregate and advanced to the third round.

The Blue Tigers finished the third round as table toppers with four wins in six matches. They began their campaign with a 1-0 victory against Myanmar and three back-to-back victories against Krygyzstan and Macau. 

Moreover, Sunil Chhetri and Jeje Lalpekhua finished the qualifiers as the fifth and sixth joint-highest goalscorers respectively. Chhetri netted eight goals while Jeje found the back of the net seven times. 

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