The Blue Tigers are now preparing for the FIFA World Cup 2022 Qualifiers in the coming months.
According to the latest Rankings table officially released by FIFA, India stand 105th, thereby dropping a place down since the previous iteration. The Blue Tigers stand 12 points below 104th-placed Palestine and just six points above 106th-placed Thailand.
North Korea and Thailand have leaped the highest among the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) nations with the former jumping six places above to 109th place while the latter moving up four spaces. At the top of the Asian nations stand Japan (28) followed by Iran (31) and South Korea (39). Meanwhile, in terms of the world rankings, the top five places remain undisturbed with Belgium at the summit.
India recently played a couple of international friendlies, thus, returning to action after a very long hiatus. The Blue Tigers played Oman and UAE in Dubai a couple of weeks ago. They held the former in a 1-1 draw while saw a huge 6-0 defeat at the hands of the latter. Nevertheless, a bunch of youngsters were handed their debuts in the two games, which turned out to be a major positive.
Manvir Singh scored a perfect header against Oman, which was also only the second goal from an open play by India in as many as nine games. The two friendlies, saw head coach Igor Stimac hand debuts to 10 new players who impressed in the bygone Indian Super League season. However, the Croatian faced a lot of criticism for failing to lead the side to a win.
In 2017, India had climbed to 96th position in the FIFA Rankings, their second-best ranking ever. However, looking at their recent results, it certainly will be an uphill task to achieve a similar feat. It remains to be seen if Stimac can lead the side to glory in his tenure, especially with the FIFA World Cup 2022 Qualifiers knocking on the door.