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Top 10 memorable moments in history of Indian football

Published at :April 2, 2024 at 6:00 PM
Modified at :April 2, 2024 at 7:16 PM
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(Courtesy : India TV News)

Atawaris Warsi

Indian football, over the years, has grown to a large extent and witnessed several memorable moments.

Indian football boasts a rich history filled with moments of triumph, individual brilliance, and a testament to the unwavering surge upwards of the sport in the country. From barefoot battles on the world stage to record-breaking achievements, Indian football has captured the hearts of fans for over a century. 

This article explores 10 of the most unforgettable moments that have shaped the beautiful game in India, highlighting iconic victories, personal milestones, and events that have ignited a passion for football across the nation.

Let’s take a look at the top moments.

10. Bengaluru FC’s AFC Cup Final (2016)

Bengaluru FC, a relatively young club at that time, reached the final of the AFC Cup in 2016, becoming the first Indian club to do so, although they lost to Iraq’s Air Force Club in the final.

9. Bala Devi signs professional contract for Rangers WFC (2020)

In 2020, Bala Devi became the first Indian woman footballer to play professionally in Europe when she signed for Rangers WFC in Scotland. This paved the way for other aspiring Indian women footballers to dream of playing on a global stage.

8. Gurpreet Singh Sandhu features in the UEFA Europa League (2016)

Top 10 Memorable Moments in the History of Indian Football Gurpreet Singh Sandhu in Stabaek FC
Gurpreet Singh Sandhu in Stabaek FC (Image Source:

Gurpreet Singh Sandhu became the first Indian player to feature in a UEFA Europa League match in 2016, a remarkable feat for Indian football on the International stage.

7. Bhaichung Bhutia’s Final Game (2012)

Bhaichung Bhutia’s final game, a friendly match against German giants Bayern Munich in January 2012, stands as a memorable moment in Indian football history. Bhutia, revered as one of India’s greatest footballers, led the Indian national team one last time onto the pitch against a formidable opponent. Despite Bayern’s dominance, Bhutia’s presence symbolized the culmination of a remarkable career dedicated to Indian football.

6. Playing Barefooted (1948)

In the 1948 London Olympics football match against France, India’s remarkable performance captured the world’s attention, particularly because the Indian players took to the field barefoot. Despite lacking modern equipment, India’s team showcased immense skill and determination. Though they ultimately faced a 1-2 defeat, the match highlighted the spirit of Indian footballers and their ability to compete at the highest level despite challenges.

5. Gurpreet Singh Sandhu’s Heroics (2019)

Goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu’s exceptional performance in a 0-0 draw against AFC Asian Cup 2019 winner Qatar in a 2022 World Cup qualifier is considered one of the greatest goalkeeping displays in Indian Football history.

4. Sunil Chhetri’s International Record (2019)

Top 10 Memorable Moments in the History of Indian Football Sunil Chhetri
Sunil Chettri in the World Cup Qualifiers against Afghanistan. Image Source: AIFF)

Sunil Chhetri, the captain of the Indian national team, surpassed Lionel Messi in 2019 to become the second-highest active international goal scorer, behind only Cristiano Ronaldo. However, now the Indian skipper lies third in the standings of the highest active International goal scorer.

3. India’s First FIFA World Cup Appearance (2017)

Top 10 Memorable Moments in the History of Indian Football FIFA U-17 World Cup India 2017
Indian U-17 squad who played the U-17 FIFA World Cup. (Image Source: The Wire)

India hosted the FIFA U-17 World Cup in 2017. While they didn’t progress past the group stage, it was a historic moment for Indian Football, sparking renewed interest in the sport amongst the youth.

2. Mohun Bagan’s IFA Shield Victory (1911)

Mohun Bagan, a Kolkata-based football club, won the prestigious IFA Shield in 1911, becoming the first Indian team to do so, defeating East Yorkshire Regiment in the final.

1. Asian Games Gold (1951)

Top 10 Memorable Moments in the History of Indian Football Team Asian Games 1951
Indian Football team in Asian Games. (Image Source: ETV Bharat)

India’s triumph at the 1951 Asian Games in New Delhi marked a historic milestone in the nation’s footballing journey. In front of a jubilant home crowd, India clinched the gold medal by defeating Iran in a thrilling final match. The victory was not just about winning a prestigious title; it symbolized the emergence of Indian football on the continental stage.

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