Preview: India seek to test level in Belarus clash
The Blue Tigers are yet to defeat an European country in football.
India are all geared up to face Belarus in their second friendly in Bahrain. The match against the West Asians helped the Blue Tigers to understand their weaknesses and strengths. Now, with two days to prepare, Igor Stimac’s men will be looking forward to a satisfactory display against the Europeans. Speaking of their FIFA rankings, India are ranked 104th. Meanwhile, Belarus are at 94. Therefore, it is expected that the encounter will be tough like their previous outing.
Belarus Vs India: The Stakes
For India, this tour to Bahrain is one to prepare for the upcoming AFC Asian Cup Qualifiers in June. Indeed, this is the first time India will be playing against Belarus. Meanwhile, Stimac mentioned in the pre-match press conference ahead of the Bahrain game, “I’m going to give chance to the new boys and check how they can do at the international level against stronger opposition and if we can count on them for the upcoming AFC Asian Cup Qualifiers.”
The coach used the likes of Naorem Roshan Singh, who ultimately provided the assist for Rahul Bheke’s goal. Thus, the Croatian will perhaps provide game-time to more young lads in this encounter. India will be hoping to make the most of this match after their narrow loss at the hands of Bahrain.
For Belarus, this is their first friendly in 2022. They’ll be playing two friendlies, against India and Bahrain, on 26th and 29th March respectively. Since September 2021, Belarus have played seven matches (including six World Cup Qualifiers and a friendly). However, their solitary win came in November against Jordan (1-0) in a friendly. Eventually, that was the country’s last game. Hence, their tactician Georgy Kondratyev will be looking forward to having a check on the team’s condition before some important clashes in June.
Belarus Vs India: Team News
India have a 22-member squad for this game (excluding three Mumbai City players). The Blue Tigers possess a fully fit squad for this encounter. Igor Stimac was in high praise of Naorem Roshan Singh. He will be hoping for a start this time around and that too, in his natural position.
Meanwhile, on March 10, Belarus announced their squad for the two friendlies. But, some changes have been made prior to their arrival in Bahrain on 22nd March. The likes of goalkeeper Pavel Pavlyuchenko (injured) and midfielders Artem Kontsevoy and Alexander Selyava were left out of the final squad. As a result of which, Roman Stepanov (goalkeeper) and Artem Bykov (midfielder) are in the team.
Belarus Vs India: Head-to-Head
This is the first time India will be facing Belarus in the sport of football.
Belarus Vs India: Probable Lineups
India: Gurpreet Singh Sandhu (GK); Seriton Fernandes, Sandesh Jhingan, Chinglensana Singh, Naorem Roshan Singh; Anirudh Thapa, Jeakson Singh; VP Suhair, Liston Colaco; Manvir Singh, Rahim Ali.
Belarus: Maxim Plotnikov (GK), Gleb Shevchenko, Maxim Shvetsov, Ruslan Yudenkov, Danila Nechaev, Roman Yuzepchuk, Evgeni Yablonksiy, Vladislav Klimovich, Max Ebong, Pavel Sedko, Andrei Solovei.
Players to watch
Liston Colaco (India)
His partnership with Manvir Singh looks deadly at times. Hopefully, the two will combine against Belarus and give the Indians something to smile about.
Evgeniy Yablonskiy (Belarus)
In an international friendly against Jordan on November 16, 2021, Yablonskiy scored the solitary winner for Belarus. The Aris Limassol defensive midfielder wears the Belarusian armband. Undoubtedly, he is an important figure in Georgy Kondratyev’s side.
Did You Know?
- This is the first time India will be playing Belarus.
- Belarus played eight World Cup qualifiers matches and conceded 24 goals.
- The last time India played against a European country was way back in February, 2012 against Azerbaijan. Unfortunately, they lost the game 3-0.
- India has never defeated a European country in football.
The match between India and Belarus will take place at the Bahrain National Stadium, Manama, Bahrain. The game will kick off at 9:30 pm IST. The match will be streamed live on the Belarusian Federation YouTube channel. Like they did with the previous friendly, AIFF are likely to stream the same feed on its YouTube channel with Arabic commentary.