Eastern European nation Slovenia will also be represented at the event.
The India U-19 National Team is set to participate in a four-nation International Tournament which includes U-19 National Teams of World Champions France, World Cup runners-up Croatia and Slovenia. The tournament will be held between September 4 – 9 and is being organized by the Croatian Football Federation in cooperation with Slovenian Football Federation.
Both the exposure tours have been organised by the All India Football Federation in coordination with SAI to provide the best possible preparation to the U-19 boys for the forthcoming Hero I-League season and also with an eye on U-19 AFC Championship qualification next year.
All India Football Federation General Secretary Mr Kushal Das stated, “It gives me immense satisfaction that our age-group teams are now regularly facing National teams of Asian champions and even World Champions. I am happy that SAI is with us in pursuing a vision and our youth players and coaches look forward to these challenges with positivity. I am convinced Indian Football is moving in right direction and all stakeholders will be encouraged with our efforts.”
National Team Director Abhishek Yadav mentioned, “there will be a few tough games ahead. It is our aim to give regular opportunities to our teams to compete against top footballing nations of the World across age-groups and gender. It is under this agenda that for the Indian Arrows, we got opportunities to face 2017 FIFA U20 World Cup runners-up Venezuela and 6-times U-20 World Champions Argentina (in August 2018). Concurrently, we were working on opportunities to face the squads of Slovenia, Croatia, France and Serbia to take forward Arrows’ pre-season. We all know that senior men’s teams of France and Croatia recently played in the Russia 2018 WC and I am sure everyone will recall who the finalists were. It is extremely important for our players to get the experience of such top quality matches and they are looking forward to these matches with a lot of enthusiasm.”
In a recent fixture, India U-20 created history as they beat Argentina U-20 in August 2018. The Latin Americans were also six times U-20 World Champions. The win was a positive note in the history of Indian football, which sent the entire nation into a state of frenzy. After the victory, coach Floyd Pinto said, “This victory will definitely earn Indian Football more respect in the World of Football. It opens up a window of opportunity to test ourselves against the best in the World on a regular basis. I also need to highlight the U-16 boys winning against current U-16 Asian Champions Iraq on the same day. Both victories are proof that this bunch of young U-16 and U-20 players is undergoing a systematic planning and exposure with the right kind of matches which is required for their continuous development.”