Having been denied a place in the 2019 Round of 16 by the slimmest of margins, India are determined to enjoy an extended run at the 2023 AFC Asian Cup in Qatar.
It will, however, not be easy for Igor Stimac’s side with all their Group B challengers – Australia, Uzbekistan and Syria – ranked higher than the South Asians.
FIFA World Ranking: 102
Previous Appearances: 4
Best Finish: Runners-up – 1964
2019 Result: Group Stage
Head Coach: Igor Stimac (CRO)
Fun Fact: India have qualified for back-to-back Finals for the first time
Stimac, however, wasn’t worried about the opposition, saying it is important to prepare thoroughly for the challenge.
“We have entered the new phase of our work, and we know it’s going to be very hard and difficult on the boys,” Stimac said.
“We know that the next few months until March will be very difficult.”
“We are very optimistic that once the players, who are missing now (through injury), are back, we will become solid again and show strength on the pitch, no matter who we play against.”
India’s Group B fixtures
v Australia (14:30 local time, Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium)
v Uzbekistan (17:30 local time, Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium)
v Syria (14:30 local time, Al Bayt Stadium)