The campaign opener is a must-win for the teams as both will consider it the most winnable tie in the group
The Asian dream begins. Ever since 2011, every Indian football fan has woken up with a dream to see the crest of the Indian national team perform at the European championships’ Asian equivalent and eight years later, here we are. India take on Thailand in their Group A encounter in the AFC Asian Cup on Sunday at the Al-Nahyan Stadium.
About The Teams
India have played three strong nations in their last three encounters, drawing two and losing another in foreign conditions. China posed a massive challenge for the Blue Tigers both in footballing and reputation terms and drawing against the neighbors earned the boys respect and confidence. Against Jordan, they played a second-string side as most of the squad were stuck mid-journey due to incessant rains in the country. Oman was a different challenge altogether and India held fort well, coming close on several occasions. India were to play Syria, and that would have prepared the side well, but the match did not take place. However, they’ve looked good in training and have studied their opponents well. Centrally, it will be very difficult to find gaps through Thailand and thus, the onus will be on Udanta Singh and Holicharan Narzary to deliver the output from the wings. Jeje Lalpekhlua, too, would need to work on his positioning and heading.
Thailand head into the Asian Cup after having played the ASEAN Football Federation’s Suzuki Cup. The defending champions were their dominant best in the group stages, emerging first in their group. However, the highly-favored team stumbled in the semi-final against Malaysia on away goals. The War Elephants’ striker Adisak missed a crucial penalty late in the game, which led to their eventual elimination.
Sandhu (GK), Bose, Edathodika, Jhingan, Kotal, Halder, Thapa, Narzary, Udanta, Chhetri, Lalpekhlua.
Chatchai (GK), Pansa, Tristan, Chalermpong, Theerathon, Tanaboon, Thitipan, Adisak, Chanathip, Sanrawat, Dangda
Sunil Chhetri (India)- “At the moment, our sole focus is on our opening fixture – the game against Thailand. At the moment, we are not looking anything beyond that. Yeah, there are matches against UAE and Bahrain lined up but we will think about them only when they come. At the moment we know that Thailand will be a very tough opponent and we are concentrating only on them,” Chhetri quipped
— Indian Football Team (@IndianFootball) January 6, 2019