Failing to reach the knockouts of the Asian Cup in 2019 by a whisker, the Indian men’s national team will be heading into the present edition to fulfill unfinished business. Despite the odds, the Blue Tigers will be confident of making the most of their chances carrying a rich vein of form to the tournament. India are participating in the Asian Cup for the fifth time with this being their first consecutive appearance.
The set of opposition this time is going to be tougher with Australia, Uzbekistan and Syria to face. Among them, India’s Asian Cup opener against the Socceroos on 13th January 2024 will hold significance not only because of the enormous challenge this fixture will pose but also historically. Overall, this will be the 10th meeting between the sides and the second face-off in this competition. While Australia have been the dominating team in this meeting, India has shown their moments which will serve as an inspiration for the present side ahead of the huge clash.
Here are the six memorable meetings between India and Australia in football:
Australia 5-3 India (International friendly) - 3 September 1938
The first meeting between the sides was contested in 1938 which was part of India’s tour of Australia where five friendlies were played in four different venues. The Socceroos triumphed in the match playing a goal-fest with the Blue Tigers in Sydney. Alf Quill and Jack Hughes scored a brace in the 5-3 victory with Jim Wilkinson scoring the opener. C Rahim, R Lumsden and captain Karuna Sankar Bhattacharya scored for the Blue Tigers managed by the renowned Pankaj Gupta.
Australia 4-4 India (International friendly) - 10 September 1938
The tour’s second friendly match played at Brisbane also saw eight goals scored but it was a massive 4-4 draw. Jack Hughes scored twice again with Cec Brittain and Redvis Kitching also putting their name on the scoresheet for Australia. Likewise, R Lumsden was in excellent form for India netting twice in the match with inspiring captain Karuna making his presence felt again alongside P Rahim. The first point earned in this meeting propelled the Blue Tigers to do something even better in the third match of the tour.
Australia 1-4 India (International friendly) - 17 September 1938
The historic day for India came only a week later when they secured their first victory over Australia by thrashing them 4-1 in Newcastle in front of a 9k-strong attendance. The goal-scorers for the Blue Tigers were the same as the last game with Lumsden scoring a brace once again while the others scored their third of the tour. Jack Hughes got his fourth strike of the tournament as consolation for the home side.
India 4-2 Australia (1956 Melbourne Olympics) - 1 December 1956
India suffered defeat in the final two matches of the tour but claimed victory on a grand stage when they faced Australia once again on their ground 18 years later. In the Melbourne Olympics hosted in 1956, the Indian team coached by the legendary Syed Abdul Rahim secured a famous 4-2 victory against the hosts. Neville D’Souza scored a memorable hat trick with J. Krishnaswamy getting the fourth for the men in blue who were captained by the great Samar Banerjee. The victory denied Australia the chance to win the gold in front of the rousing home support while India made history by becoming the first Asian nation to reach the semi-final stage at the Olympics football tournament.
Australia 1 -7 India (International friendly) - 9 December 1956
Only days later, the Blue Tigers emerged victorious once again in this meeting played as a friendly in Sydney. Syed Abdul Rahim’s side secured a whopping 7-1 result against the Socceroos with two Banerjees, Samar and one of Indian football idols P.K, getting on the scoresheet. Pradip Kumar Banerjee scored twice alongside Neville D’Souza who became a nightmare for Australia twice in a row. Krishna Kittu also bagged a brace in the total annihilation of the opponent. Brian Vogler was the sole goal-scorer for the hosts who failed to show their strength on the day.
India 0-4 Australia (2011 AFC Asian Cup Qatar) - 10 January 2011
After a 1-0 loss in the 1981 King’s Cup, India did not face Australia until their first meeting this century in the 2011 Asian Cup. By then the gulf between the sides was widened with India unable to touch their golden period again while Australia basked with a golden generation that gave the nation a series of World Cup appearances and went on to win the 2015 Asian Cup. In the game played almost 12 years ago, hosted in Qatar as well, the Socceroos showed their prowess with their top goal-scorer Tim Cahill scoring a brace in a 4-0 win. While Subrata Paul had a tremendous game between the sticks despite conceding four which pulled interest from Europe on him, India’s return to the continental contest after 27 long years was dampened by the defeat.