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India’s chances in AFC Asian Cup 2019

India has announced its 23-man squad for the AFC Asian Cup 2019. Let's have a look at India's chances in AFC Asian Cup 2019

SM
Last updated: 04.01.2019
Indian National Football Team | Sports Social Blog

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India has announced its 23-man squad for the AFC Asian Cup 2019. This will be the 17th edition of the Cup with India qualifying at only four occasions: 1964, 1984, 2011 and now in 2019. India was the Runner-up in 1964 and then had to wait for another 20 years to even qualify. Stephen Constantine is the head coach and has been crucial in India’s qualification. Naturally, Sunil Chhetri is the skipper for the Campaign. India is in Group A with Bahrain, Thailand, and UAE. India’s first fixture is on January 6 against Thailand. With Sunil Chhetri and Sandhu being the only player in the current squad who played in the 2011 Asian Cup as well,


let us look at India’s chances in the competition.


Tough Group

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India has been pitted against Bahrain, UAE, and Thailand in Group A. The hosts, UAE is going to be India’s toughest challenge. UAE has a very strong defensive line with the likes of Al Saadi. Their forward Ahmed Khalil is being hailed as one of the best forwards in the tournament and has scored 49 goals for his country. The UAE are the clear favorites and are expected to cruise past their opponents in the Group. Though Bahrain had a poor run in the 2018 World Cup qualifiers, they bounced back and qualified for the AFC Asian Cup. They scored 15 goals conceding only 3 and facing only a single defeat. Thailand is a nation having a team that is developing at a fast pace. The major power source of their side is the attack. Teerasil Dangda, their striker is the third highest goalscorer in their history. He has scored 42 goals in 95 appearances.


It is going to be very challenging for the Indian team to advance to the knockout rounds with Bahrain the favorites to occupy the second place. The major stakes are placed at their opening game against Thailand. If they can manage to win against them, then they might have a chance against UAE and Bahrain with their increased confidence. If India manages to finish as the runner-up of the Group, then they will face the runner-up of Group C. And if they surprise everyone and wins the Group, then they face the leaders of Group C, D or E.


Key Players


A lot will depend on the form of some of the important players.


  1. Sunil Chettri



A lot is expected from the Indian skipper. He is the most experienced player in the squad and is the only player along with Sandhu from the current lot who were part of the team in the AFC Asian Cup 2011. The 34-year-old has netted 65 goals in 104 appearances for India and he is the 3rd highest international goalscorer placed behind Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo ( among the players who are currently active).


2) Sandesh Jhinghan



Who doesn’t know the Kerala Blasters FC defender? He is one of the most followed and loved a player of the ISL. He is rock solid at the back and was also awarded Indian Super League Emerging Player of the Year in 2014. Looking at UAE and Bahrain’s attack, India would need Jhinghan at his best, if they want to get through the group.


3.) Gurpreet Singh Sandhu



Sandhu was the first player to play in a top-flight European Competitive Match. At the age of just 23, he signed for Norwegian side, Stabaek.  He is the no. 1 of the Indian team or the past three years and would be very crucial for India in the coming tournament.



INDIA’S SQUAD:


Goalkeepers: Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, Amrinder Singh, Vishal Kaith.


Defenders: Sandesh Jinghan, Pritam kotal, Sarthak Golui, Anas Edathodika, Salam Ranjan Singh, Narayan Das, Subhashish Bose.


Midfielders: Udanta Das, Germanpreet Singh, Jackie chand Singh, Pronay Haldar, Vinit Rai, Anirudh Thapa, Halicharan Narzary, Rowllin Borges, Ashique Kuruniyan.


Forwards: Sunil Chhetri, Jeje Lalpheklua, Balwant Singh, Sumeet Passi.


India is not the favorite to get past their opponents in the group, but against all odds, Indian fans are rooting for their team to perform well in the competition. If they manage to succeed and enter into the knockout stages, it will give them increased confidence and they can emerge as one of the strong contenders in the tournament.


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