After finishing third in the King’s Cup, courtesy of a victory over hosts Thailand, Indian football team’s next assignment will be at the Intercontinental Cup, to be held from July 7-18 in Ahmedabad.
Igor Stimac fielded and blooded a host of youngsters in his first assignment as coach of the Indian team and gave debuts to six players at the King’s Cup. Of the lot, Amarjit Singh Kiyam and Sahal Abdul Samad were the most impressive in India’s midfield. Making a comeback to the international stage, Adil Khan’s performance in the final game was also much applauded.
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Playing at home, especially coming on the back of a victory, will raise expectations and related pressures, no doubt. At the same time, the men would be raring to continue their good show.
India take on Tajikistan in the opening clash on July 7, followed by a clash against DPR Korea (North Korea). Their third match is against Syria on July 16. The top two teams from the round-robin stage of the four-team tournament qualify for the final on July 18.
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As per the latest FIFA rankings (April 2019), Syria is the highest placed team in the mix, at No. 83. India sit just outside the top-100, listed at 101. Tajikistan and DPR Korea are placed 120 and 121 respectively.
India are the defending champions of the Intercontinental Cup. They lifted the title last year with a victory against Kenya in the final, powered by two goals from ‘Hero of the Tournament’ Sunil Chhetri. New Zealand and Chinese Taipei were the other two teams in the competition last year.
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