UAE National Football Team: Know Your Rivals – India

UAE National Football Team: Know Your Rivals – India

Having held Oman to a 1-1 draw in an international friendly on Thursday, India will face UAE in another preparatory game…


Country: India

FIFA Ranking: 104

Nickname: The Blue Tigers

Last match played: Oman  1-1 India (March 25 2021)

Coach: Igor Stimac


India has a rich footballing history and were a force to reckon with in the 1950s and 1960s. In this period, under the guidance of maverick coach Syed Abdul Rahim India won gold in the 1951 and the 1962 Asian Games. They also finished fourth in the Summer Olympics in 1956.  They have also participated four times in the AFC Asian Cup and their best result came in 1964 when they finished as runners-up. However, in the subsequent decades, the results went south and in the 1974 Asian Games, they lost all three matches in the group stage and conceded 14 goals.  However, the last decade has produced mixed results for Indian football fans. Under Bob Houghton, they once again qualified for the AFC Asian Cup in 2011 after a hiatus of 27 years. But in March 2015, they slipped to their lowest FIFA ranking of 173 after failing to qualify for the Asian Cup and surrendering the SAAF Cup to Afghanistan, which forced manager Wim Koevermans to quit.  Stephen Constantine was roped in as the manager and the British tactician brought in a bunch of new faces to inspire a resurgence. In 2017, India secured qualification to the 2019 edition of the Asian Cup after a comprehensive 4-1 victory over Macau. In 2018, they regained the SAFF Championship and got some encouraging results against stronger opponents like China.  Constantine quit after India were knocked out from the group stages of the AFC Asian Cup. Following his departure, Croatian Igor Stimac was brought in as the new coach. Under his tutelage, India held reigning Asian champions Qatar to a goalless draw at their own backyard in the World Cup Qualifiers 2022.  


Since Stimac took over, India have participated in King’s Cup and Intercontinental Cup, and have also plied their trade in the joint qualifiers for the 2022 FIFA World Cup and 2023 AFC Asian Cup. In the Kings Cup, India defeated hosts Thailand (1-0) but went down to Curacao (3-1). Whereas, in the Intercontinental Cup they could not muster a single win, losing against Tajikistan (4-2), Korea DPR (5-2) and drawing against Syria (1-1). In the World Cup qualifiers, they have not registered a win after five matches and stand in the fourth spot with three points.  The last piece of competitive action for India came on March 25 when they held higher-ranked Oman to a 1-1 draw, courtesy of an equaliser from Manvir Singh.  


The most recent meeting between the two teams was in the 2019 AFC Asian Cup, in which UAE won 2-0.  In their two previous encounters, as part of qualifiers for the 2014 World Cup, UAE won their home leg 3-0. While the return tie ended in a 2-2 draw with Jeje Lalpekhlua and Gouramangi Moiranthem scoring for the
Blue Tigers. 
The highest margin of victory for UAE remains a 5-0 thrashing in a friendly in 2011 and for India a 2-0 win in the 1981 Merdeka Tournament that was held in Malaysia.


IND v UAE 14 2 3 9 7 26 -19 14.29 %



The India national team, under head coach Igor Stimac, usually play in a 4-2-3-1 formation. The Croatian handed out 10 debuts in their previous match against Oman. 

They have arrived in UAE without their talisman Sunil Chhetri who tested Covid-19 positive a few days before the team was set to leave for UAE. 

The Indian coach will look to rotate his squad and hand opportunities to players who did not take part in the game against Oman. 


Manvir Singh:  Singh was entrusted with the responsibility of filling in the big shoes of Sunil Chhetri and the forward did not disappoint. He scored the equaliser and on another occasion, his header went just over the crossbar. He had been in good form in the Indian Super League (ISL) as well, scoring six goals and providing three assists. 




India squad for UAE friendly
Goalkeepers Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, Amrinder Singh, Subhasish Roy Chowdhury, Dheeraj Singh.
Defenders Ashutosh Mehta, Akash Mishra, Pritam Kotal, Sandesh Jhingan, Chinglensana Singh, Adil Khan, Mandar Rao Dessai, Mashoor Shereef.
Midfielders Rowllin Borges, Lalengmawia, Jeakson Singh, Raynier Fernandes, Anirudh Thapa, Bipin Singh, Yasir Mohammad, Suresh Singh, Halicharan Narzary, Lallianzuala Chhangte, Ashique Kuruniyan.
Forwards Manvir Singh, Ishan Pandita, Hitesh Sharma, Liston Colaco.



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