Apparently, they can, but so can the rest of the three teams
India started their AFC Asia Cup contest in the best possible way, winning 4-1 against Thailand in the Group A’s opening fixture. That also marked the Blue Tigers best win at the continent biggest football tournament.
However, India then slumped to a 2-0 defeat at the hands of hosts UAE. They did not necessarily play badly, but the missed chances (they struck the woodwork twice) let them down.
⏱ FULL-TIME | ?? IND 0 – 2 UAE ??
— #AsianCup2019 (@afcasiancup) January 10, 2019
Elsewhere, Thailand salvaged themselves a lifeline by beating Bahrain 1-0. With all the teams heaving opened their accounts, the Group A table looks like this:
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This means that all have the possibility of qualifying for the next round. As a result, the million dollar question of the hour is – Can India qualify for the knockout stages of AFC Asian Cup 2019? We find out…
Possibility 1: India win
India is placed second with 3 points and thus, a win would add three more to their tally. Thus, 6 points would assure them of at least a second-place finish, irrespective of the outcome of the match between Thailand and UAE.
Moreover, if Thailand manages to draw the match against the hosts, or even beat them, India will be assured of finishing at the top of the group (since head-to-head is the first tiebreaker between two teams with equal points, which is where India and Thailand would find themselves then).
Possibility 2: India draw
If India draws their match against Bahrain, they can still qualify for the knockout stages. However, their qualification would depend on the outcome of the UAE-Thailand match. If UAE wins or even draw against Thailand, India would be assured of progressing. (Since India would have four points leaving them with four points, and on a level with Thailand.)
However, a defeat for UAE would see Thailand top the Group with 6 points and UAE finish second (again on the head-to-head rule). However, it is unlikely that the hosts will succumb to a loss against Thailand, considering both the team’s form.
Possibility 3: India lose
If India loses, they will certainly not finish in the top two, since Bahrain would overtake them with 4 points. A win or draw for Thailand would then make it a last-place finish for the Indians in the Group A.
Even though India lost their second match, they still have a big chance of making it to the next round. Even a draw against an underscoring Bahrain would see them through since it is highly unlikely that Thailand would defeat UAE.
We need to win? against ??, says Coach @StephenConstan.
— Indian Football Team (@IndianFootball) January 11, 2019
India will take on Bahrain on 14th January, 9:30 pm (IST).