The Men in Blue will be busy with their international duties March onwards…
India looked to be on the upward curve with the attention-grabbing 4-1 triumph over Thailand in the Group A opener of the AFC Asian Cup 2019. However, things went awry for the Indian national side as they first lost 2-0 at the hands of UAE before conceding an injury-time penalty against Bahrain. That result saw them sadly bow out of the tournament, especially considering their promising start.
The defeat on Monday immediately led to the Blue Tiger’s head coach Stephen Constantine bidding adieu from the Indian football. As if this was not enough, India’s veteran centre back Anas Edathodika too called it a day.
Great player! Great person! Thank you @anasedathodika bhai for all your guidance on and off the pitch, thanks for all the wonderful memories.
Wish you good luck and success for your future ahead ??#ThankYouAnasBhai #PK20 pic.twitter.com/sr4vpoNlEI
— Pritam Kotal (@KotalPritam) January 18, 2019
With things not exactly going there way, the Blue Tigers would want to rise and make a solid comeback. Here is a low down their upcoming fixtures.
International Friendlies- March
Although the Blue Tigers made an early exit from the AFC Asian Cup, they could still taste the joy of competing against some of the most challenging oppositions. This will be in the next FIFA international friendly window that draws closer. In fact, the most immediate window is open from 19th March and all throughout the 27th. That means that the Indian Football team could look forward to playing at least two matches in this duration.
It goes without saying that the onus will be on the All India Football Federation (AIFF) to not only organise friendly matches against the toughest of opponents. However, at least at the moment, the AIFF is on a lookout of identifying the next head coach for the team.
World Cup Qualifiers- June
It feels like yesterday that the 2018 FIFA World Cup happened and we are already talking about the World Cup qualifiers!
This will be the next frontier for the Indian national team – the 2022 FIFA World Cup & the 2023 AFC Asian Cup joint qualifiers. The exciting qualifiers will be held later this year in June. The format would be identical to the 2018 World Cup – 2019 Asian Cup ones.
Nonetheless, India might get a bye for the first round later this year, since India are ranked in Asia’s top 15 sides at the moment.
The draw for the qualifiers will indeed take into consideration rankings from February 2019. The second phase of the qualifiers for the same will commence from September 2019.