Indian football team gears up for Intercontinental Cup

The Indian men’s football team is gearing up for the Intercontinental Cup, which commences on Friday, as part of their preparations for the AFC Asian Cup in January. The team, under the guidance of Igor Stimac, is embarking on a busy month ahead. Over the course of 20 days, they are scheduled to play a minimum of six matches. Additionally, if they advance to the finals of both this tournament and the subsequent SAFF Cup, they could potentially play three more matches.
The Indian men’s football team, currently ranked 101st, is set to take on Lebanon, ranked 99th, as well as Vanuatu (ranked 164th) and Mongolia (ranked 183rd). This encounter marks the beginning of a series of matches against Lebanon in 2023. In addition, India is slated to face Lebanon in the upcoming King’s Cup in Thailand and the Merdeka tournament in Malaysia later this year. There is also a potential for a meeting between the two teams in the knockout stages of the SAFF Cup later this month.
This tournament, along with the upcoming months, holds significant importance for India’s journey towards achieving the All India Football Federation’s (AIFF) goal of becoming one of the top ten men’s teams in Asia by 2026. Here is an in-depth analysis outlining various strategies and areas where India can enhance its FIFA ranking.
In the group stages of the SAFF Cup, India will be facing Kuwait, Nepal, and Pakistan. While these teams are currently ranked below India, a loss in any of these matches could hinder India’s progress. Lebanon, being one of the guest teams in the SAFF Cup, poses another potential challenge for India. If India reaches the final, they are likely to face Lebanon in a crucial head-to-head battle, which is a match they must not lose. These matches hold significant importance for India’s progress and will require the team to perform at their best. The conclusion drawn from the situation is that India must strive to win every game they play at home in the coming month. The outcome of these matches is crucial as it can directly influence the draw for the World Cup qualifiers. To avoid being placed in Pot 3, India cannot afford any losses and must perform at their best.

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