India has qualified only four times in the competition which has been in existance since 1956
Writer : Manav Chowdhury
The AFC Asian Cup qualifiers for the 2023 Asian Cup is going to begin from 8th June. The Blue Tigers will face the lower ranked teams Cambodia followed by Afghanistan and Hong Kong in Kolkata.
A Brief History
Here we look at the brief history of performances of the Indian football team in 1964,1984,2011 & 2019. India is only able to qualify four times in this tournament where India has only won three matches during this course of four tournament appearances.
1964 AFC Asian Cup
It was the third edition of the AFC Asia Cup. India didn’t have to qualify for the 1964 after a lot of teams pulled out from the tournament,only four nations participated.
Jawaharlal Nehru, India’s Prime Minister at the time died on the day of their opening match but the team took to the field against South Korea and beat the Taeguk Warriors 2-0 courtesy of goals from K Appalaraju and Inder Singh. – As eminent Indian football historian Novy Kapadia stated
They lost to Israel 0-2 and then defeated Hong Kong 3-1 in their final encounter. Indian forward Inder Singh was the top Indian goalscorer for the team as India finished as runner up in the competition.
In the Qualification India who was part of the west zone made it to the main round automatically. All the other teams in the group withdrew from the competition.
1984 AFC Asian Cup
After 20 years the Blue Tigers were again able to qualify for the tournament. They faced South Korea ,Malaysia,Pakistan and North Yemen in the qualifiers which were Played in Calcutta. The team under the management of Milovan Ciric qualified winning three and losing against the Koreans to make it for Singapore 1984.
Source The Hard Tackle
Even after having a really good squad for the tournament the Blue tigers were not able to register a single win. They were able to secure only one point after drawing against Iran. The team was not able to score a single goal and eventually they were knocked out from the group stage. Drawn against the hosts Singapore, China, Iran and UAE, India conceded seven in their four matches, scoring none.
Ciric’s team managed a draw against Iran but lost 0-2 to Singapore and UAE, while going down 0-3 to China
2011 AFC Asian Cup
It took 27 long years for the Blue tigers to qualify for the 2011 Asian Cup. India was among the 16 countries who qualified in the tournament.The Blue tigers qualified by virtue of winning the AFC challenge Cup by beating Tajikistan 4-1 in the final. India was drawn alongside the mighty Australia,South Korea and Bahrain.
The Blue tigers were eventually hammered by by the Socceroos 0-4. The next match against Bahrain saw Gouramangi Singh and Sunil Chhetri strike in either half. However that was not enough to prevent them from slipping to a 2-5 loss. Their last match against South Korea saw the Blue Tigers handed a 1-4 defeat, with the then 18-year-old Son Heung-Min scoring his first-ever international goal.
2019 AFC Asia Cup
After 8 years the Blue tigers again was able to qualify for the tournament and we’re desperate to prove their capabilities. They were drawn agianst the hosts UAE,Thailand and Bahrain.
India were able to register a morale boosting win against Thailand which ended in 4-1 scoreline in favour of Blue tigers. But unfortunately they were not able to replicate the same performance agianst UAE and Bahrain as they lost both matches and were eliminated from group Stages.
Overall in the upcoming qualifiers the Blue tigers are expected to perform well as they have a very balanced squad for the upcoming fixtures and we hope that the team will perform well.