SAFF Championship title not “special success”, goal is to qualify for 2023 Asian Cup

India winning the SAFF Championships for the eighth time is not a “special achievement” as the country is dominant in the South Asian region and the main goal is to do well in qualifying for the Cup. Asia 2023, said national football team head coach Igor Stimac. Wednesday.

India won the regional tournament after beating Nepal 3-0 in the final in Male on Saturday to hand Stimac his first trophy as team manager.

“I don’t consider it (the SAFF title) to be a particular success because it is normal for India to win when it goes to SAFF but it shows that we are very dominant in this competition and that we can progress a lot more in our game. , ”Stimac said during a virtual interaction.

He admitted, however, that his side were under a lot of “results pressure” after drawing against Bangladesh (1-1) and Sri Lanka (0-0) in the opening two round robin matches. The results put India in danger of going off the rails for the final.

India went on to beat Nepal 1-0 to host the Maldives 3-1 in must-see matches before dominating the Himalayan country 3-0 in the summit clash to mark their authority.

“It was obviously a difficult situation which we found after the first two matches, but they looked bad only because of the results. There was not much difference in approach, numbers and statistics. , we had enough shots, scoring opportunities, movement and energy from the players.

“We sometimes scored and sometimes we didn’t and that made the difference. So we had a lot of pressure on the results but we handled it the way it should and in the end we won the trophy which was really important.

Stimac was speaking from Bengaluru after his return from the Maldives and he leaves for Dubai on Tuesday night with the U-23 national team, which he took charge of for the 2022 Asian U-23 Championship qualifiers in the United Arab Emirates. from 25 to 31 October.

The Croatian gaffer said the team’s goal is to qualify for the 2023 Asian Cup for which the third qualifying round is expected to start in early February next year.

This could be tricky as the Asian Cup qualifiers would be outside FIFA’s window and the federation will have to convince the Indian Super League organizers and clubs to release the players for national duty.

“We don’t yet know who we’re going to play against, we don’t know our squad yet. But we have to prepare because we have been told that our first game will be on February 1.

“If we want to be successful in this qualifying match which are games to be played outside the FIFA window, we have to sit down with the other stakeholders of the domestic competitions (read ISL), how long do the players of the national team will they have to prepare. “

ISL organizers have published the league’s first leg matches from November 19 to January 9. They have yet to announce the return matches.

He said the national team would need a good preparation time to produce good results in the Asian Cup qualifying matches.

“Otherwise we’ll play, that easy,” he joked.

“Because the players are going to start the ISL season now and we need to make sure as soon as possible that the opening in February of the third round of qualifying (for the Asian Cup) is on the ISL calendar so that the players be released for the duty of the national team. . “

Stimac also praised talismanic captain Sunil Chhetri, who at 37 is one of the team’s fittest players.

“His influence keeps the team going. He is a role model and a leader on and in the field. He is the most passionate player in the locker room and his level of fitness is incredible.

“He’s in the best possible shape and that’s why he’s played in every game (of the SAFF championships). When someone who can score better and who is in better physical shape (arrives), only then can he be replaced, otherwise you cannot replace him and he continues to play until he is with the team .

Chhetri has scored five of India’s eight goals to become the top player and top scorer in the Maldives regional tournament.

He was named MVP for the third time in as many appearances in the tournament, with the first cases occurring in 2011 and 2015.

He was the top scorer of the 2011 edition in New Delhi with seven goals while finishing second with three goals in the 2015 tournament in Thiruvananthapuram. India has won all three editions Chhetri has played.

De Bruyne wants to create new and better memories in Champs League

Kevin De Bruyne really wants to make a second Champions League final because he barely remembers his first.

The Manchester City midfielder fractured his nose and eye socket in the 1-0 defeat to Chelsea in Porto in May after colliding with Antonio Rudiger. Looking dazed and confused, De Bruyne needed help off the pitch in the 60th minute and was rushed to hospital.

De Bruyne said on Monday he couldn’t remember anything from when the collision happened until he returned to the team’s hotel the next day, still in pain.

“It was around 10 am and I still had my City kit,” De Bruyne said before returning to his native Belgium for the Group A game between City and Club Brugge on Tuesday. “This is what I remember.”

It was a disappointing way to score the biggest club game of his career and De Bruyne suffered further pain in the European Championship the following month after missing Belgium’s first group game as he recovered. of his injuries.

In a win over Portugal in the round of 16, De Bruyne had to be replaced with an ankle injury after a tackle from behind because, as he said on Monday, “my ligament broke”.

He was clearly uncomfortable with Belgium’s loss to Italy in the quarter-finals and, 3 months later, has just recovered to great shape.

Scoring goals in his last two Premier League games, against Liverpool before the international break and Burnley on Saturday, is a sign that he is returning to the kind of form that has seen him elected by his peers as England’s soccer player from last year two seasons.

“Every game is better than the game before,” said city manager Pep Guardiola. “Outside of goals and assists, it’s the dynamics, the pace, the pace that you only get when you play regularly.

“He’s a guy, Kevin, who has to be in good shape to be the best. His potential is his movement, how he attacks space, how he moves.

City have yet to win the Champions League despite heavy spending at their Abu Dhabi property since 2008, but have become regulars in the later stages of the competition, reaching the quarter-finals for three consecutive seasons before advancing to the final for the first time.

De Bruyne, who has won the Premier League three times with City and nine major trophies in total, doesn’t think winning the Champions League will define his legacy at the club he joined in 2015 from German side Wolfsburg.

“I think people will always set the standard higher and higher, and because of what we’ve been doing in England over the past five to six years, people expect us to win the Champions League and that’s what we want to do, “he said. .

“It doesn’t say we’re going to win it, but we’re still going to fight for it. We are trying and hopefully during my time here we get one.

City are third in the group, one point behind their opponents, after a 2-0 loss to Paris Saint-Germain in the second round.

Neymar excluded from clash between PSG and Leipzig in the Champions League

Brazil striker Neymar will miss Paris St Germain’s Champions League group game against RB Leipzig after suffering an injury in international service, manager Mauricio Pochettino said on Monday.

The 29-year-old was among a number of players not involved in PSG’s 2-1 Ligue 1 win over Angers on Friday due to their involvement in the World Cup qualifiers.

“The priority is always the well-being of the player,” Pochettino said at a press conference. “Neymar has a little problem which we hope will only last a few days and he will be back in the squad as soon as possible.”

“Neymar Jr has had some groin pain since returning from international duty and will undergo more treatment over the next few days before resuming full training,” PSG added in a statement.

Midfielder Leandro Paredes and defender Sergio Ramos are also excluded from Tuesday’s game due to injury, the statement said.

PSG currently lead Group A with four points in two games, while Leipzig are at the bottom and have yet to collect a point.

Bundesliga: Haaland returns, scores 2 for Dortmund to take the lead

Erling Haaland scored twice on his return for Borussia Dortmund to beat Mainz 3-1 and climb to the top of the Bundesliga on Saturday.

Haaland imposed a center penalty in the 54th minute and sealed the result in added time to allow Dortmund to pass Bayern Munich and Bayer Leverkusen by two points ahead of their eighth round game on Sunday.

Haaland has missed Dortmund’s previous three games with what the club have called muscle problems. The team struggled in their absence with a loss to Borussia Mönchengladbach followed by narrow wins against Sporting Lisbon and Augsburg.

But it was captain Marco Reus who opened the scoring on Saturday, landing a brilliant shot with his left boot in the upper right corner in the third minute.

Dortmund continued to dominate the game with almost 80% possession in the first half.

Thomas Meunier shot from close range after Haaland managed to hold the ball well, and the Norwegian was involved again before the break when he made a good save from Mainz goalkeeper Robin Zentner. Haaland followed and returned the ball to the goal, where Jude Bellingham’s effort was repelled by Moussa Niakhate.

Haaland used force to score Dortmund’s second goal after Silvan Widmer was penalized by VAR for a hand ball after the ball hit his elbow. Mainz coach Bo Svensson was cautioned for sarcastically applauding the decision to award the free kick. Zentner got his hands on Haaland’s center shot but couldn’t stop the shot.

Jonathan Burkardt’s 87th-minute goal prompted a late surge from the visitors, but Bellingham won the ball over a defender and crossed for Haaland to seal the result with what was effectively the last game of the game. He has 13 goals in eight games this season.


Both Berlin sides won: Union beat Wolfsburg 2-0 to take their Bundesliga home unbeaten record to 21 games, and Hertha took a surprise 2-1 victory at Eintracht Frankfurt.

Hertha is going through even more upheaval following the abrupt resignation of CEO Carsten Schmidt for family reasons on Tuesday. The former head of SKY TV had been in the post for less than a year.

Hertha had lost every game except wins against the two promoted teams, so her fans braced for more disappointment in Frankfurt.

But a light touch from Marco Richter on Vladimir Darida’s cross sent the ball off the right post in the seventh minute, and Jurgen Ekkelenkamp scored what turned out to be the winner in the 63rd to ease the pressure on the coach. Pal Dardai.

Union is up to fifth after its third consecutive league victory.

Taiwo Awoniyi opened the scoring after half-time after a great play from Genki Haraguchi and Max Kruse. Wolfsburg coach Mark van Bommel sent in Wout Weghorst and Ridle Baku to bolster his side’s offensive threat, and Sheraldo Becker sealed the victory in the 83rd.


Modest Freiburg remain the only undefeated team after keeping Leipzig 1-1 in their first Bundesliga game at their new stadium.

Jeong Woo-yeong canceled Emil Forsberg’s penalty for Leipzig.

Anthony Losilla’s late goal was enough for Bochum to win over Greuther Furth 1-0 in the duel between the promoted.

Gladbach welcomed Stuttgart, affected by the coronavirus at the end of the match.

We can’t count on just one player to score goals, says Stimac

Describing India’s inability to score goals as “an old problem,” head coach Igor Stimac said on Tuesday the team couldn’t depend on one player to find the opposing net, apparently making it reference to the talismanic striker Sunil Chhetri.

India have so far scored two goals in the current SAFF Championships and both have passed through 37-year-old Chhetri, who tied the legendary Pelé with his 77th goal in the game against Nepal.

“I’m pretty happy with our performance in the last three games – the way we played, the number of possessions. We dominated them and our goalkeeper wasn’t too bothered, ”Stimac said at the press conference ahead of India’s final round robin match against the Maldives.

“But there is an old problem that follows us and that is the conversion of chances. We cannot depend on one player and have to be more confident in front of goal, ”he added.

Currently in third place with five points from three matches, India needs nothing less than a win over the Maldives to account for the regional tournament final.

A draw or loss will knock out India and it will be the worst result for the country in recent memory, which could also cast doubt on Stimac’s continued leadership.

Seven-time champion India’s worst performance before this edition was third place in 2003 and the country has won or finished second in 11 previous editions.

“The situation is a little easier for the Maldives as they only need a draw, and therefore it is clear what we need to do in tomorrow’s game,” said the Croatian.

The head coach said the victory against Nepal had boosted the confidence of his players.

“The best motivation is to win games. It was not easy to have two consecutive draws in the first two games. So it was kind of a relief for all the players to beat Nepal. They needed trust.

“Actually, they deserved to win all three games, but in football you can’t win unless you score goals.”

Speaking of the opposition team, he said: “The Maldives are a much improved team. They are more compact than before. They put more emphasis on football based on passing and possession. They create chances and their moves are great right off the bat. “

“There is a reasonable understanding between (star striker) Ali Ashfaq and the others. They know how to move when Ashfaq has the ball, and he knows where they are running without even looking at them.

“But how they play is also up to us, how much we let them play. If my midfielders and defenders do what I expect of them, the Maldives shouldn’t be able to play much.

Stimac said Wednesday’s game will see two great veterans on the pitch – Ashfaq for Maldives and Chhetri for India.

“It’s a joy to see them play, and if they played for the same team it would have been a great combination for any coach.”

Italy vs Spain, nations Cup
Italy’s record ended in a 2-1 Nations League loss to Spain

Spain ended Italy’s 37-game unbeaten streak by beating the European champion 2-1 in the Nations League semi-final after Roberto Mancini’s side were reduced to 10 men.

Ferran Torres scored two first-half goals for Spain, the second after Leonardo Bonucci was sent off for a second yellow card three minutes before the break.

“We’ve been playing well for a while now. We are a young team playing well and I think this victory is another step, ”said Torres, who came out four minutes into the start of the second half after receiving a blow but said he would be fit to play Sunday’s final against the world champion, France or Belgium at the top of the standings. “Victory over Italy in Italy. Now let’s start thinking about the final.

UEFA Nations League – Semi-final: Italians Giovanni Di Lorenzo and Marco Verratti in action with Spaniards Gavi and Pablo Sarabia. (REUTERS / Marco Bertorello)

Lorenzo Pellegrini pulled one out for Italy late as the Azzurri threatened an unlikely comeback. In the end, Mancini’s side suffered their first defeat in more than three years, since being beaten by Portugal in September 2018. Their unbeaten streak was a world record in international football.

“That (defeat) would have happened eventually. And better tonight than the Euro final or a World Cup final, ”said Mancini.

“But this game will give us more strength despite the loss and help us realize that we really are a great team.”
In Milan, Italy were on the hunt for more silverware while Spain sought revenge after losing to the Azzurri on penalties in the Euro 2020 semi-finals.

Barcelona teenager Gavi Paez has started, making the 17-year-old the youngest player to make his Spain debut. Gavi, who only made his first-team debut for Barcelona a month ago, broke the national record set by Angel Zubieta in 1936.

The match in front of a heated, sold-out crowd of 37,000 at the San Siro was played at a high pace from the start, with chances at both ends.

Federico Chiesa was the first to test the goalkeeper as Spaniard Unai Simon saved his distance effort in the fifth minute and then turned down Italy center-back Alessandro Bastoni moments later.

Bastoni then made a decisive block at the other end in the 13th to beat Mikel Oyarzabal following an attack on the left wing.

Spain had probed that left flank and he provided the opening in the 17th minute as Oyarzabal’s cross from the left was volleyed in the lower right corner by Torres.

Spain almost immediately doubled their lead when Gianluigi Donnarumma missed Marcos Alonso’s shot, and the ball came out of his hands and the left post before Bonucci managed to clear the rebound down the line.

It was a rare mistake by the Italian goalkeeper, who was voted player of the tournament at Euro 2020.
But his every move was loudly booed by the majority of Italian supporters in San Siro, which is also the homeland of

AC Milan- club Donnarumma left in the offseason on a free transfer to Paris Saint-Germain.

“We were disappointed because Italy was playing, it was not a club game,” Mancini said. “It could have been put aside for once and made fun if Milan faced PSG. Italy is Italy and it comes first.

Italy had a chance to tie the game and their best opportunity came 10 minutes into the half as Federico Bernardeschi’s opening shot was returned to the post by Simon before an unmarked Lorenzo Insigne turned away Emerson’s center of an excellent position.

Italy’s chances then took a hit just before the break as Bonucci received a second yellow card for jumping with his elbow up on Sergio Busquets. The Italian captain had received a first warning at the half hour, for dissent.

Spain immediately made the extra man count by doubling their lead at the stroke of half-time, with a goal very similar to their first game. This time, Torres led Oyarzabal’s cross from the left-back through the goal and into the lower left corner.

Despite being a downed man, Italy continued to press and Chiesa hit the right post after a good run from the Juventus striker. The offside flag was raised, but it would have been a close decision.

Oyarzabal almost scored the scoresheet himself in the 63rd, but he managed a Yeremy Pino cross to the side of the post.
Donnarumma also saved a low shot from Alonso before Italy fell back with seven minutes to go. Chiesa sprinted from inside his half to the penalty area, pulled Simon in, then selflessly rolled for Pellegrini to dip into an empty net.

Without Neymar, Brazil tests its options against Venezuela

Not having star playmaker Neymar or midfielder Casemiro available for selection will allow Brazil manager Tite to experiment with his training in Thursday’s World Cup qualifiers in Venezuela.

Neymar is serving a suspension after receiving two yellow cards in Brazil’s game against Peru last month and Casemiro has a dental infection.

The Selecao starts will be Alisson, Danilo, Marquinhos, Thiago Silva, Guilheme Arana, Fabinho, Gerson, Everton Ribeiro, Lucas Paquete, Gabriel Jesus and Gabriel Barbosa.

A victory in Caracas will give Brazil 27 points from nine matches. The Brazil coach rarely publicly confirms his starting XI before matches, but he made an exception on Tuesday.

The selection suggests that Brazil’s lead in South American qualifiers makes Tite comfortable enough to try new players and lineups.

“Our campaign allows us to open up opportunities. It was not possible in the campaign for the 2018 World Cup, “Tite said at a press conference.

“We are trying to grow and have players with different characteristics. Gerson, for example, is different from Fred. It all depends on how you fit together.

Fred had a strong defensive partnership with Casemiro, but the team lacked flair and slipped between the lines of these two. Gerson, who is more of a box-to-box player, is expected to be tested in Brazil’s next three matches against Venezuela, Colombia and Uruguay.

“What matters is balance,” Tite said, adding that he wanted to test players capable of more than one function.

“With Arana on the left, for example, we will have two options; either it will be wide or it will build. If we want a fifth player up front, he gives us that option.

Arana’s recent predecessors haven’t inspired Brazilian fans. Renan Lodi made a crucial mistake in the goal that gave Argentina the Copa America title in July and Alex Sandro has been criticized for his lack of offensive DNA, a key characteristic for Seleçao fans.

Much of the focus will be on how Brazil performs without Neymar.

Tite used Paris Saint-Germain striker and Gabriel Jesus up front, with Paquete often playing as a winger who frequently changes positions with the two. Against Venezuela, the coach will start with Gabriel Barbosa, who has mostly played as a target man for his club, Flamengo.

This could mean more freedom for right-back Danilo and in particular left-back Arana, 24. It could also mean Paquete and Everton midfielder Ribeiro will move to the front more frequently in support.

Cesar Sampaio, one of Tite’s assistants, said another long-awaited trial will be held against Venezuela.

“We couldn’t use Fabinho in the (last) Copa America. And this is a position for which we have two great references, ”said Sampaio.

“(Casemiro and Fabinho) are world class players for their performances and for the clubs they play for. This time, Casemiro is not available.

Venezuela only scored four points in World Cup qualifying and will miss several players due to injuries and requests from their clubs not to travel to South America due to COVID-protocols. 19.

Dortmund sweat over Erling Haaland’s fitness during Bundesliga break

Borussia Dortmund are set to spend the international break worrying about Erling Haaland’s fitness after the club indicated that the Norwegian striker’s injury could extend into the second half of October.

Haaland has not played since September 19 with an unspecified muscle problem and will be absent from Norway’s upcoming World Cup qualifiers against Turkey and Montenegro.

Haaland wished the team the best of luck on Twitter on Monday ahead of the critical games for their ambition to play in Norway’s first major tournament since 2000.

“Basically all clubs have a duty to release (players)” for international assignments, said Sebastian Kehl, the administrative director of the Dortmund team, in comments published on Monday by the Westdeutschen Allgemeinen Zeitung.

“However, Erling is currently injured and hasn’t been able to play for us recently and can’t take part in the team’s training in the following weeks either.”

Kehl said he expected the Norwegian federation to “trust us and (Haaland)” about the injury.

Dortmund return to action on October 16 against Mainz and “hopefully” Haaland will be fit enough to play, sporting director Michael Zorc told the newspaper.

This game could see the return of forward Gio Reyna, who is absent from upcoming games for the United States, and midfielder Mahmoud Dahoud. If Haaland’s expected return date goes back, it could affect Dortmund’s Champions League game against Ajax on October 19.

Few players transform their teams as completely as 21-year-old Haaland. He has 11 goals and five assists in seven games so far this season, and indirectly contributes more goals by pulling defenders out of position and creating space for his teammates.

With Haaland in the squad this season, Dortmund are averaging almost three goals per game. In the three games he has missed so far due to injury, Dortmund have averaged one goal. Fans must have been content to see him sitting in the stands or all dressed in black accepting a UEFA prize on the pitch.

Dortmund have been here before. A muscle tear caused Haaland to miss seven games in December last year, coinciding with a 5-1 loss to Stuttgart which led to Lucien Favre’s dismissal as manager.

If Dortmund can’t overwhelm teams on offense, it puts more pressure on an error-prone defense. In the past two weeks, has Dortmund managed without Haaland? just about. A 1-0 loss to rivals Borussia Münchengladbach was bitter due to the lack of chances created, especially for Dortmund coach Marco Rose against his former club.

To follow up with a 1-0 win over Sporting Lisbon and a 2-1 win over Augsburg was better, although neither side really challenged Dortmund’s back line.

Other players could also take a break. Center-back Mats Hummels was not called up for Germany and said on Instagram on Sunday that “I now have some time to continue improving my health and fitness”.

There is also the looming question of Haaland’s future. His vast talent and young age make Haaland a great long-term bet for any club that can afford his transfer fee and possibly astronomical salary. Very few clubs have that kind of money, especially during the coronavirus pandemic.

Haaland’s father and his agent publicly explored links with some of Spain and England’s biggest clubs in April, but little has come of it since.

Dortmund were in danger of not qualifying for the Champions League at that point, but ultimately did, keeping Haaland in the biggest showcase of world football.

The sale of Jadon Sancho to Manchester United provided Dortmund with the income they needed to keep Haaland around for another season. However, its future remains far from certain.

SAFF Championship: India held 1-1 by Bangladesh 10 in opening match

India allowed a 10-man Bangladesh to come back and score a shock goal after talismanic captain Sunil Chhetri’s 76th international goal to play a 1-1 draw in their first SAFF Championship game here on Monday.

Chhetri, 37, making his 121st game for India, struck in the 27th minute to be just one goal behind legendary Brazilian Pelé (77 goals in 92 matches).

He now occupies fourth place in the ranking of top scorers among active footballers, behind Cristiano Ronaldo (111), Lionel Messi (79) and Iraqi Ali Mabkhout (77).

India were the better team in the first half and although they often lost the ball they looked like they were cruising. They also had a power play from the 54th minute after Bangladeshi player Biswanath Ghosh was sent off for fouling Liston Colaco.

But Igor Stimac’s men failed to stop the rapid Bangladeshi counter-attackers in their tracks and conceded a goal in the 74th minute to share the points, much to the dismay of the Indian camp.

Bangladesh have always been a tough opponent for India who needed a late equalizer to draw in the 2022 World Cup qualifying first leg in Calcutta before winning 2-0 in the second leg .

India were in attack mode from the start, but a swift Bangladesh counterattack almost caught them napping and center-back Chinglensana Singh made a crucial clearance after Ibrahim whipped a low cross from the left for Motin Mia.

Bangladesh also secured a few corners, but India gained the upper hand after that with Udanta Singh, who came back after missing two friendlies with Nepal, managing to outsmart his marker and providing flank crosses.

Manvir Singh had a weak header on such a cross in the 24th minute, but Chhetri was not the one who missed the other three minutes later. Pritam Kotal freed Udanta on the right flank who cut the ball close to the signing and a perfectly placed Chhetri smashed him into the roof of the net.

Liston Colaco, who had an impressive outing, attempted Bangladesh’s goal in the 36th minute to no avail. Three minutes later, Chhetri landed another powerful left-footed strike, but goalkeeper Anisur Rahman made a diving save.

India survived a scare in the 40th minute, this time also due to a swift Bangladeshi counterattack. But goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu made a diving save on Biplo Ahmed’s shot to keep India’s lead intact.

Stimac replaced Anirudh Thapa by bringing Brandon Fernandes into the middle of the park on the restart and India also got a power play after Biswanath Ghosh was sent off in the 54th minute for knocking down Colaco with only the goalkeeper in front.

Three minutes before that, however, Bangladesh had a chance to equalize but Rakib Hossain shot wide after being left free in the Indian box.

Bangladesh goalkeeper Rahman made a double save in the 61st minute blocking shots from Manvir and Udanta.

Stimac replaced Colaco with Lalengmawia and Udanta with Rahim Ali just after the hour mark. But the Bangladeshis, playing under a new coach after the 2022 World Cup qualifiers, withdrew one in the 74th minute despite a shorthandedness .

Yasser Arafat sent a diving header from a corner into the Indian goal.

India face Sri Lanka on Thursday in their second round robin match.

SAFF Championship: India faces Bangladesh in opening match on Monday

India switched to competitive mode as the seven-time winners face Bangladesh in the SAFF Championship at the Malé National Football Stadium in the Maldives on Monday.

National football team coach Igor Stimac said after the team’s training session that “the first game is always the toughest game” and added of Bangladesh’s opponents: “Bangladesh is a known opponent, but we respect them very much. In fact, we respect every team that plays here, and they have an equal chance of winning the tournament ”.

“The message from our coaching staff and our national head coach is very clear,” Sunil Chhetri told during the press conference on the eve of the match.

“It’s more and more about the way we play. We have to make sure that we minimize our mistakes, and we have to make sure that in every game, no matter what, we give 100%. We cannot be complacent, ”Sunil said.

It rained and according to the local MET office, the rain will not last for a whole day unlike the monsoon. “We never take the rain seriously at this time of year, unless there is a warning from the MET office. If it’s raining, take shelter, check your cell phone for 10 minutes. Then the rain will subside, ”said Ibrahim, former footballer and local coordinator of the Indian team.

Stimac has made no secret that he will make the most of ATK players Mohun Bagan and Bengaluru FC who played in the Maldives earlier in the AFC Cup. “We are counting on the players from Bengaluru FC and ATKMB because not only did they play here a few weeks ago, but they started working with their respective clubs. And they had enough training sessions and games. . Their engines are therefore good for such a tournament, “the national coach told” We have to be careful how many minutes we give each player corresponding to what they can do at the moment. with regard to endurance capabilities. “

Goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, who was part of the triumphant squad in 2015, added: “The teams have improved dramatically since the last time we played them. The teams have become more organized and they know how to play according to the weaknesses of the other team. You can no longer take any team lightly.

Sunil, a 16-year veteran of international football, has stressed that he does not want to lose any game for the country. “When you’re young you play for a lot of things. As we age, many of them decrease. I have played over 100 matches for India, I don’t have 100 yet and I want to make the most of whatever matches I have left. I want to win a match if I play for my country. The two games against Bangladesh were extremely difficult. I don’t want to lose any game for my country, ”he said.

Stimac also made mention of Udanta Singh, who got a “deserving call” in the national team. “Udanta is one of the 23 players we have here. He deserved that call with his last game playing for Bengaluru in the AFC Cup. Udanta was not playing in his natural position for the past two years, ”explained Stimac. “We need him to come back to his best – direct attack with his speed, execution and preparation for chances.”

Kick-off tomorrow (Monday, October 4) is at 4:30 p.m. IST.

India matches to be broadcast live on Eurosport

India’s matches in the SAFF Championship will be broadcast live on Eurosport. India play their first game against Bangladesh on October 4, followed by games against Sri Lanka on October 7, Nepal on October 10 and Maldives on October 13.

The AIFF thanks Eurosport for participating in the broadcast of India’s matches in the SAFF Championship and, having full confidence in Eurosport’s technical expertise, the Federation looks forward to their offering a viewing experience in direct transparent to all fans.

Depending on the format, five teams will compete in a round robin format, with the top two qualifying for the final which is scheduled for October 16.

Here are India’s matches in the group stage:

October 4: Bangladesh vs India (IST 4:30 p.m.).

October 7: India vs Sri Lanka (IST 4:30 p.m.).

October 10: Nepal vs India (IST 9:30 p.m.).

October 13: India vs Maldives (IST 9:30 p.m.).