The Indian men’s football team will start its AFC Asian Cup 2023 Qualifiers third round campaign against Cambodia at the iconic Salt Lake Stadium in Kolkata on June 8.
India are in Group D for the final round of the Asian Cup qualifiers with Cambodia, Hong Kong and Afghanistan.
This will be the final chance for India to secure an Asian Cup spot. Sunil Chhetri and Co. had failed to secure a continental berth in the second round of qualifiers after finishing behind reigning Asian champions Qatar and Oman in Group E.
The third round of the qualifiers will see 24 teams vie for 11 remaining spots. The sides have been divided into six groups of four teams each.
Teams in each group will play each other once and the eventual group winner and five best runner-ups will qualify for Asian Cup 2023.
All matches in each group will be hosted at a centralised venue due to COVID-19. The Group D fixtures will be held at the Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan (VYBK), also known as the Salt Lake Stadium, in Kolkata.
Igor Stimac’s India will start as the favourites to progress from Group D. Barring the obvious home turf advantage, India are also the best-ranked team in the group, placed 106th in the latest FIFA Rankings. Hong Kong are 147th, Afghanistan 150th and Cambodia 171st.
India have also named a strong team for the qualifiers with big names like Sunil Chhetri, Sandesh Jhingan and Gurpreet Singh Sandhu all featuring. Youngster Liston Colaco will be in focus for the upcoming matches after a slew of fine performances with ATK Mohun Bagan in the AFC Cup group stage recently.
India have played in four AFC Asian Cups in 1964, 1984, 2011 and 2019. The team’s best performance at the continental event was a runners-up finish on their debut campaign in 1964.
In the other three occasions, the Indian team football failed to progress beyond the group stages. At the last edition in 2019, Sunil Chhetri and Co. heartbreakingly lost out on a knockout phase spot after conceding a late penalty in their final group game against Bahrain.
AFC Asian Cup 2023 Qualifiers third round: India’s Group D schedule
All times are in Indian Standard Time (IST)
June 8, Wednesday
India vs Cambodia - 8:30 PM IST
June 11, Saturday
India vs Afghanistan - 8:30 PM IST
June 14, Tuesday
India vs Hong Kong - 8:30 PM IST
Where to watch India’s AFC Asian Cup 2023 Qualifiers third round matches live in India?
All of India’s AFC Asian Cup 2023 Qualifiers third round matches will be telecast live on the Star Sports 3 TV channel in India. Simulcasts in regional languages can be watched on the Star Sports 1 Hindi, Star Sports 1 HD Hindi, Star Sports 1 Tamil and Star Sports 1 Bangla TV channels.
Live streaming of India’s AFC Asian Cup 2023 Qualifiers matches will be available on the Disney+ Hotstar OTT platform.
AFC Asian Cup 2023 Qualifiers third round: Indian football squad
Goalkeepers: Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, Laxmikanth Kattimani, Amrinder Singh
Defenders: Rahul Bheke, Akash Mishra, Harmanjot Singh Khabra, Roshan Singh, Anwar Ali, Sandesh Jhingan, Subhashish Bose, Pritam Kotal
Midfielders: Jeakson Singh, Anirudh Thapa, Glan Martins, Brandon Fernandes, Deepak Tangri, Udanta Singh, Yasir Mohammad, Sahal Abdul Samad, Suresh Wangjam, Ashique Kuruniyan, Liston Colaco
Forwards: Ishan Pandita, Sunil Chhetri, Manvir Singh