India vs UAE: Igor Stimac keen to see how rookie Indians handle a top-100 team - Watch live

India’s Croatian coach wants Indian players to understand what it takes to play a quality international team. It will be a learning exercise vs UAE he says. Watch live on Monday!

By Naveen Peter

The Indian football team will take on the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in an international friendly on Monday. The match, to be held at the Zabeel Stadium in Dubai, will be the second for India following their 1-1 draw against Oman on Thursday.

Ranked 74th in the world, the Emiratis are a force to be reckoned with at the Asian level. India have often struggled against the UAE, winning just twice in their 14 matches against them.

But despite the odds, Indian head coach Igor Stimac is keen to see how his team, ranked 104 in the world, approaches the upcoming tie.

“Against Oman, we showed that there is nothing to fear about. These are better sides. When you play against teams in the top 100, the difference in 25 to 30 spots in rankings means a lot,” he told the All India Football Federation (AIFF) on the eve of their match.

“There is still a big difference between UAE and us. But that doesn’t mean we can’t achieve the result. The match will be different. I need to give chances to the other players who are here. We have important games coming up in June and we need to assess all the players.”

Liston Colaco (centre) and Lalengmawia (left) could play a prominent role against UAE. Photo: AIFF Media

With the remainder of the 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers lined up in June, the Indian football team is keen on using the friendly matches as an avenue to test the players against quality opposition. The India vs UAE match will be telecast live in India.

Six players made their debut in India’s match against Oman. With a young side at his disposal, Igor Stimac wants to help them get used to the challenges of international football at the earliest.

“There are things we are too comfortable with. When you take too much time on the ball, the opponents will hurt you. We need to change that mindset. There is no time and space in international football, you have to adapt and play quickly,” the Croatian explained.

“We are looking to play these stronger teams so that we can advance our game. It's not always easy to find better opponents, because everyone is looking to find more out of the friendly matches.

“They will put us under a lot of pressure. But, we need to hold the ball and control our passing. I don’t expect us to control the game against such stronger opponents. They are a side that has been doing it for many years. But, we are here to learn from the experience.”

Where to watch India vs UAE international friendly live in India?

The international friendly between India and UAE will be telecast live on Eurosport and Eurosport HD TV channel in India. The match starts at 8:30 PM IST on Monday.