December 29, 2018 / 9:03 AM / 18 days ago

FACTBOX-Soccer-India at the Asian Cup

    Dec 29 (Reuters) - Factbox on the India team ahead of the
Asian Cup, which takes place in the United Arab Emirates from
Jan. 5 to Feb. 1:
    
    FIFA world ranking: 97
    Ranking in Asia: 15
    Previous Asian Cups: 3
    Best performance: Runners-up (1964)
    2015: Did not qualify
    
    Nickname: Blue Tigers
    Coach: Stephen Constantine
    Regular captain: Sunil Chhetri
    Player to watch: Udanta Singh
        
    Recent form: 
    Sept 9     India 2-0 Maldives        Dhaka
    Sept 12     India 3-1 Pakistan        Dhaka
    Sept 15     Maldives 2-1 India        Dhaka
    Oct 13     China 0-0 India        Suzhou
    Nov 17     Jordan 2-1 India        Amman 
         
    Fixtures: 
    Group A 
    Jan 6     Thailand v India     Abu Dhabi 
    Jan 10    India v UAE          Abu Dhabi   
    Jan 14    India v Bahrain      Sharjah 
    
    India are hoping to use their Asian Cup participation as a
building block to realise their 2026 World Cup qualification
dream but doubts linger over their preparation as they return to
next month's continental showpiece in the UAE.
    Cricket-loving India has a population of 1.3 billion but it
is a massive underachiever as far as football is concerned. 
    India's fourth participation in the Asian Cup should be
looked as a precursor to their goal of achieving a berth in the
World Cup for the first time by 2026, according to All India
Football Federation President Praful Patel.             

 (Compiled by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru; editing by Sudipto
Ganguly)
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