December 29, 2018 / 9:23 AM / 22 days ago

Factbox - India at the Asian Cup

(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. [nL3N1YR01V]

Compiled by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru; editing by Sudipto Ganguly

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