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Football

AFC Asian Cup: India's head-to-head records vs Australia, Uzbekistan, Syria

Indian team is placed in Group B of the AFC Asian Cup along with Australia, Uzbekistan, and Syria starting from January 12.

AFC Asian Cup: Indias head-to-head records vs Australia, Uzbekistan, Syria
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Sunil Chhetri, Gurpreet Singh Sandhu and Sandesh Jhingan

By

Deepanshu Jain

Updated: 8 Jan 2024 6:15 AM GMT

Indian national football team is gearing up for their second consecutive AFC Asian Cup appearance, starting on January 12 in Qatar. India are placed in Group B alongside Uzbekistan, Australia, and Syria.

India will play Australia in their opening match on January 13 at the Ahmad bin Ali Stadium in Al Rayyan. The other two matches are scheduled on January 18 and 23 against Uzbekistan, and Syria respectively.

The Bridge looks at India's head-to-head record against their opponents.

India v Australia, Head to Head: 3 win, 1 draws, 5 losses

India's first opponent are the Socceroos who had an outstanding outing in the FIFA World Cup held in Qatar in 2022. They made it to the knockout stages. The world no.25 could prove to be a big threat to the Indian team as the head-to-head record suggests. Australia has a superior record against India.

India has played Australia nine times so far but five of those meetings came in the pre-independence era. A five-match series was played in 1938; it proved to be a high-scoring affair with 34 goals being scored in the 5 matches, whereas the Indian team won only once and held Australia to draw on another occasion.

After that, the two teams met only four times. It also includes India's memorable 4-2 win over Australia in the 1956 Melbourne Olympics. Neville D’Souza scored a hat-trick. The same year in a friendly, India registered one of their biggest win ( 7-1) to date. This win proved that India's Olympic victory over Australia was not a fluke.

The last time we played Australia was 13 years ago in the 2011 AFC Asian Cup, where India was making a comeback to the continental event after a break of 27 years. Australia registered a 4-0 victory in the match. Tim Cahill scored a brace. Sunil Chhetri is the only player in the current national team who played that match for India.

India v Uzbekistan, Head to Head: 1 draw, 4 losses

Uzbekistan is one of the most improved Asian countries in recent times. They will also pose a threat to the Indian team, which is yet to win a match against the central Asian country. India lost four matches and drew one in their last five meetings.

The first time these two teams faced each other was in 1998 in an international friendly at the Ambedkar Stadium in Delhi, where they played a goalless draw. In the same year, the two sides played against each other at the Asian Games where India suffered a 0-2 defeat. Igor Shkvyrin who scored the first goal for Uzbekistan in that match, later went to India to play for Mohun Bagan in 1999-2000.

It has been 23 years now since India last played Uzbekistan. It was at the Merdeka Cup 2001 in Malaysia where India lost 1-2 in a group stage match to the eventual winners—one of the greatest strikers of Indian football, I. M. Vijayan, scored the only goal of the Indian team but could not avoid the defeat.

India v Syria, Head to Head: 3 win, 1 draws, 2 losses

India and Syria are the long-term rivals. Their rivalry started in 2007 at the Nehru Cup in New Delhi, India. The two teams have played six times so far and India has come in the top three times including the two finals in the 2007 and 2009 Nehru Cup.

In both editions of the Nehru Cup, India lost their group-stage matches to Syria but avenged the defeats in the final in two back-to-back editions of the tournament.

The final of the 2009 Nehru Cup has been counted as one of the best victories for Indian football.

It was a high-intensity match where the score was 0-0 at the end of the final whistle, but it was the time when the real action began, and in the 114th minute Renedy Singh scored the goal.

When it was thought that the Indian team was on the verge of a win, Ali Diab scored an injury-time goal to take the match into a penalty shootout.

India eventually won the 5-4 in the shootout. The current Indian team captain Sunil Chhetri was also a part of this action-packed match.

These two teams always played each other at a Cup tournament, five times at the Nehru Cup and one match at the Intercontinental Cup. The last time these two sides played each other was at the 2019 Intercontinental Cup where the match ended in a 1-1 draw and defender Narendra Gehlot was the lone scorer for the Indian team.

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