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Past performances of Indian Football team at the AFC Asian Cup

India has earned qualification for the Asian Cup on five occasions, with their initial appearance dating back to the 1964 Asian Cup and the latest being in the 2019 Asian Cup held in the UAE.

Past performances of Indian Football team at the AFC Asian Cup

1964 Asian Cup 


Deepanshu Jain

Published: 12 Jan 2024 9:10 AM GMT

The Indian National football team is participating in the biggest football competition of the continent, The AFC Asian Cup in Qatar, starting from the 12th of January. The team is placed in Group B alongside Australia, Syria, and Uzbekistan.

This will be the first time that India has qualified for back-to-back editions of the Asian Cup. The team, led by Sunil Chhetri, who is participating in his third Asian Cup, aims to qualify for the knockout stage after the 2019 heartbreak.

The Indian team will kick off their campaign on the 13th of January with a match against Australia. This is the fifth time the Indian team has qualified for this continental showpiece; the first time was in the 1964 Asian Cup, and the last one was in the previous edition of the 2019 Asian Cup in the UAE.

The Bridge is taking a look at the past performances of the Indian team in this second oldest continental football championship:

1964 AFC Asian Cup, Israel

In the third edition of the Asian Cup in 1964 in Israel, the Indian national team, captained by Mohun Bagan and football legend Chuni Goswami, made their debut. Participating in a four-team round-robin tournament alongside South Korea, Hong Kong, and the host Israel, India entered the competition as favorites following their Asian Games triumph in 1962.

Starting with a strong mindset, the team secured a 2-0 victory over South Korea in the opening fixture. K. Appalraju scored in just the second minute, later doubled by the leading scorer of the tournament, Inder Singh, in the second half. However, the team faced a setback in the second match, losing 0-2 to the host Israel in a pressure-filled, full-crowded stadium.

India concluded the tournament with a significant 3-1 victory over Hong Kong in the final group game. Overcoming a one-goal deficit, the team scored three consecutive goals to secure the win. Although India didn't clinch the tournament title, they finished as the runner-up, accumulating 4 points from the three matches.

1984 AFC Asian Cup, Singapore

In the 1984 Asian Cup at Singapore, the Indian team made a comeback after 20 years, having qualified for the 10-team tournament by finishing as the runner-up in Group-3 of the qualifiers against Malaysia, Pakistan, and North Yemen.

1984 Asian Cup

Placed in Group B alongside China, Iran, UAE, and the host Singapore, the Indian team, led by prolific goalscorer Shabbir Ali from Mohammedan FC, faced challenges. The tournament started with a 0-2 loss to the host Singapore. In the second match against the UAE, despite a goalless score at the 75th minute, two late goals after the 80th minute led to a 0-2 defeat for India.

Facing one of the top Asian sides, Iran, in the third match, Indian defenders showcased resilience, securing a goalless draw and earning their first point. However, the final group match against China ended unfavorably, with a 0-3 defeat. The team failed to score a single goal throughout the tournament, finishing at the bottom of the group stage with just one point from four matches.

2011 AFC Asian Cup, Qatar

In 2011, after a 27-year wait, the Indian football team qualified for the Asian Cup in Qatar. Securing their spot by winning the 2008 AFC Challenge Cup, where Sunil Chhetri emerged as the leading scorer with 4 goals, the team, captained by Baichung Bhutia and featuring goalkeeper Subrata Pal, participated in the 16-team tournament.

2011 Asian cup team India

Placed in Group C alongside Australia, Bahrain, and South Korea, India faced a tough start with a 0-4 loss to Australia, despite a stellar goalkeeping performance from Subrata Pal, who couldn't prevent Tim Cahill from scoring a brace.

The second match against Bahrain saw an intense start with goals from both sides in the first 10 minutes. Gouramangi Singh equalized for India, but three quick goals in the first half led to a 2-5 defeat, despite a late goal from Chhetri.

Facing Asian giants South Korea in the last match, India suffered another significant defeat, losing 1-4 despite Sunil Chhetri's goal. The team ended the group stage with zero points, finishing at the bottom of their group in the tournament.

2019 AFC Asian Cup, UAE

In the 2019 Asian Cup in the UAE, the Indian football team, led by captain Sunil Chhetri and featuring players like Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, Sandesh Jhingan, and Jeje Lalpekhlua, participated in the expanded 24-team tournament after topping their qualification third-round Group A with 13 points in 6 matches.

Sunil Chhetri after scoring in 2019 Asian Cup

Placed in Group A alongside Bahrain, Thailand, and the host UAE, India started the tournament impressively with a historic 4-1 victory against Thailand. Sunil Chhetri scored a brace, while Anirudh Thapa and Jeje Lalpekhlua contributed one goal each.

The second match against the host UAE saw India maintaining their attacking momentum but failing to convert chances, resulting in a 0-2 loss.

In the crucial final match, needing just a draw to qualify for the knockout stage for the first time ever, the Indian team executed their plan perfectly, holding on for a 0-0 draw until injury time. However, a heartbreaking moment occurred as Pronay Halder conceded an unnecessary penalty, leading to a converted goal and a loss in the match, ultimately missing the opportunity to advance in the tournament.

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