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Indian men's football team in 2023: A roller coaster journey

The Indian men's football team had a remarkable 2023, securing victories in the Intercontinental Cup and SAFF Championship, but faced challenges in the latter part of the year.

Indian mens football team in 2023: A roller coaster journey

Indian football team after winning the SAFF Championships 2023. (Source: AIFF)


Aswathy Santhosh

Updated: 1 Jan 2024 5:54 AM GMT

The Indian men's football team showcased a mixed bag of performances in 2023, participating in various tournaments and experiencing highs and lows on the field. The team played a total of 16 matches, securing 8 victories and claiming two prestigious trophies—the Intercontinental Cup and the SAFF Championship.

The year kicked off with a triumph against Myanmar in the Tri-Nation friendlies opener. Anirudh Thapa's first-half injury-time goal set the tone for India's successful run, defeating Kyrgyz Republic and clinching the Tri-National International Tournament Trophy with notable contributions from Sandesh Jhingan and Sunil Chhetri.

India win Tri-Nation series

The Intercontinental Cup held at Kalinga Stadium, Bhubaneswar, witnessed India's dominance. Sahal Samad and Lallianzuala Chhangte's goals secured victories against Mongolia and Vanuatu, culminating in a title-clinching win against Lebanon in the final, where Sunil Chhetri and Lallianzuala Chhangte shone.

The SAFF Championship in Bengaluru marked a historic period for the team. India's undefeated run, including victories against Pakistan and Nepal, led to a thrilling penalty shootout triumph over Kuwait in the final, securing the SAFF Championship 2023 title. The fervent home support added to the memorable moments.

Indian football team win Intercontinental cup

However, the latter part of 2023 posed challenges for the Indian team. The Kings Cup campaign saw a heartbreaking penalty shootout loss to Iraq after a 2-2 draw in the semi-final. Subsequently, a 1-0 defeat to Lebanon in the third-place playoff further dampened spirits.

In the Pestabola Merdeka Cup, Malaysia handed India a 4-2 defeat in the semi-final, highlighting the team's struggles. The final challenge came in the second round of World Cup qualifiers, with India securing a victory against Kuwait but succumbing to a 3-0 defeat against Qatar.

Indian football team

As the year concludes, the Indian men's football team finds itself at the 18th position in Asia and 102nd overall in the FIFA rankings. The journey of 2023 reflects the team's resilience, triumphs, and the challenges that come with international football, leaving fans eagerly anticipating the future endeavors of the Blue Tigers.

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