India qualifies for 2023 AFC Asian Cup as Palestine beats Philippines
India will go into their final group game of AFC Asian Cup qualifiers against Hong Kong with a place secured in the 2023 AFC Asian Cup.
The Indian football team has qualified for the 2023 Asian Cup even before they play their final qualifying game tonight against Hong Kong in Kolkata. This development comes after Philippines fell to a 0-4 loss to Palestine in their final group stage encounter earlier today.
Asian Cup Qualification Criteria
24 teams divided into 6 groups are playing the 3rd and final round of the Asian Cup qualification. A total of 6 group winners and 5 best 2nd ranked teams will join the already qualified 13 nations to complete the 24-team lineup of the 2023 Asian Cup.
With the win against Afghanistan, India had most likely secured their qualification as India is placed at 3rd position among 2nd ranked teams and as per the rules, 5 best 2nd ranked teams will qualify.
How Did India Qualify?
Any result today would have given India a qualification but with Palestine beating the Philippines 4-0 in their last game, India has secured their position in the AFC Asian Cup 2023. This will be India's fifth appearance in the top continental tournament of Asia.
India at AFC Asian Cup
India first appeared at the AFC Asian Cup in 1964 when most of the West Asian Countries pulled out due to political reasons. The tournament had 4 teams, one from each zone. Israel was the eventual winner and India finished as the runner-up.
India next appeared at the 1984 Asian Cup after 20 years and was dumped out of Group Stage.
For the next run at the continental stage, India had to wait 27 years before Baichung Bhutia led India to another group stage disaster in 2011.
Another 8-year wait culminated when India qualified for the 2019 Asian Cup. An inspirational Sunil Chhetri led India to their first win at Asian Cup after 55 years in the first encounter against Thailand. India lost the final game in the 89th minute to give a huge heartbreak to fans and crash out.
This will be the first time that India has qualified back to back to the AFC Asian Cup.