Indian youth sides remind the world of their talent, beat two of the best young sides on a single day

August 5 was a great day for Indian football. While the senior team was preparing for their upcoming SAFF Cup, the junior teams were making the nation proud elsewhere.

India’s U-16 and U-20 sides were in action on Sunday, August 5. The U-16 team was participating in the West Asian Football Federation Cup, while the U-20 team was competing in the COTIF Cup. Stunningly, both the teams were victors on a remarkable day; with U-16s beating Iraq’s youth team, while the U-20s got the better of Argentina U-20.

Taking a look at the opponents of both the Indian youth sides will reflect on the magnitude of their achievement.

Looking at the Iraq U-16 first. The middle-eastern side is one of the best young teams on the planet. Solidifying their superiority is the fact that they are the current U-16 Asian Champions. Iraq U-16 claimed this title by winning the last AFC U-16 Championship when the beat Iran in the final.

Moving on to the U-20s, India’s opponents on the night were not only one of the best footballing nations around, but the best U-20 team in the history of the FIFA U-20 World Cup!

The Argentinian youth sides have done marvellously over the years, winning six FIFA U-20 World Cups. There has been a slight downfall in the team since their last win when they claimed the cup in 2007.

And so, as the nation slept, the Indian youth sides went out and played two remarkable games on a single day. A day which is bound to go down in the history of Indian football as one of the best.

Moving on to the matches, we take a look at the events that made the two wins possible.

India U-16 beat the current U-16 champions Iraq by a solitary goal. Throughout the game, the Blue Colts dominated proceedings, with slick passes and numerous shots. The Iraq defence held firm, however. India kept on applying the pressure nonetheless and finally had the breakthrough in the 89th minutes, as Bhuvenesh scored the game’s solitary goal.

The U-20s also managed to win against Argentina by a difference of one goal, as the final scoreline read two-one in India’s favour. The young Indians went into the lead early in the first half, as Deepak Tangri headed in off a Ninthoi corner. However, as the second half began, the game looked to have slipped from India’s grasp as Aniket was given his marching orders.

Despite the odds stacked heavily against them, the young Blues doubled their lead in the 68th minute, when Anwar Ali stepped up to smash a freekick into the goal. Argentina U-20 replied almost immediately, with Alan Marinelli getting on the scoresheet. Nevertheless, the young Indian side held firm till the final whistle, ensuring a historic win in the process.

In a single day, the youth sides of Indian football reminded the world of the talent they possess. A message was sent to the authorities as well, to help them realise that if invested in properly, Indian football can reach new heights.


Also read: Indian Football – a success story in its embryonic stage