India's head coach Igor Stimac proclaimed that the heavy defeat against UAE won’t make them give up, as the Blue Tigers prepare for the remainder of their 2022 World Cup Qualifiers. The Blue Tigers will play Qatar (3rd June), Bangladesh (7th June), and Afghanistan (15th June) to end their campaign.
India, without a win in the five matches they played in the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers, need to grab maximum points in their remaining fixtures in June in order to qualify for the 2023 AFC Asian Cup. In the build-up to the matches, Igor Stimac’s men played a couple of friendly matches against Oman and Dubai respectively.
While the Blue Tigers managed to hold Oman to a 1-1 draw, they crashed to a 0-6 defeat against UAE which was their worst result since 2010. In spite of the criticisms flying in from all corners, the Croat manager asserted that the heavy defeat against UAE won’t let them give up in the current scenario.
"If you want to compare the recent friendly matches, then you need to take a closer look at teams India has played against before, and with whom since I have been in charge. One heavy defeat will certainly not make us give up and return to the pleasure of defeating opponents who do not pose any obstacle in Asian football,” said Igor Stimac, as reported by AIFF.
In spite of their hiccups during the 2022 World Cup Qualifiers, India have a great chance of making it to the 2023 AFC Asian, with them needing to overcome the likes of Bangladesh and Afghanistan out of their three pending matches. Stimac pointed out how the ongoing campaign was better than their previous one and admitted that they are on course for qualification to the continental event in China.
"In the previous 2018 WCQ, India finished last in the group with seven defeats, one victory, with a total of three points and GD of -13 (minus 13). The Blue Tigers had suffered five losses in the first five games,” recalled the manager.
"Now, after five games played, with many new players in the team, we have three points and a very solid goal difference, and are on course to qualify for the AFC Asian Cup China 2023."