Indian players feel that the miserable 0-6 loss against UAE in late march will have no effect on the upcoming 2022 World Cup Qualifiers. The Blue Tigers are slated to play against hosts Qatar (June 3), Bangladesh (June 7) and Afghanistan (June 15) following their ongoing preparatory camp in Doha.
The Indian football team returned to action after 16 months in late March when they played a couple of friendly matches in UAE. While the Blue Tigers held a strong Oman side 1-1 in the first encounter, they were tamed by UAE 0-6 a couple of days later, crashing to their worst defeat in a decade.
The disastrous result was mainly explained by the inexperienced squad fielded by Igor Stimac. But that’s not going to happen in Qatar, where the team has already reached for the remainder of their 2022 World Cup Qualifiers, in June. Indian goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh feels that the result against UAE is not going to affect their performance in the upcoming qualifiers.
"The less we think about it, the better. It's past. But it's significant to remember what happened as it drives us to understand the part we need to work upon. We have three clean slates in front of us. It's up to us as to what we need to write upon them,” said Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, as reported by AIFF.
India is out of contention for a 2022 FIFA World Cup berth, but can still qualify for the 2023 AFC Asian Cup with a couple of wins in the remaining matches. Pritam Kotal, a mainstay in the Indian squad, feels that the perspective of the matches in Dubai and the qualifiers in Qatar are quite different, with India experimenting and tweaking the squad during friendly matches earlier on.
"The perspective of Dubai and Doha are entirely different. In Dubai, we played two different teams in the two matches. That was our return to International Football after almost 16 months. The two matches enabled us to slap all the negatives. June will surely be better,” stated Pritam Kotal.