India’s AFC Asian Cup 2023 Disappointment: Covering the Mistakes Made by the Indian Football Team

India's AFC Asian Cup 2023
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India’s AFC Asian Cup 2023 Disappointment

The 2023 AFC Asian Cup will be remembered for its ambiance, facilities, and excitement, but for Indian football enthusiasts, it marks a chapter of despair. The Blue Tigers endured their worst-ever campaign at the continental championship, failing to score a single goal or secure a point in their three group stage matches. Let’s dissect the key talking points from India’s challenging journey at Asia’s premier football tournament.

Team Selection Chaos

Under the helm of Igor Stimac, the Blue Tigers lacked consistency in their starting XI. The coach shuffled the lineup in every game, causing more confusion than stability. Despite a stellar performance against Australia, Deepak Tangri found himself on the bench in the match against Uzbekistan, a team equally physical and swift. Rahul KP’s commendable displays deserved more opportunities, especially on the right wing, where he could have added an extra dimension to the team’s attack. The absence of Sahal Abdul Samad left a creative void in the middle, and the choice of Brandon Fernandes as his replacement raised eyebrows among the fans.

Lack of Intent

Stimac’s pre-tournament statement, downplaying the importance of the AFC Asian Cup, raised questions about the team’s intent. The coach emphasized the priority being the World Cup Qualifiers but overlooking the significance of Asia’s premier tournament proved detrimental. The lack of preparation time was evident, as India failed to pose a significant threat to opposing defenders. The team’s landing in Doha on December 31st left ample time for preparation, and the subsequent goal drought raises concerns about the squad’s focus and commitment.

 Inability to Read Opposition

India struggled to adapt their game plans to the strengths and weaknesses of their opponents. Notably, the exclusion of Deepak Tangri against Uzbekistan, a physically robust side, backfired. Tangri’s impactful presence against Australia and Syria showcased his defensive talent. However, Stimac opted for a midfield trio of Anirudh Thapa, Suresh Wangjam, and Apuia, who were outmuscled in the middle. The failure to recognize the strengths of the opposition and adjust tactics accordingly contributed to India’s downfall.

 Goal-Scoring Woes

The most glaring statistic from India’s campaign is their inability to find the back of the net. In three matches, the Blue Tigers conceded six goals while failing to register a single score themselves. Igor Stimac, at the helm since 2019, struggled to forge a team capable of scoring in Asia’s most prestigious football tournament.

Overreliance on Sunil Chhetri

The reliance on 39-year-old Sunil Chhetri for goals underscores the team’s shortcomings. Stimac’s plea for more game-time for Indian forwards in the ISL raises questions about the development of attacking talent in the country.

Tactical Confusion

On the pitch, India appeared devoid of a coherent tactical approach. Stimac’s use of players in roles unsuited to their strengths led to a lack of synergy within the team. Manvir Singh’s deployment on the right wing despite lackluster performances raised eyebrows. Sahal’s absence saw Suresh attempting to fill his role, a move conflicting with his natural style of play. Sunil Chhetri’s positioning and the midfield’s failure to supply balls to the forward line further compounded India’s tactical struggles. The decision to include Nikhil Poojary as the sole right-back, despite his apparent misfit, reflected a lack of strategic depth in squad selection.

Final Word:

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In conclusion, India’s AFC Asian Cup 2023 campaign was marred by a series of missteps, from inconsistent team selection to tactical confusion and a glaring inability to score goals. Igor Stimac and the Indian football team now face the daunting task of introspection and strategic recalibration as they prepare for future challenges on the international stage.

Author: Deltin7News
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