The Indian men’s national football team, led by Sunil Chhetri, will go all guns blazing against Saudi Arabia, in the round of 16 match of the 19th Asian Games at the Huanglong Sports Centre Stadium in Hangzhou on Thursday.
Saudi Arabia, the fifth-largest country in Asia and ranked 57 in the FIFA ranking, has always held the upper hand against India, ranked 102, having scored 18 goals in five encounters while India could manage only two.
The last meeting between the two teams in the Asian Games ended in a solitary-goal victory for Saudi Arabia in the 1982 quarterfinals in New Delhi.
In Hangzhou, India played three matches, losing against China (1-5), winning against Bangladesh (1-0), and settling for a draw against Myanmar (1-1).
These four points earned it a spot in the round of 16, setting the stage for the eagerly anticipated showdown tomorrow against Saudi Arabia. Saudi, on the other hand, won two matches and drew with Iran in Group B.
The team’s success, despite facing a few problems, can be attributed to India’s meticulous strategies and dedication to their collective goal. Chhetri emphasised the significance of working together as a cohesive unit, highlighting the importance of unity and solidarity within the team.