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Confident Igor Stimac backs Blue Tigers to ‘make history in most important’ India vs Kuwait game

Confident Igor Stimac backs Blue Tigers to ‘make history in most important’ India vs Kuwait game

The India vs Kuwait game is also set to be Indian Captain Sunil Chhetri's last game in the national colours

The Indian football team is preparing for a crucial showdown against Kuwait in the FIFA World Cup qualifiers, a do-or-die match set for June 6 at the Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan. Coach Igor Stimac has labelled it potentially “the most important match for India in three decades,” underscoring its monumental significance.

Indian Football Team to make history in India vs Kuwait

India first ventured into World Cup qualifiers in 1985 but has never advanced past the first round. Stimac highlighted, “The game against Kuwait is going to be the most important match for India in the last three decades. India never could achieve the third round in the World Cup Qualifiers. Having the very opportunity to be in that position is an achievement by itself” added the coach. Reaching the third round would not only be a historic milestone but also ensure direct qualification for the AFC Asian Cup 2027 in Saudi Arabia. The June 6 match thus holds immense importance.

The qualification process requires India to be among the top two teams in their group in the second round, propelling them into the third round with 18 nations divided into three groups of six. Stimac sees this as another step forward for Indian football. “Reaching there (Round 3) will be another step in Indian football history,” he said. “It will be an amazing thing to have the opportunity to play another 10 games against the best Asian teams and dream big about trying to reach the biggest stage of football.”

Blue Tigers prepared with renewed zest against familiar opponents

India has faced Kuwait three times in the past year, including a memorable victory in a tiebreaker during the SAFF Championship final in Bangalore. This experience boosts Stimac’s confidence. “Each of those matches was very tough and I can clearly state that we controlled all those games in superb ways,” he said. “We dominated for the bigger parts in each one of these games. We were above them physically.”

Confident head coach Igor Stimac backs Indian Football Team to 'make history in most important' India vs Kuwait game

Regarding preparations, Stimac shared insights into the team’s strategy, emphasizing physical conditioning, mental strength, and self-confidence. “We now have the opportunity to train and spend time together for a longer period to bring the intensity level up and achieve the needed level of international football,” he stated. He stressed the need for patience and intelligence in their gameplay, especially if they don’t score early. “We need to understand that in the game, we require patience. If we don’t open the scoring in the first half an hour, we need to be intelligent and play quality football together with pace.” The stakes are high, but the Indian team is determined to make history and secure their place in the next round of the World Cup qualifiers.

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Can the Indian Football Team qualify for the next round?

Following a disappointing showing against Afghanistan in their previous two games, the Indian Football Team is in a vulnerable position, with just two teams progressing to the third round after six games. They began their campaign with a 1-0 success against Kuwait, but a 3-0 setback to Qatar in Bhubaneshwar did not assist their case, and a draw and loss to Afghanistan made India’s task much more difficult.

Although India is now second in the group with four points from as many games, the Sunil Chhetri-led team is just ahead of Afghanistan on goal difference. India must win both of its remaining games and cannot afford to lose another point to move to the next round.

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