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Looking back at India’s Historic Performance in 1964 AFC Asian Cup

Looking back at India’s Historic Performance in 1964 AFC Asian Cup

Reflecting on the Indian Football Team's historic performance in the 1964 AFC Asian Cup as they prepare for the upcoming continental tournament this year.

India is gearing up for its fifth appearance in the AFC Asian Cup in Qatar in January 2024. Despite being a regular participant, the Blue Tigers have had a challenging history in Asia’s premier competition, particularly in recent editions.

In the last three editions, India faced early exits, getting eliminated in the group stages. The closest they came to advancing was in the 2019 edition, where their hopes were dashed by a heartbreaking last-minute loss to Bahrain in the final group game.

Historic Performance in 1964 AFC Asian Cup

India’s best performance in the AFC Asian Cup dates back to the 1964 edition held in Israel. This was India’s debut in the competition, and they were part of a select group of four teams after several nations withdrew during the qualification round.

Despite the limited number of teams, India faced formidable opponents in the group stage – two-time reigning champions South Korea, hosts Israel, and Hong Kong. The format included a single round-robin, and the team with the highest points would emerge as the winner.

Memorable Matches

Historic Win Over South Korea

In a stunning upset, India defeated two-time champions South Korea with a remarkable 2-0 victory. Kosuru Appalaraju opened the scoring in the second minute, and India’s solid defence frustrated the Korean side throughout the match. Inder Singh added another goal before the hour-mark, showcasing India’s defensive prowess and fearlessness.

Loss to Israel and Redemption Against Hong Kong

Facing hosts Israel in the second game proved challenging for India, leading to a 2-0 loss. However, the Blue Tigers redeemed themselves in their final match against Hong Kong. After a first-half struggle and being down 1-0, India staged a comeback in the second half. Inder Singh equalized, Sukumar Samajpati put them ahead, and captain Chuni Goswami sealed a 3-1 victory.

Legacy of the 1964 Triumph

India’s victory over South Korea and the subsequent triumph against Hong Kong showcased their ability to compete at the highest level in Asia. While India’s AFC Asian Cup history has been challenging in recent times, the historic performance in 1964 remains a cherished moment, highlighting the potential of Indian football on the continental stage.

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