Indian National Football Team has been drawn alongside Asian heavyweights Australia, (South)Korea Republic and Bahrain in Group C which turns out to be the group of death in the AFC Asian Cup Qatar 2011.
Australia and South Korea has successfully made it into the FIFA World Cup at South Africa, while Bahrain missed out to New Zeland in the play offs. It could not have been tougher for India in the Asian show piece tournament.
India will open their campaign on January 10, 2011 against Australia at the Al-Sadd Stadium, Qatar. The Aussies will probably line up big names like the Fulham FC custodian Mark Schwarzer, Tim Cahill of Everton, Lucas Neil of Galatasaray and the former Liverpool striker Harry Kewell to face Team India in the group stages.
In the next encounter on January 14, Bhaichung Bhutia’s boys will face Bahrain who had an excellent run in the qualification rounds of the World Cup 2010. In the third round of the 2010 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers, Bharain finished second in a group which had Japan, Thailand and Oman and qualified for the play off against Saudi Arabia. They overcame KSA in the two legs and were able to set up a winner-takes-it-all fixture against New Zealand. New Zealand won the match and took their ticket to South Africa.
In the final group match, the World Cup 2002 semi finalists South Korea awaits India with another star studded team list. Their team comprises of Manchester United starlet Park Ji-Sung, Bolton Wanderer’s Lee Chung-Yong and Glasgow Celtic midfield maestro Ki Sung-Yong.
The Quarter Finals of the tournament are to be played on 21st and 22nd January. The Semi Finals will be held on January 25, 2011 and the finale on January 29.
|Group A||Group B||Group C||Group D|
|QATAR||SAUDI ARABIA||KOREA REPUBLIC||IRAQ|
Footballkerala.com wishes the Indian National Football team all the best wishes for the Asian Cup 2011…