India’s Approach in The AFC Asian Cup


India will take on Thailand in their first game of the AFC Asian Cup 2019 in Abu Dhabi on Sunday. We analyse India’s likely approach in the tournament.

Starting Line-up

India will set up in a 4-4-1-1 formation with Sunil Chhetri playing slightly behind the striker. JEJE is likely to start as striker despite having a very poor season.

Halicharan Nazary and Udanta Singh will start in the wings while Anirudh Thapa and Pronoy Halder will play in the central midfield.

In Defence will be Kerala Blasters duo of Anas and Jhingan with Subashish Bose and Pritam Kotal playing as fullbacks. Gurpreet Sandhu will be the goalkeeper.

Style Of Play

India will be very defensive in their set up and look to play on the counter attack.

India defending in big numbers

Stephen Constantine will have atleast 6 to 7 players along the box who as similar approach he used against China,Jordan and Kyrgyztan earlier.

The Blue Tigers under Stephen Constantine will press individually and not in numbers. When a particular player presses an opposition player the player closer to him will back to defend.

Pronoy Halder and Anirudh Thapa will both be given freedom to do all the dirty work in the midfield win balls and set up counter attacks.

China’s fullback delivering a cross

One problem with India defending is they leave the wings free for the full backs to deliver crosses. This might work against teams like China and Kyrgyzstan who are poor in the final third but against UAE, Thailand and Bahrain who have some clinical strikers this will backfire and eventually lead to goal.

India often prefer to play out long balls from the back to their wingers who are fast or directly to their forward. Considering Indian forwards are usually short this might not work against physically strong Arab opponents.

Sunil Chhetri will often drop back to lead some fast counter attacks something he successfully did against Myanmar and Kyrgyzstan in the qualification round.

India’s concerns

India’s biggest concern heading into the tournament will be the fact that Sandesh Jhingan, Anas, Pritam Kotal, Anirudh Thapa and JEJE all having very poor seasons.

Barring Sunil Chhetri none of the strikers in India’s squad have scored more than 3 goals this season.


India are expected to have a pretty tough task in the Asian Cup but are capable of getting results especially against Thailand and Bahrain. Stephen Constantine against all odds has given India some great results.


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