India can qualify for knockout stage, says Constantine

06 May 2018, 06:42 | Isaac Mcdaniel

India captain Sunil Chhetri with coach Stephen Constantine

India captain Sunil Chhetri with coach Stephen Constantine

The top two teams of each group and four best third-place sides reach the next round. "This tournament is an opportunity to make sure we prepare in the best way, start off right for the Asian Cup and follow the pattern for the rest of the year".

Group A: United Arab Emirates, Thailand, India, Bahrain. India play Thailand in their opening match on January 5 in Dubai. I'm happy that we have broken inside the top 100 but the way it works is very tricky. We would also have to adjust our own style of play. He said, "India has a huge possibility to progress to the the next round. I want to say all the best to all the kids and make you take this opportunity and whoever ends up going to Russian Federation, you won't be representing any state or place or your parents but the whole country so make sure you're good and have a great time", Chhetri advised.

Old rivals and neighbors Iran and Iraq will renew their rivalry when they play each other in their respective first matches. But do not be mistaken thinking our opponents are going to be Thailand, Bahrain and UAE.

After India were drawn in Group A of the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019, Indian football team national coach Stephen Constantine stated that India can "qualify to the knock-out stage" of the Continental Championship. "We believe we can get out of the group and all our focus is on that first game, it's an important one and where we need to get a result so it lays the platform for us to move on". "Obviously it will not be easy but I think there are possibilities to qualify from this group". I just hope in the next six months we get more away games.

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Meanwhile, defending champions Australia were handed an intriguing draw.

In a pot of powerhouses, the Azkals got the two-time Asian cup champion and 2015 runner-up Korea.

The two met last September in a thrilling World Cup qualification play-off, when Australia triumphed narrowly across two legs to halt Syria's incredible run.

The Asian Football Confederation has introduced a prize fund of $15 million for the tournament, with the champions picking up $5 million and the runners-up earning $3 million.

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