Blue Tigers to face hosts Malaysia in 2023 Merdeka Tournament semis

The Indian men’s football team has been drawn to compete against hosts Malaysia in the semi-finals of the 2023 Merdeka Tournament. The match will be played in Kuala Lumpur from October 13 to October 17, 2023. India’s involvement in the tournament, which also features Lebanon and Palestine, was confirmed in March as part of their preparations for the AFC Asian Cup.

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On October 13, the Blue Tigers will face Malaysia in the semi-finals. If they win, they will play the final on October 17 against the winners of the Lebanon-Palestine match. However, if they lose, India will play in the third/fourth playoff on October 17.

Igor Stimac’s team holds the second-highest rank in the tournament, just below Palestine (96) and slightly ahead of Lebanon (100). The host team have the lowest FIFA ranking in the competition, standing at 136.

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The game will mark India’s 32nd meeting with Malaysia in international matches. Their most recent encounter being a friendly match in Kolkata back in 2011, which saw the Blue Tigers secure a 3-2 victory.

The 2023 Merdeka Tournament will mark India’s return to the competition after a hiatus since 2001 and their 18th overall appearance. India’s best standing in the tournament were as runners-up in 1959 and 1964.

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Merdeka Tournament 2023 draw

Palestine vs Lebanon, October 13

Malaysia vs India, October 13

Third-place play-off, October 17

Final, October 17.

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