The Indian men’s football team will compete in Group A with China, Bangladesh, and Myanmar for the Hangzhou Asian Games, while the women’s team take on Thailand and Chinese Taipei in Group B. In the men’s tournament, there will be six groups, and the top two teams from each group and the four best third-placed teams will advance to the round of 16.
Meanwhile, the women’s competition will see the top team from each group and the three best second-placed teams reach the quarters. It should be noted that India had won gold in the inaugural edition in 1951 and in 1962.
According to reports, the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) was apprehensive about sending the men and women’s teams to the Games due to their low rankings in Asia. However, the All India Football Federation (AIFF) appealed to the Sports Ministry to make a consideration. Subsequently, the teams were given the green light to compete.
The men’s team is expected to include stars like Sunil Chhetri, Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, and Sandesh Jhingan as players above the age of 24 in a group that features Myanmar and Bangladesh. Based on the 2022 Asian Games football event, the date of birth cut-off was January 1, 1999, with three overage players allowed to play.
Currently, the Indian men’s team are 18th among Asian Football Confederation countries, while the women’s team is ranked 11th. Both the men’s and women’s teams have performed exceptionally well in recent tournaments. The men’s team won the SAFF Championship, Intercontinental Cup, and a tri-nation tournament. Meanwhile, the women’s team beat Kyrgyzstan in the Olympic Qualifiers Round 1.
The Asian Games football event will be played from September 19 to October 8. The final, meanwhile, is scheduled for the penultimate day of the Games.