India national football team

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India
Nickname(s) Blue Tigers[1]
Association All India Football Federation
Confederation AFC (Asia)
Sub-confederation SAFF (South Asia)
Head coach Stephen Constantine
Captain Sandesh Jhingan[2]
Most caps Sunil Chhetri (102)
Top scorer Sunil Chhetri (65)
Home stadium Various
FIFA code IND
First colours
Second colours
FIFA ranking
Current 97 Decrease 1 (20 Sep 2018)[3]
Highest 94[4] (February 1996)
Lowest 173[5] (March 2015)
Elo ranking
Current 159 Increase 2 (13 October 2018)
Highest 30[6] (March 1952)
Lowest 186[6] (September 2015)
First international
Pre-independence:
 Australia 5–3 India India
(Sydney, Australia; 3 September 1938)
Post-independence:
India India 1–2 France 
(London, England; 31 July 1948)
Biggest win
 Australia 1–7 India India
(Sydney, Australia; 12 December 1956)
India India 6–0 Cambodia 
(New Delhi, India; 17 August 2007)
Biggest defeat
India India 1–10 Yugoslavia 
(Helsinki, Finland; 15 July 1952)
Asian Cup
Appearances 3 (first in 1964)
Best result Runners-up, 1964
Olympic Games
Appearances 4 (first in 1948)
Best result Semi-finals, 1956

The India national football team represents India in men's international football competitions and is controlled by the All India Football Federation. Under the global jurisdiction of FIFA and governed in Asia by the AFC, the team is also part of the South Asian Football Federation.[7][8] The team, which was once considered one of the best teams in Asia, had its golden era during the 1950s and early 1960s. During this period, under the coaching of Syed Abdul Rahim, India won gold during the 1951 and 1962 Asian Games, while finishing fourth during the 1956 Summer Olympics.

India has never participated in the FIFA World Cup finals, although the team did qualify by default for the 1950 World Cup after all the other nations in their qualification group withdrew. However, India also withdrew prior to the beginning of the tournament. The team has also appeared three times in the Asia's top football competition, the AFC Asian Cup. Their best result in the competition occurred in 1964 when the team finished as runners-up. India also participate in the SAFF Championship, the top regional football competition in South Asia. They have won the tournament seven times since it began in 1993.

Despite India not achieving the same results as their golden era, the team has seen a steady resurgence since the beginning of the 21st century. Besides the SAFF Championship triumphs, under the guidance of Bob Houghton, India won the restarted Nehru Cup in 2007 and 2009 while also managing to emerge victorious during the 2008 AFC Challenge Cup. The Challenge Cup victory allowed India to once again qualify for the Asian Cup for the first time in 27 years.

History[edit]

Early years[edit]

The first known official international tour of the Indian team which at that time consisted of both Indian and British players was in 1924, when it was led by legendary Indian footballer Gostha Paul.[9] Football teams consisting of entirely Indian players started to tour Australia, Japan, Indonesia, and Thailand during the late 1930s.[10] The first international match India played before independence is yet to be verified, but the very trace of it can be found in the match India played overseas against Ceylon in 1933. It was India's second international tour, where Gostha Paul led his side to victory by 1–0 score.[9][11][12] On 4 July, 1936 India played against visiting Chinese team, which was held at Calcutta. The match was a draw of 1–1.[13] After the success of several Indian football clubs abroad, the All India Football Federation (AIFF) was formed in 1937.

Indian(in white) and all European(in black) team together before 1st July 1938 Calcutta match.

In July 1938, Indian team led by K. Bhattacharya, played a international charity match against a visiting all European team at Calcutta, where the European side won by a solitary goal.[13] In the same year, India made a long official tour on invitation by Australian Football Association, from August to October where they played 12 matches against many states, districts, club teams and 5 friendly matches against the Australian national side too.[14][15][16] The Indian side was managed by Pankaj Gupta and led by K Bhattacharya and the team was considered as an attacking side, consisted of A Rahim, Pram Lal, R Leemsder,Jumma Khan, C Robello, B Sen, Lumsden, Noor Mohammed, A Nandi, K Prosad, who was dubbed as "Mickey the mouse" by the Australian media for his skills and electric speed at the right wing and the goal was kept by K.Dutt.[14][15] After playing some matches against state and district teams, on 3rd September at Sydney, India played the first friendly match against Australia and got defeated by 5–3 and the match is considered as India's first FIFA recognised match.[16] Second match was at Brisbane, where the Indians fought back for a draw of 4–4. In the third match at Newcastle, on 17th September India registered their first win by a margin of 4–1. But the Australians defeated India in the next two matches held at Sydney and Melbourne with a score line of 5–4 and 3–1 respectively. At the Sydney match on 24th September, Indian striker Lumsden scored the first hat-trick for India against the Australian side which includes a penalty kick.[15]

Indian team at 1948 Olympics, T. Ao at the centre of first row, goal scorer S. Raman next to Ao and coach Balaidas Chatterjee to the extreme right.

On their way to 1948 London Olympics, Chinese team again visited India, where they played Mohammedan SC, East Bengal, and Mohun Bagan then finally on 17th July 1948, a friendly match held at Kolkata, where they were defeated by the Indian national side by a score of 1–0.[17] The 1948 London Olympics was India's first major international tournament, where a predominately barefooted Indian team lost 2–1 to France, failing to convert two penalties. The Indian team was greeted and appreciated by the crowd for their sporting manner. "The French had been given a run for their money – and that, too, by the barefooted Indians!", the British media expressed.[10] At a press conference, shortly after, the Indians were asked why they played barefooted. The ever witty then Indian captain Talimeren Ao said, "Well, you see, we play football in India, whereas you play BOOTBALL!" which was applauded by the British. The next day, that comment was splashed in the newspapers of London.[10][18]

Indian team practising at Richmond park, London in barefoot as the weather was dry

The decision of wearing shoes had to make and the Indians finally settled on wearing shoes if the conditions were wet (rainy) and if they had to play on soft grounds and when the conditions were dry,[19] most players opted to play without shoes and instead wore bandages to protect their feet though fine weather, out of 11 players who took the field eight players were bootless and three were in boots.[20] Sarangapani Raman scored the only goal for India in that match and thus the first Indian international goal ever in the Olympics.

While the 1-2 loss to France and first round elimination was a huge disappointment to the team and the public alike, the quality of football that the team displayed had captivated one and all. Indian footballers’ bravery and brilliance in bare feet at the 1948 Olympics earned them no less a fan than Princess Margaret, the younger sister of Queen Elizabeth II.[21][22][23] So much so that King George VI invited the team to Buckingham Palace and there, as the story goes, he lifted up Sailen Manna's trouser leg, telling him it was just to check if the Indian really had legs of steel as would appear from the strength of his shots![20][19][22] But there was football still to be played. Encouraged by the accolades and the positive reception to India's football, the AIFF decided to extend the tour with some friendlies across Europe. Over the next several weeks the team would play some matches that would only enhance its growing reputation.[20][24][19]

In the Netherlands India lost 1-2 against Sparta Rotterdam but stunned Ajax Amsterdam led by legendary Rinus Michels by 5-1, two days later. Back in England and Wales, it put together a string of victories over several teams including Boldmere St. Michaels F.C., which it met on a muddy pitch at Church Road Ground on August 31 1948, a day with heavy rainfall.[20][24][19] The Indian team was forced to wear boots and a lone goal from B.N. Vajravelu handed India a 1−0 win, with this ended the Europe tour of 1948, a great summer for Indian football history.[24]

Golden years (1950s–1960s)[edit]

In 1950, India managed to qualify for the 1950 FIFA World Cup finals, which was scheduled to take place in Brazil.[25] This was not due to any success on the pitch, but due to the fact that all their opponents during the qualifying round, withdrew from the pre-tournament qualifiers.[25] However, India themselves withdrew from the World Cup finals before the tournament was to begin. The All India Football Federation gave various reasons for the team's withdrawal, including travel costs, lack of practice time, and valuing the Olympics above the World Cup.[25]

Despite the reason given out from the AIFF, many football historians and pundits have repeated the tale that India withdrew from the World Cup due to FIFA imposing a rule banning players from playing barefoot.[26][27] However, according to the then captain of India, Sailen Manna, the story of the team not being allowed to play due to wanting to play barefoot was not true.[25] Since then, India has not come close to qualifying for another World Cup.[28]

Despite not participating in the World Cup in 1950, the following years after, from 1951 to 1964, are usually considered to be the "golden era" of Indian football. India, coached by Hyderabad City Police head coach Syed Abdul Rahim, became one of the best teams in Asia.[29] In March 1951, Rahim lead India to their first ever triumph during the 1951 Asian Games. Hosted in India, the team defeated Iran 1–0 in the gold medal match to gain their first trophy.[30] Sahu Mewalal scored the winning goal for India in that match.[30] The next year India went back to the Olympics but were once again defeated in the first round, this time by Yugoslavia and by a score of 10–1.[31] Upon returning to India, the AIFF made it mandatory for footballers to wear boots.[10] After taking the defeat in Finland, India participated in various minor tournaments, such as the Colombo Cup, which they won three times from 1953 to 1955.[32]

In 1954, India returned to the Asian Games as defending champions in Manila. Despite their achievement three years prior, India were unable to go past the group stage as the team finished second in Group C during the tournament, two points behind Indonesia.[33] Two years later, during the 1956 Summer Olympics, India went on to achieve the team's greatest result in a competitive tournament. The team finished in fourth place during the Summer Olympics football tournament, losing the bronze-medal match to Bulgaria 3–0.[34] The tournament is also known for Neville D'Souza's hat-trick against Australia in the quarterfinals. D'Souza's hat-trick was the first hat-trick scored by an Asian in Olympic history and he was the highest goal scorer in that edition of the games along with Todor Veselinović of Yugoslavia and Dimitar Milanov of Bulgaria, 4 goals scored by each.[34]

After their good performance during the Summer Olympics, India participated in the 1958 Asian Games in Tokyo. The team once again finished fourth, losing the bronze-medal match to Indonesia 4–1.[35] The next year the team traveled to Malaysia where they took part in the Merdeka Cup and finished as the tournament runners-up.[36]

India began the 1960s with 1960 AFC Asian Cup qualifiers. Despite the qualifiers for the West Zone being held in Kochi, India finished last in their qualification group and thus failed to qualify for the tournament.[37] Despite the set-back, India went on to win the gold medal during the Asian Games for the second time in 1962. The team defeated South Korea 2–1 to win their second major championship.[38]

To qualify for the 1960 Summer Olympics, India took part in the qualification round where in the first round, they defeated Afghanistan in the 1st leg by 5–2, and withdrew from the 2nd, India proceeded to the second round where they defeated Indonesia in both legs by 4–2 & 2–0, they qualified for 1960 Summer Olympics which is their last till now. At that edition, India again failed to proceed from the first round, where they saw two defeats of 2–1 & 3–1 by Hungary, Peru and a draw against France of 1–1.

Two years later, following their Asian Games triumph, India participated in the 1964 AFC Asian Cup after all the other teams in their qualification group withdrew. This was India's first Asian Cup appearance. Despite their automatic entry into the continental tournament, India managed to finish as the runners-up during the tournament, losing out to the hosts, Israel, by two points. This remains India's best performance in the AFC Asian Cup.[39]

Decline (1970s–2000)[edit]

India returned to the Asian Games in 1966. Despite their performance two years prior during the AFC Asian Cup, India could not go beyond the group stage as the team finished third, behind Japan and Iran.[40] Four years later, during the 1970 Asian Games, India came back and took third place during the tournament. The team defeated Japan 1–0 during the bronze-medal match.[41]

In 1974, India's performance in the Asian Games once again sharply declined as they finished the 1974 edition in last place in their group, losing all three matches, scoring two, and conceding 14 goals in the first round.[42] India then showed steady improvement during the 1978 tournament, finishing second in their group of three. The team were then knocked-out in the next round, finishing last in their group with three defeats from three matches.[43] The 1982 tournament proved to be better for India as the side managed to qualify for the quarter-finals before losing to Saudi Arabia 1–0.[44]

In 1984, India managed to qualify for the AFC Asian Cup for the first time since their second place triumph in 1964. During the 1984 tournament, India finished in last place in their five team group in the first round.[45] India's only non-defeat during the tournament came against Iran, a 0–0 draw.[45]

Despite India's decline from a major football power in Asia, the team still managed to assert its dominance as the top team in South Asia. India managed to win the football competition of the South Asian Games in 1985 and then again won the gold medal in 1987.[46] The team then began the 1990s by winning the inaugural SAFF Championship in 1993.[47] The team ended the 20th century by winning the SAFF Championship again in 1997 and 1999.[47]

Resurgence (2000–2011)[edit]

India's first competitive matches of the 21st century were the 2002 FIFA World Cup first round qualifiers. Despite a very bright start, defeating the United Arab Emirates 1–0, drawing Yemen 1–1, as well as two victories over Brunei, including a 5–0 victory in Bangalore, India finished a point away from qualification for the next round.[48] In 2003, India took part in the 2003 SAFF Championship. The team qualified for the semi-finals but fell to Bangladesh 2–1.[49]

2007 Nehru Cup final, India vs Syria at the Ambedkar Stadium in New Delhi

Later in 2003, India participated in the Afro-Asian Games being held in Hyderabad. Under the coaching of Stephen Constantine, India managed to make it to the final of the tournament after defeating Zimbabwe, a team ranked 85 places above India in the FIFA rankings at the time, 5–3.[50] Despite the major victory, during the gold-medal match India were defeated 1–0 by Uzbekistan U21.[51] Due to this achievement, Constantine was voted as the Asian Football Confederation's Manager of the Month for October 2003. The tournament result also gave India more recognition around the country and around the world.[50]

Sunil Chhetri celebrating after scoring during the 2008 AFC Challenge Cup.
India celebrating after winning the 2008 AFC Challenge Cup.

Constantine was replaced by Syed Nayeemuddin in 2005 but the Indian head coach only lasted for a little over a year as India suffered many heavy defeats during the 2007 AFC Asian Cup qualifiers.[52] During this time India were defeated 6–0 by Japan, 3–0 by Saudi Arabia and Yemen respectively at home, and 7–1 away in Jeddah.[53] Former Malmö and China coach Bob Houghton was brought in as head coach in May 2006.[54]

Under Houghton, India witnessed massive improvement in their football standing. In August 2007, Houghton won the country the restarted Nehru Cup after India defeated Syria 1–0 in the final.[55] Pappachen Pradeep scored the winning goal for India that match. The next year, Houghton lead India during the 2008 AFC Challenge Cup, which was hosted in Hyderabad and Delhi. During the tournament, India breezed through the group stage before defeating Myanmar in the semi-finals. In the final against Tajikistan, India, through a Sunil Chhetri hat-trick, won the match 4–1. The victory not only earned India the championship but it also allowed India to qualify for the 2011 AFC Asian Cup, the nation's first Asian Cup appearance in 27 years.[56] In order to prepare for the Asian Cup, Houghton had the team stay together as a squad for eight months from June 2010 till the start of the tournament, meaning the players would not play for their clubs.[57]

India were drawn into Group C for the Asian Cup with Australia, South Korea, and Bahrain.[58] Despite staying together as a team for eight months, India lost all three of their matches during the Asian Cup, including a 4–0 defeat to Australia.[59] Despite the results, India were still praised by fans and pundits for their valiant efforts during the tournament.[59]

2011–present[edit]

After participating the 2011 AFC Asian Cup, India's quest to qualify for the 2015 edition of the tournament began in February 2011 with AFC Challenge Cup qualifiers. Bob Houghton decided to change the makeup of the India squad, replacing many of the aging players from the Asian Cup with some young players from the AIFF development side in the I-League, Indian Arrows.[60] Even with a young side, India managed to qualify for the AFC Challenge Cup with ease.[61] Despite the good result though with a young side, the AIFF decided to terminate the contract of Bob Houghton.[62]

After having Dempo coach, Armando Colaco, as interim head coach, the AIFF signed Savio Medeira as head coach in October 2011.[63] Despite leading India to another SAFF Championship victory, Medeira lead India to their worst performance in the AFC Challenge Cup in March 2012. The team lost all three of their group matches, unable to score a single goal during the tournament.[64] After the tournament, Medeira was replaced as head coach by Dutchman, Wim Koevermans.[65] Koeverman's first job as head coach was the 2012 Nehru Cup. India won their third successive Nehru Cup, defeating Cameroon's B side on penalties.[66]

In March 2013, India failed to qualify for the 2014 AFC Challenge Cup and thus also failed to qualify for the 2015 AFC Asian Cup.[67] The team also failed to retain the SAFF Championship, losing 2–0 to Afghanistan in the 2013 final.[68] After more bad results in friendlies, Koevermans resigned as head coach in October 2014.[69]

By March 2015, after not playing any matches, India reached their lowest FIFA ranking position of 173.[70] A couple months prior, Stephen Constantine was re-hired as the head coach after first leading India more than a decade before.[71] Constantine's first major assignment back as the India head coach were the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifiers. After making it through the first round of qualifiers, India crashed out during the second round, losing seven of their eight matches and thus, once again, failed to qualify for the World Cup.[72]

Despite failure to qualify for the World Cup, India managed to reach the third round of 2019 AFC Asian Cup qualifiers after defeating Laos in the play-off round on aggregate 7–1.[73] On 11 October 2017, India secured qualification for the 2019 AFC Asian Cup after a 4–1 victory over Macau.[74]

Team image[edit]

Nicknames[edit]

The Indian national football team has been given the nickname Blue Tigers by its fans across the country.[1]

Uniform and Kit Evolution[edit]

India national team kits and uniforms have evolved as the game has over the years and in recent times new technologies have been utilised to improve the kits and uniform. India played in a sky blue kit in the years preceding their first kit deal with German company Adidas from 2002 to 2005.[75] The American company Nike signed a seven-year deal as the official kit sponsor with the All India Football Federation in 2006 and later on extended the sponsorship to 2017 but again as the Fifa U-17 World Cup was going to be held in India, seeing this as an opportunity they extended their deal for a second time.[76][77][78] Nike made a simplistic kit in 2006 with a light blue shirt with a little shade of white and white shorts. The 2009-10 Nike kit was a throwback to the 2006-07 kit but the blue colour got a bit darker and they experimented with horizontal stripes for the first time in 2013.[79] Inspired by the history and heritage of the Blue Tigers, India's latest Nike national team kit features a new shade of blue and an orange stripe that runs the length of the jersey and shorts. That stripe expands when a player is in motion to maximize ventilation, complementing Nike's proprietary Dri-FIT technology that helps draw sweat away from the body. These features allow players to perform at their best by remaining cool, dry and more comfortable.[80]

Kit supplier Period
Adidas Logo.svg
Adidas
2002–2005
Logo NIKE.svg
Nike
2006–present

Home[edit]

2002
2004–2005
2006
2006–2007
2008–2009
2009–2010
2010–2013
2013–2015
2015–2017
2017–2018
2018–present

Away[edit]

2002
2004–2005
2006
2006–2007
2008–2009
2009–2010
2010–2013
2013–2015
2015–2017
2017–2018
2018–present

Sponsorship[edit]

The team is sponsored by Nike, Hero Motocorp, Coca-Cola and Sports Authority of India.[81]

Home Stadium[edit]

India does not have any particular national home stadium and plays their home matches at different venues all over the country. Most prominent stadiums at which they play most of their recent matches since 2011 are Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium[82] at Delhi, Salt Lake Stadium[83] at Kolkata, Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium[84] at Guwahati, Sree Kanteerava Stadium[85] at Bengaluru and Mumbai Football Arena[86] at Mumbai.

Coaching staff[edit]

Stephen Constantine, the head coach.
Position Name
Head coach England Stephen Constantine
Assistant coach India Shanmugam Venkatesh
Goalkeeping coach Brazil Rogerio Ramos
Sports Scientist Australia Danny Deigan
AIFF Technical Director India Savio Medeira

Previous head coaches[edit]

Since independence, there have been twenty nine different head coaches for the India national team, out of which, ten being foreign coaches. The most successful head coach for India was Syed Abdul Rahim, who lead India to gold in both the 1951 and 1962 Asian Games while also achieving a fourth-place finish during the 1956 Summer Olympics.[87] The most successful foreign head coach for India was Bob Houghton, who coached the side from 2006 to 2011.[88] With Houghton in charge, India won the Nehru Cup twice and the AFC Challenge Cup in 2008 which allowed India to participate in their first AFC Asian Cup for 27 years.[88] Since, Houghton resigned as India team Head coach in 2011, the fate of Indian national team was dooming as FIFA ranking touched its lowest of 173 in the team history in march 2015[89][90], but it was Stephen Constantine, who was appointed for the second time as the head coach of India[91][92], revived the Indian team from its meagre condition. Under him, the team remained unbeaten for two years from June 2016 to March 2018 winning 11 matches and drawn 2 matches,[93][94] which helped them to qualify for 2019 AFC Asian Cup after 8 years since Houghton left.[95] He also helped the team to reach a better FIFA ranking of 96 in July 2017, which was best in last 21 years.[89][90]

List of head coaches of India

Players[edit]

Current squad[edit]

The following players were called up to the India squad for the International Friendly against China.[161]

No. Pos. Player Date of birth (age) Caps Goals Club
1 1GK Amrinder Singh (1993-05-27) 27 May 1993 (age 25) 2 0 India Mumbai City
16 1GK Karanjit Singh (1986-01-08) 8 January 1986 (age 32) 18 0 India Chennaiyin
23 1GK Gurpreet Singh Sandhu (1992-02-03) 3 February 1992 (age 26) 25 0 India Bengaluru

2 2DF Salam Ranjan Singh (1995-12-04)4 December 1995 (aged 22) 6 0 India East Bengal
3 2DF Subashish Bose (1995-08-18) 18 August 1995 (age 23) 6 0 India Mumbai City
4 2DF Sarthak Golui (1997-11-03) 3 November 1997 (age 20) 1 0 India Pune City
5 2DF Sandesh Jhingan (Captain) (1993-07-21) 21 July 1993 (age 25) 26 4 India Kerala Blasters
20 2DF Pritam Kotal (1993-09-08) 8 September 1993 (age 25) 26 0 India Delhi Dynamos
21 2DF Narayan Das (1993-09-25) 25 September 1993 (age 25) 26 1 India Delhi Dynamos
22 2DF Anas Edathodika (1987-02-15) 15 February 1987 (age 31) 13 0 India Kerala Blasters

7 3MF Anirudh Thapa (1998-01-15) 15 January 1998 (age 20) 9 0 India Chennaiyin
8 3MF Vinit Rai (1997-10-10) 10 October 1997 (age 21) 2 0 India Delhi Dynamos
14 3MF Pronay Halder (1993-02-25) 25 February 1993 (age 25) 12 1 India ATK
15 3MF Udanta Singh (1996-06-14) 14 June 1996 (age 22) 13 1 India Bengaluru
17 3MF Rowllin Borges (1992-06-05) 5 June 1992 (age 26) 24 2 India NorthEast United
19 3MF Halicharan Narzary (1994-05-10) 10 May 1994 (age 24) 21 0 India Kerala Blasters

9 4FW Ashique Kuruniyan (1997-06-17) 17 June 1997 (age 21) 5 1 India Pune City
10 4FW Sumeet Passi (1994-09-12)12 September 1994 (aged 23) 5 3 India Jamshedpur FC
11 4FW Sunil Chhetri (1984-08-03) 3 August 1984 (age 34) 103 65 India Bengaluru
12 4FW Jeje Lalpekhlua (1991-01-07) 7 January 1991 (age 27) 52 22 India Chennaiyin
13 4FW Nikhil Poojari (1995-09-03)3 September 1995 (aged 23) 4 1 India Pune City
29 4FW Farukh Choudhary (1996-11-08)8 November 1996 (aged 21) 2 0 India Jamshedpur FC

Recent call-ups[edit]

The following players have also been called up to the India squad within the last fifteen months.

Pos. Player Date of birth (age) Caps Goals Club Latest call-up
GK Albino Gomes (1994-02-07) 7 February 1994 (age 24) 0 0 India Delhi Dynamos v.  Macau; 5 September 2017
GK Subrata Pal (1986-12-24) 24 December 1986 (age 31) 67 0 India Jamshedpur v.  Myanmar; 14 November 2017
GK Sanjiban Ghosh (1991-07-06) 6 July 1991 (age 27) 0 0 India Chennaiyin 2018 Intercontinental Cup PRE
GK Sukhdev Patil (1998-11-23) 23 November 1998 (age 19) 0 0 India Delhi Dynamos 2018 SAFF Championship
GK Vishal Kaith (1996-07-22) 22 July 1996 (age 22) 4 0 India Pune City 2018 SAFF Championship

DF Arnab Mondal (1989-09-25) 25 September 1989 (age 29) 27 1 India East Bengal v.  Macau; 11 October 2017
DF Lalruatthara (1995-01-07) 7 January 1995 (age 23) 2 0 India Kerala Blasters 2018 Intercontinental Cup (India)
DF Jerry Lalrinzuala (1998-07-30) 30 July 1998 (age 20) 5 0 India Chennaiyin 2018 SAFF Championship
DF Davinder Singh (1995-09-23) 23 September 1995 (age 23) 0 0 India Mumbai City 2018 SAFF Championship

MF Eugeneson Lyngdoh (1986-09-10) 10 September 1986 (age 32) 24 0 India ATK v.  Myanmar; 14 November 2017
MF Jackichand Singh (1992-03-17) 17 March 1992 (age 26) 16 2 India Goa v.  Myanmar; 14 November 2017
MF Mohammed Rafique (1992-09-20) 20 September 1992 (age 26) 12 1 India East Bengal 2018 Intercontinental Cup (India)
MF Pronay Halder (1993-02-25) 25 February 1993 (age 25) 12 1 India Goa 2018 Intercontinental Cup (India)
MF Laldanmawia Ralte (1992-12-19) 19 December 1992 (age 25) 1 0 India East Bengal 2018 Intercontinental Cup (India)
MF Dhanpal Ganesh (1994-06-13) 13 June 1994 (age 24) 6 0 India Chennaiyin 2018 Intercontinental Cup PRE
MF Seiminlen Doungel (1994-01-03) 3 January 1994 (age 24) 2 0 India Kerala Blasters 2018 Intercontinental Cup PRE
MF Nanda Kumar (1995-12-20) 20 December 1995 (age 22) 0 0 India Delhi Dynamos 2018 SAFF Championship
MF Vignesh Dakshinamurthy (1998-03-05) 5 March 1998 (age 20) 0 0 India Mumbai City 2018 SAFF Championship
MF Isaac Vanmalsawma (1996-09-15) 15 September 1996 (age 22) 1 0 India Chennaiyin 2018 SAFF Championship
MF Mohammad Sajid Dhot (1997-12-10)10 December 1997 (aged 20) 0 0 India Delhi Dynamos 2018 SAFF Championship
MF Germanpreet Singh (1996-06-24)24 June 1996 (aged 22) 4 0 India Chennaiyin v.  China PR PRE
MF Souvik Chakrabarti (1991-07-12) 12 July 1991 (age 27) 0 0 India Jamshedpur v.  China PR PRE
MF Bikash Jairu (1992-03-12) 12 March 1992 (age 26) 11 0 India Jamshedpur v.  China PR PRE
MF Lallianzuala Chhangte (1997-06-08) 8 June 1997 (age 21) 4 3 India Delhi Dynamos v.  China PR PRE

FW Robin Singh (1990-05-09) 9 May 1990 (age 28) 30 5 India ATK v.  Macau; 5 September 2017
FW C. K. Vineeth (1988-02-28) 28 February 1988 (age 30) 7 0 India Kerala Blasters v.  Macau; 11 October 2017
FW Alen Deory (1996-01-12) 12 January 1996 (age 22) 1 0 India Shillong Lajong 2018 Intercontinental Cup (India)
FW Hitesh Sharma (1997-12-25)25 December 1997 (aged 20) 1 0 India ATK 2018 SAFF Championship
FW Balwant Singh (1986-12-15) 15 December 1986 (age 31) 9 3 India ATK v.  China PR PRE
FW Manvir Singh (1995-11-06)6 November 1995 (aged 22) 4 3 India FC Goa v.  China PR PRE

INJ = Withdrew from this squad due to injury
SUS = Serving suspension
PRE = Preliminary squad / standby
RET = Retired from international football

Past squads[edit]

Records[edit]

Sunil Chhetri is the country's most capped and top goalscorer in its history.

Most capped players[edit]

As of 14 September 2018, the players with most Caps are:

Rank. Name Career Caps Goals
1 Sunil Chhetri[162][163] 2005- 103 65
2 Baichung Bhutia[164][note 1] 1995-2011 82 27
3 Shabbir Ali 1974-1984 72 23
Climax Lawrence[165] 2003-2011 72 3
5 Gouramangi Singh[166] 2006-2013 71 6
6 Subrata Pal[167] 2007- 67 0
7 Inivalappil Mani Vijayan[168][note 2] 1989-2004 66 29
Mahesh Gawli[169] 1999-2011 66 1
9 Syed Rahim Nabi[170] 2004-2013 61 7
10 Renedy Singh[171] 1998-2011 59 4

Top goalscorers[edit]

As of 14 September 2018, the players with the most goals are:

Rank. Player Career Goals Caps Avg/Game
1 Sunil Chhetri (list) 2005– 65 103 0.63
2 Subimal Goswami 1956-1964 36 50 0.72
3 Inivalappil Mani Vijayan 1989-2004 29 66 0.44
4 Baichung Bhutia 1995-2011 27 82 0.33
5 Shabbir Ali 1974-1984 23 72 0.32
6 Jeje Lalpekhlua[172] 2009– 22 52 0.42
7 Pradip Kumar Banerjee 1952-1967 19 36 0.53
8 Pappachen Pradeep[173] 2005-2011 9 42 0.21
9 Krishanu Dey[174] 1986-1992 7 10 0.7
Jo Paul Ancheri[175] 1994-2004 7 33 0.21
Steven Dias[176] 1992-2004 7 51 0.14
Syed Rahim Nabi[170] 2004-2013 7 61 0.11

Results and schedule[edit]

For all past match results of the national team, see the team's results page.

  Win   Draw   Loss

2017[edit]

2018[edit]

2019[edit]

Competitive records[edit]

FIFA World Cup[edit]

India has never participated in a FIFA World Cup finals.[177] After gaining independence in 1947, India managed to qualify for the World Cup held in 1950. This was due to Myanmar, Indonesia, and the Philippines withdrawing from qualification.[177] However, prior to the start of the tournament, India themselves withdrew due to the expenses required in getting the team to Brazil.[177] Other reasons cited for why India withdrew include FIFA not allowing Indian players to play in the tournament barefoot and the All India Football Federation not considering the World Cup an important tournament compared to the Olympics.[177]

After withdrawing from the 1950 FIFA World Cup, India didn't enter the qualifying rounds of the tournament between 1954 and 1982.[178] Since the 1986 qualifiers, with the exception of the 1990 edition of the tournament, the team started to participate in qualifiers but have yet to qualify for the tournament again.[178]

FIFA World Cup record FIFA World Cup qualification record
Year Result Position Pld W D L GF GA Pld W D L GF GA
Uruguay 1930 Did not enter Did not enter
Italy 1934
France 1938
Brazil 1950 Qualified but withdrew None
Switzerland 1954 Denied by FIFA None
Sweden 1958 Did not enter Did not enter
Chile 1962
England 1966
Mexico 1970
West Germany 1974
Argentina 1978
Spain 1982
Mexico 1986 Did not qualify 6 2 3 1 7 6
Italy 1990 Withdrew from qualification
United States 1994 8 1 1 6 8 22
France 1998 3 1 1 1 3 7
South Korea Japan 2002 6 3 2 1 11 5
Germany 2006 6 1 1 4 2 18
South Africa 2010 2 0 1 1 3 6
Brazil 2014 2 0 1 1 2 5
Russia 2018 10 2 1 7 7 18
Qatar 2022 To be determined To be determined
United States Canada Mexico 2026 To be determined To be determined
Total 0/20 0 0 0 0 0 0 43 10 11 22 43 86

AFC Asian Cup[edit]

India have qualified for the AFC Asian Cup three times. The team played their first Asian Cup in 1964. It was India's best finish in the continental competition which came 55 years ago when they finished runners-up.[179][180] In 1964, India gained a direct qualification to the finals of the tournament after several Western Zone teams pulled out due to political reasons. 14 years after the country missed out on FIFA World Cup participation, the Indian national team had earned the opportunity to take centre stage in Asian football under English coach Harry Wright. Played in a round-robin format, the 1964 edition of the Asian Cup was won by hosts Israel but it had only four participants - one team from each zone. And with wins over South Korea and Hong Kong, India cemented second place. Inder Singh became team's top scorer with two goals.[179][180][105]

The team had to wait 20 years to qualify for the finals again.[181] And when they did, a group stage disaster awaited the Men in Blue.[179] The 10 participants were divided into two groups of five and India were placed in Group B alongside China PR, Iran, UAE and hosts Singapore. India lost three games and held Iran to a goalless draw to come away with a just a point in 1984. Saudi Arabia clinched their first Asian title, defeating China PR in the final. The legendary Krishanu Dey was part of Serbian coach Milovan Ćirić's Indian national team squad that battled it out with heavyweights like China PR and Iran.[179][182][183]

The 2011 AFC Asian Cup in Qatar marked India's third and most recent continental campaign. The Blues qualified on the virtue of being the winners of the 2008 AFC Challenge Cupwinner.[179] A Sunil Chhetri hat-trick and a goal by Bhaichung Bhutia helped hosts India defeat Tajikistan in the final of the Challenge Cup and qualify for the Asian Cup for the first time in 27 years. Drawn into Group C from Pot 4, the Blues lost all three of their group games to get dumped out of the tournament without any points on the board. Tim Cahill's brace helped Australia register a 4-0 win against India in the group opener. Gouramangi Singh and Chhetri scored in either half as India lost 2-5 to Bahrain and Chhetri's first-half spot-kick was the team's only consolation as South Korea thrashed them 1-4 in the final game in Group C.[179][184]

Eight years later, Indian national teams qualified and is set to travel to UAE for the 2019 AFC Asian Cup under head coach Stephen Constantine.[179]

Summer Olympics[edit]

T Ao on the left, leading the Indian team to Cricklefield Stadium to play against France, 3 players including Taj Mohammed (on the right in the pic) wore boots though the weather was dry.

In 1948, London volunteered to host the games, and for Indian football it was their first Olympics participation. Coach Balaidas Chatterjee's team won all the five preparation matches easily with a 15-0 win against a Department Store XI (July 13), then defeated the Metropolitan Police F.C. by 3−1(July 16), Pinner FC by 9−1(July 24), Hayes F.C. by 4−1(July 26), and Alexandra Park FC by 8−2(July 28).[20][24] On 31st of July 1948, the first eleven men in Independent India's footballing history trooped out to the middle of Criclefield Stadium, in thick socks, cut off at the ankle and bare feet strapped up to protect and provide grip. Taj Mohammad, Dhanraj, Papen wore the boots, they were the exception. For the first 29 minutes neither team dominated proceedings, but the high standard of football had the 17,000 spectators on their feet. Then in the 30th minute Rene Courbin gave France a lead of 1-0.[19][24] Just before half-time, Swedish referee Gunnar Dahlner awarded India a penalty kick but Sailen Manna missed the penalty as the ball sailed over the crossbar. In the second half the Indians launched wave after wave of counterattacks, and just as it looked like France would manage to hold on to its slender lead, Ahmad Khan, a forward known for his skills and passing abilities created an opening. He combined with Vajravelu (as substitute), beat the French defense and passed the ball to Sarangapani Raman, who made no mistake, slamming in India's equaliser in the 70th minute,[19][24] forever etching his name as independent India's first international goal scorer. Ten minutes after Raman's equaliser, India had a chance to take the lead through another penalty, but this time Mahabir Prasad's shot at the goal was saved brilliantly by the French goalkeeper Rouxel. With one minute to go for the final whistle and the teams getting ready for extra time, Rene Persillon put one past Indian goalkeeper to give France a 2−1 victory and a place in the quarterfinals.[19][20][24] Under Sailen Manna's leadership in 1952 India would again lose in the first round, this time 10-1 to Yugoslavia. But four years later at the 1956 Olympics at Melbourne India would have its best outing at the games beating hosts Australia 4−2, Neville D’Souza scoring a hat trick. Team was led by Manna and India's most successful coach Syed Abdul Rahim.[185] Though, they failed to reach the final as lost to Yugoslavia by 4−1 where it was D'souza who scored for India and became joint top scorer in that edition.[186] In 1960 at Rome, Tulsidas Balaram scored two goals, 1 each in the matches against Hungary and Peru which India lost[187][188] but at the second match PK Banerjee’s goal would help India hold France to a draw. That would in fact be the last time India qualified for the Olympics in football.[189]

At 1956 Olympics, in the first round Hungary withdrew in the match against India, thus India proceeded to QF without playing any match in the first round.

Other honours[edit]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ The reference attached includes all matches played by Bhutia, thus for information about matches which are FIFA recognised visit the player's Wikipedia page where its properly mentioned.
  2. ^ The reference attached includes 13 Non FIFA 'A' matches with 14 Non FIFA 'A' goals, to see non fifa matches visit I M Vijayan wiki page.

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