The Indian squad scripted history at the gulf by winning their first match against Thailand by vanquishing the ‘War Elephants’ with a colossal 4-1 scoreline.
The Blue Tigers locked horns against the host UAE in their next outing where they terrified the home team by an extraordinary performance at the Zayed Sports Complex, Abu Dhabi which left the country wondering about the bright future that beholds for Indian football.
The tremors created by the Indian side were felt till the next day as the Richter scale did the talking by measuring an earthquake scaling 3.7 in UAE. Though the men in blue failed to clinch the 3 points, they made sure that the world witnesses the rising giants.
Group A has spiced up since Thailand redeemed themselves by defeating Bahrain, which now has unfolded opportunities for every team in Group A to qualify for the next round depending on the last match. India is set to ply their trade against Bahrain, which is the last group stage game for the Blue Tigers, in Al-Sharjah Stadium, UAE.
As the current scenario looks like with each teams having a match to be played, team UAE is topping Group A with 4 points, India unfortunately at the second spot with 3 points +1 GD, whereas, Thailand managed to keep themselves at the 3rd spot with 3 points -2 GD and Bahrain suffer at the last spot with 1 point.
Looking forward, let us take a look at the permutations and combinations for the Indian side to qualify for the historic round of 16s spot.
1) India Wins Against Bahrain
If the Blue Tigers manage a win against their opponents, then it gives them an assurance to qualify for the next stage as they would finish the group stages with 6 points on board. If UAE hits the sweet spot and wins their last match against the War Elephants, then they shall qualify as the group toppers having India in the 2nd position. On the contrary, if Thailand emerges victorious against UAE, then the War Elephants will finish the group as the runners up due to the head to head difference against team India.
2) India Draws Against Bahrain
The new format of the Asian Cup will give the privilege to the best four third-place teams of the tournament to qualify for the next round. Keeping that in mind, if the Blue Tigers manage a draw against Bahrain, they would still have hopes to qualify for the next round as they shall be tied at 4 points. If UAE wins against Thailand, then UAE shall top the group having India as the runners up, if they draw, still the Blue Tigers shall qualify as the runners up, thanks to their head to head difference against Thailand. On the other hand, if Thailand wins, the War Elephants shall emerge victorious by topping the group and qualifying to the next round by leaving the Indian side in a dillemmatic situation relying on their luck of the third place qualification rule.
3) If India Loses Against Bahrain
If India faces a defeat against Bahrain, then team India shall have a faint chance of qualification as they would completely rely on the other clash between UAE and Thailand. If UAE beats Thailand, then team India shall qualify as the third-placed team from the group provided lady luck shines upon them. But if Thailand triumph against the hosts, India have no chance to qualify to the next round and the Asian dream would still remain as an empty box to be filled.
With all the possibilities on the table, the ship is still sailing and team India will look for nothing less than a victory against Bahrain.