AFC Asian Cup 2019: How India's opponents Thailand qualified for the finals


Indian football team head coach Stephen Constantine has stated that his team has the ability to qualify for the knock-out stage of the 2019 Asian Cup to be held at United Arab Emirates (UAE) after its draw was announced Friday night here.

"What I'm looking forward is winning games outside the country which is very important". Back home in India, everyone is excited and we have the blessings of all the people and we will do our best. The top five teams in Asia compete at the World Cup.

Australia won their maiden AFC Asian Cup in 2015 on home soil when a goal from James Troisi in extra time sealed a win over South Korea. Instead, they have been clubbed with hosts UAE in Group A, along with Thailand and Bahrain. "You look at (Tom) Rogic, (Aaron) Mooy, while (Trent) Sainsbury and (Robbie) Kruse got injured so we've got a lot of players really hungry to do well at World Cup level". Chhetri though said it is going to be extremely tough and it is more important that India as a team is judged before talking about the opponents. We've played two of those opponents recently. "Australia and Japan are finding hard to beat Thailand".

Thailand will meet India for their first match at Al Nahyan Stadium in Abu Dhabi, a day after the tournament opener between the two Gulf sides - the UAE and Bahrain - on Jan 5. Although the last two are ranked below India, those who follow Asian football will know what India are getting into. India had finished runners-up to Israel in 1964. "But make no mistake about it, this is an important tournament we've got coming up six months later". I'm happy that we have broken inside the top 100 but the way it works is very tricky.

Arnold will take over from Bert van Marwijk after the World Cup in what will be his second Asian Cup in charge, having led the team in their disappointing 2007 campaign. Everyone is young and dynamic but the 2011 team was more solid.

In 2011, India lost all three of its matches and exited in the group stage.

"It has been an unbelievable ride".

"I wouldn't be surprised to see them do well, especially with the players they have available". I have never taken ranking seriously.