AFC Asian Cup: Constantine believes India can qualify for knockouts

AFC Asian Cup: Constantine believes India can qualify for knockouts

AFC Asian Cup: Constantine believes India can qualify for knockouts

Instead, they have been clubbed with hosts UAE in Group A, along with Thailand and Bahrain. The pinnacle was at the 13th Asian Cup, when it lost to Japan in the quarter-finals and jumped to the best ever FIFA Ranking.

"They've drawn 2-2 with Australia at home so they are not a bad team". But at the same time Bert and his staff have come in at a good time because what he gets is players in that March window who are so hungry to go to the World Cup.

Milicic was a member of the management team that masterminded that success, so knows all too well the pressure of delivering as host country.

The question of when India will play in the FIFA World Cup has popped up quite often and Indian team captain Sunil Chhetri simply chuckles on the question.

"Any number of matches before the Asian Cup, especially with teams like South Africa and New Zealand, will help us". I am happy with the kind of performances that we have put, but at the Asia Cup, we are talking about a different stage and a different level of competition.

"You're always looking if they're defensively sound".

"Many have not seen Bahrain and Thailand play".

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But Milicic is confident the Australian players will have grown from that 2014 experience, with players earning more caps and the squad set to be boosted by a few returning players and talented stars making their World Cup bows.

By the virtue of being the hosts, UAE were drawn in Group A by default.

Australia and Jordan have faced each other four times - all in World Cup qualifying - with each side winning two games, while Syria's gallant but eventually unsuccessful bid to qualify for the 2018 World Cup in Russian Federation has made football fans sit up and take notice. We have to give ourselves the best chance and then all 11 of us on the field need to be at our best.

"It is not a tough group".

"He's played against us twice with Saudi and there's a lot of respect for what he did in 2010". We all know in our qualification play-off game against Syria how hard that was to get through. This time, they qualified in the first round of their involvement. Palestine are a similar opponent. "But make no mistake about it, this is an important tournament we've got coming up six months later".

"We have struggled away so, I want to have more games outside to test our strengths", Chhetri said. "Now look at them (Thailand), they are competing with the best Asian teams".

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