India played its last game before AFC joint qualifiers and players were determined to put things right & stake a claim in Igor Stimac’s team come September.
On the back of 2 hammerings at home, questions were raised about players ability & temperament to play the possession game.
However, in previous matches India had shown glimpses of what is to come, but the question was whether players would be able to play consistently over the 90 mins.
Igor Stimac insisted on this being an experimentation period, over the course of 5 matches under his helm, we hope now he knows his players whom he can trust & take the process forward.
“India played its best 90 mins under Igor Stimac”
So, we look at what changes did India make against Syria?
Gurpreet played most of his goal kicks long in the opponent’s defensive half, which was a well rehearsed game plan, which did 2 things, firstly, Syria were pinned back in their own half and secondly, Indian midfielders positioned themselves in areas where they could win second balls.
India were much more compact & difficult to break down, defenders Rahul Bheke & Narender gahlot were solid, in front of them Midfield line were great at shifting & wingers tracked back were willing to do the dirty work, Sahal’s position & Chettri’s pressing forced Syria to external position away from Central space.
Another tactic used by India was to create numerical superiority at times of throw ins & play the ball for winger to run at defenders.
Amarjit Kiyam & Anirudh Thapa are Heartbeat of the team by maintain a balance between offensive & defensive plays, responsible for initiating attacks & protecting the defence line at times of transitions.
India held Syria to a draw but performance suggests Blue tigers played their best 90 mins under the new coach & with a new game model.
India were solid without the ball & displayed courage when with it, they had a clear game plan on how to exploit Udanta Singh & Lallianzuala Chhangte’s pace down the wings.
If India plays like we did yesterday, against a team ranked 16 places higher at 85, I see no reason not to be optimistic for the AFC qualifiers to come. A place at Qatar 2022 might be too much to ask for but with team’s average age at 22 & with a solid domestic circuit in years to come, having a real shot for the 2026 World cup would be more realistic.
Article by our Football Analyst .