Bahrain to face UAE, India, Thailand at Asian Cup 2019

Bahrain to face UAE, India, Thailand at Asian Cup 2019

The entire Indian footballing community heaved a huge sigh of relief, when the 2019 AFC Asian Cup Draw pitted Sunil Chhetri and co in Group A, against hosts UAE, Bahrain and Thailand.

Chhetri was part of the national team in the 2011 Doha Asian Cup, the last time India played in the continental championship.

The AFC President added: "I have no doubt that the UAE, one of the Continent's most dynamic and visionary countries, will be the ideal stage for this historic tournament".

Speaking at the draw, Chhetri said: "The AFC Asian Cup is an enormous opportunity for us and we are looking forward to it". Being the hosts, UAE were automatically drawn into Group A. Thailand and Bahrain were drawn from Pot 2 and 4 respectively.

The one positive for the so-called smaller nations with the expanded 24-team tournament though is that not only do the top two in each progress but also four of the best third-placed teams. Only because we are not facing Australia and South Korea people think it's going to be easy.

Coach Felix Sanchez is confident his players can put the diplomatic dispute between Qatar and neighbouring Saudi Arabia aside and focus on their performance after the two countries were drawn to face one another at next year's Asian Cup. You should judge your own team first, how we are doing and how we will be in 6 months and then you form your opinion. "This is more of a new team but I hope all the youngsters go and grab their chances", Chhetri told.

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India coach Stephen Constantine and team Manager Shanmugam Venkatesh also attended the draw ceremony.

Bengaluru FC, established in 2013, are now in a hard position to qualify for the knock-out round of AFC Cup after losing 0-2 to New Radiants of Maldives in Male in a group match. I believe on our day we can beat anybody.

Shaikh Salman said: "Since 1956 we have had the same trophy and in keeping with the new and exciting future of the competition, the AFC made a decision to commission a new trophy, one that captures the excitement and drama of the tournament ahead". Two kids are going to official ball carriers in the World Cup, one of the matches will be Brazil vs Costa Rica and the other Panama vs Belgium.

They reached the Asian Cup for the first time in the last edition, coming bottom of their group after losing to Japan, Iraq, and Jordan. I have never taken ranking seriously. "What we have to deal with is a much bigger stage and it will not help by what we have done before", he said.

The War Elephants' best result in the Asian Cup was recorded in 1972, when they finished third. I am happy we have broken inside 100 but the way ranking works is very, very tricky so I don't give it too much importance.

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