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5 historic football games that India has played

Faizan Qadiri
Top 5 / Top 10
India Nehru Cup
Indian players celebrate after winning the 2012 Nehru Cup

India is a country renowned for producing great cricketers and legendary hockey players. Having produced arguably the two greatest sportsmen in these sports namely Sachin Tendulkar and Dhyan Chand, they have a huge following in the country. In recent years, Cricket has taken over as the most popular sport in the country, but in juggling so many sports, Indians sometimes ignore the most popular game on the planet – football.

India is placed 141 in the world according to the latest FIFA rankings. With India playing Oman in the first World Cup qualifier we have a look at five historic matches India has played in:

Iran 0-1 India: 1951 Asian Games Final

Sahu Mewalal
Sahu Mewalal

There was a time when India were the best team in Asia. India were Asia’s only representative in the 1948 Summer Olympics. India were the hosts in the very first Asian games held and being the best team in Asia, were the favorites for the Gold medal. In the quarters and the semi-final, they smashed Indonesia and Afghanistan for three goals each without reply to book a final with Iran. Sahu Mewalal was the top scorer with 3 goals in the opening two games.

India played almost the entire final on the front foot, but Iran had done their homework and had organized their team really well. But, that was till the 34th minute when the man of the tournament for India, Mewalal, scored the winning goal of the game. The score remained the same, but not from the lack of trying. The win confirmed India a gold medal in the tournament and the very first international tournament win.

France 1-1 India: 1960 Olympics

India 1960 France Olympics
The Indian football squad for the 1960 Olympics

In the 1960 Olympics held in Rome, India were placed in a very tough group with Hungary, France and Peru. In the first game, India came up against the mighty Hungary side. Even though the Hungarians were favorites to win the game and were leading 2-0 before the hour mark, a goal from Tulsidas Balaram made sure Hungary did not have an easy end to the game.

The second game India played was against France, who had finished 3rd in the World Cup two years ago. India dug deep to show character to stay in the game. India took the lead through the legendary PK Banerjee, who rattled the net in the 71st minute. Even though France equalized through Gerard Coincon in the 82nd minute, India were praised by the European media for their performances in the tournament.

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