AFC U16 Championship 2018: India to get campaign underway against Vietnam on September 21
Iran is set to be India's biggest challenge in Group C.
The AFC U-16 Championship draws were made on the 26th of April at midday. The tournament, which will take place in September in Malaysia, will be important for the Asian teams as the semifinalists will be guaranteed a spot in next year's FIFA U-17 World Cup.
India were in Pot 3 for the draw as per their ranking, and were the third team to be drawn from their pot. As a result, they were placed in Group C, alongside Iran, Vietnam, and Indonesia.
The Blue Tigers took their place in the final draw after finishing among the best runner-ups in the qualification rounds. The qualification round, which took place in its entirety in Nepal, saw India face current champions Iraq. India managed to get a point from their games against Iraq and Nepal, furthermore beating Palestine by a scoreline of 3-0 to book their place for the final tournament.
India will now face Iran, Vietnam, and Indonesia in September end, with a spot in the FIFA U-17 World Cup on the line.
While they face Vietnam in their opening match in the AFC U-16 Championships on 21 September, the Blue Colts will come face-to-face with Iran on the 24th. The U-16 boys will finish the group stage with a match against Indonesia on the September 27. The top two teams from each group will qualify for the next round.
There are three scenarios going forward in the tournament. If India finish 3rd or 4th in the group, they'll exit the competition. However, if they manage to finish the group as runner-ups, they'll face Group D winners in the quarterfinal on October 1.
If India do indeed win their group, they'll face the second place finishers from Group D in a quarterfinal match, also on the October 1.
India will be looking to continue their good run in the AFC Cup by progressing even further as there is a lot on the line, including a place in the 2019 FIFA U-17 World Cup.
India's fixtures in 2018 AFC U16 Championship:
September 21: India vs Vietnam
September 24: India vs Iran
September 27: India vs Indonesia