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Asian Cup 2019: Bundesliga stars praise India’s Sunil Chhetri, Anirudh Thapa, Gurpreet

Avik Roy
SENIOR ANALYST
News
1.24K   //    03 Jan 2019, 18:06 IST

Indian football team
Indian football team

Just three days ahead of their first match in AFC Asian Cup against Thailand, Indian footballers got major support from who’s who of World Football. Bundesliga stars heaped praise on Indian footballers and wished them all the best for the upcoming tournament.

India, who qualified for the tournament after eight years, got support from the likes of German legend Lothar Matthaus and World Cup final goal-scorer Mario Gotze in a video posted by Bundesliga’s official Facebook page.

The stars picked out one Indian footballer each who plays in the same position as them and spoke some words of encouragement.

The Peruvian striker and former Bayern Munich player, Claudio Pizzaro said, “Sunil, there is no one in India quite like you. Keep firing and inspiring the nation.” The Indian captain is going to play his second Asian Cup after a disastrous 2011 campaign.

Mario Gotze, who scored the winning goal in 2014 World Cup final against Argentina to help his team win the title, praised Indian youngster Anirudh Thapa, “You have got everything it takes to become the country’s next big superstar. Go on then, make your mark.”

Borussia Monchengladbach goalkeeper Yann Sommer had a word of advice for Indian custodian Gurpreet Singh Sandhu. He said, “Gurpreet, you are the guardian of the posts. Remember, block everything in sight.” How far India will go will heavily depend on how Gurpreet performs in the tournament.

German youngster Timo Werner, who played this year in the World Cup, call his Indian counterpart Jeje Lalpekhlua as ‘Mizo Sniper’ and said, “(Whenever you get a ball), take aim and shoot.”

German World Cup winning captain Lothar Matthaus was present in India last month for a promotional event and saw the madness of the country over football. He saw two ISL matches in Kochi and Mumbai. Matthaus, who is also the brand ambassador of Bundesliga, said, “From everyone here at the Bundesliga, we wish the Indian football team the best of luck. Back the Blue.”

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The Indian football team has a great chance to progress to the next stage, being pitted in a relatively easier group, which comprises hosts UAE, Bahrain and Thailand.

However, considering their preparation, which included a lone friendly match against Oman, it would be surprising if they make it further in the Cup.

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Avik Roy
SENIOR ANALYST
A Sports Lover by passion, a Sports Writer by profession. Avik Roy is a Kolkata-based Sports Journalist who previously worked with Orissa POST and Aajkaal. His most-cherished dream is standing on the National Anthem in a FIFA World Cup match, wearing the Blue jersey.
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