Indian Football News: Intercontinental Cup Teams, Date, Venue revealed
The All India Football Federation (AIFF) confirmed the participants for the Intercontinental Cup hours after the Football Federation of Tajikistan (FFT) on Monday tweeted that it is indeed playing in this tournament in July.
According to the FFT, the Intercontinental Cup will be held in Bengaluru from July 7-17 and it will feature Tajikistan, North Korea (DPR Korea) and Syria alongside the Blue Tigers in what will be the second edition (third if you count the Tri-Nations Tournament held in 2017) of this tournament.
However, the AIFF is considering Ahmedabad as a venue for the Intercontinental Cup.
Hero Intercontinental Cup 2019:
Teams: India, Tajikistan, Syria, North Korea
Date: July 7-18
Venue: Sree Kanteerava Stadium, Bengaluru or The Arena By TransStadia, Ahmedabad
The AIFF on Monday evening confirmed the teams but added that the venue will be decided at a later stage.
AIFF General Secretar Kushal Das, in a statement, said:
"The AIFF and their partners FSDL have finalised an annual calendar for the Men's National Team. In June, the National Team is scheduled to participate in the King's Cup in Thailand where we play Curaçao in our first match, and then either Vietnam or Thailand.
"These matches will hold us in good stead for the 2022 World Cup Qualifiers starting in September 2019.
“I need to thank the respective Football Federations of Syria, Tajikistan, and DPR Korea for agreeing to come over for the four-nation event,” Das added.
Before the Intercontinental Cup, India are scheduled to play in the King's Cup in Thailand from June 5-8, their first assignment under new coach Igor Stimac. Croatian Stimac took over the job from Stephen Constantine, who resigned after India's unceremonious exit at Asian Cup in January.
The Intercontinental Cup will serve as a preparatory test for India, who will take part in the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers starting in September this year. This is the first time that the tournament will be held in Bengaluru, which has been a preferred venue for the Indian national football team for the last few years.
While Tajikistan did not qualify for the Asian Cup, the other teams could not progress beyond the group stages in the Asian Cup. India recorded a sensational 4-1 win over Thailand only to lose their other two games against UAE and Bahrain.
Syria, coached by their former international Fajr Ibrahim, drew with Palestine in Group B and then lost to Jordan. They almost gave Australia a run for their money but conceded an injury-time goal to lose 3-2 and bow out of the tournament.
Kim Yong-jun-helmed North Korea, who were in Group E, conceded 14 goals in their losses to Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Lebanon. Usmon Toshev coaches Tajikistan, who will play friendlies against Afghanistan and China before the Intercontinental Cup.
Among the 4 sides, only Syria is ranked above India at the 83rd position. India have dropped out of the top-100 and are at 101. Tajikistan and North Korea are ranked close to each other at the 120th and 121st positions in the FIFA rankings.