The Indian football team returns to action after a gap of more than 15 months. The Blue Tigers face Oman and UAE in international friendlies on March 25 and 29, with both games set to be played in Dubai.
The Indian football team is currently placed 4th in Group E of the second round of the FIFA World Cup 2022/AFC Asian Cup 2023 qualifiers and the friendlies will help them prepare for the remainder of the fixtures.
The Indian football team has never beaten Oman
The first meeting between India and Oman was at the Qatar Independence Cup in 1994. The Blue Tigers went down fighting 1-4 in the semi-finals of the knockout competition.
Oman next beat India 5-1 at the 2006 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers in Kochi in 2004. However, the Blue Tigers put up a resilient display in the reverse fixture and managed to earn a 0-0 draw against Oman in Muscat.
India then hosted Oman in an international friendly for the first time as part of their preparations for the AFC Challenge Cup in 2012. Savio Madeira's men were beaten 5-1 in a one-sided clash in Muscat.
The Indian football team locked horns with Oman again in the FIFA World Cup 2018 qualifiers. The Blue Tigers lost 2-1 in a closely-fought encounter in Bengaluru before succumbing to a 3-0 defeat in Oman under Stephen Constantine.
India put in a strong performance in their next meeting with Oman, which was in an international friendly in Abu Dhabi before the AFC Asian Cup 2019. The final result was a goalless draw.
Igor Stimac's men have faced Oman twice in the ongoing FIFA World Cup 2022/AFC Asian Cup 2023 qualifiers. The Blue Tigers lost 1-2 to Oman in Guwahati before being beaten 1-0 in the reverse fixture in Muscat in 2019.
Results at a glance: OMA 4-1 IND, IND 1-5 OMA, OMA 0-0 IND, OMA 5-1 IND, IND 1-2 OMA, OMA 3-0 IND, OMA 0-0 IND, IND 1-2 OMA, OMA 1-0 IND
The Indian football team has beaten UAE twice
The Blue Tigers faced UAE for the first time in an international friendly in 1979, which ended in a goalless draw. In their next face-off, the Blue Tigers raced to a 2-0 victory over the Emirates at the Merdeka Cup in 1981.
The Indian football team lost to the UAE on consecutive occasions in international friendlies, in the latter part of 1981. Having defeated India yet again in the 1984 AFC Asian Cup, the Emirates dealt the Blue Tigers a double blow with 3-0 wins in the two legs of the 1988 AFC Asian Cup Qualifiers.
The Indian football team then went on to lose the 2000 AFC Asian Cup Qualifiers to UAE by a 1-3 margin.
After the series of losses, the Blue Tigers registered their second-ever win over the Emirates at the FIFA World Cup qualifiers in 2001. The 1-0 win came after a 0-1 loss in the reverse fixture, showing the Indian football team's determination and resilience.
India next played an international friendly with UAE in 2010, where they were blanked 5-0. This was followed by a 0-3 loss to UAE in the 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifier in 2011, before India managed to salvage a 2-2 draw in the reverse fixture.
The last encounter between the two sides was a 2-0 loss for the Indian football team in the 2019 AFC Asian Cup.
Results at a glance: IND 0-0 UAE, IND 2-0 UAE, UAE 2-0 IND, IND 1-3 UAE, IND 0-2 UAE, IND 0-3 UAE, UAE 3-0 IND, UAE 3-1 IND, IND 1-0 UAE, IND 0-1 UAE, IND 0-0 UAE, UAE 5-0 IND, UAE 3-0 IND, IND 2-2 UAE, IND 0-2 UAE
(Results courtesy: RSSF and 11v11)