Guam, June 15:
The Indian football team will renew its quest to qualify for the 2018 FIFA World Cup with a qualifying game against Guam at the Guam National Football Stadium here on Tuesday.
This will be India’s second match of the second round of qualifiers. India and Guam are in Group D along with Oman, Iran and Turkmenistan for the preliminary league with the top two finishers progressing to the next phase of the competition.
India lost their first match of the group 1-2 against Oman while Guam defeated Turkmenistan 1-0.
India, 141 in the rankings will need to put their best foot forward against the 174th-ranked Guam, as the visitors seek their first win not only in Group D but also in the Pacific region.
Despite India’s loss against Oman, they offered hope for an improved performance and will be looking to take some aspects of that game on Tuesday.
Guam coach Gary White said that they are looking forward to the game.
“It’s likely to be a competitive one. Win or perish – both teams would go out to get those three points. We have watched India’s match against Oman and must say that there seems to be a new life in the Indian team. They looked much organised and it will be difficult to break them down,” White said, in a release on Tuesday.
India’s coach Stephen Constantine isn’t willing to read much into the rankings disparity between the two teams.
“We are not in a position to look at the FIFA Rankings. Guam having won their last match against Turkmenistan is going to be encouraged, stay motivated and be ready to play,” Constantine said.
Constantine has appointed striker Sunil Chhetri as the captain for the match, who stressed on taking “one match at a time.”
“If you take one match at a time, the target stays lesser. So right now, we have moved on from our last match and are focussing on Guam,” he said.
“Guam has definitely improved a lot from the last time we played them. On the surface one didn’t give them much of a chance against Turkmenistan but this squad is a different side altogether. Their win speaks volumes of the improvement and we have huge respect for Guam,” Chhetri added. (IANS)