August 22, 2012; Kick-Off- 7PM IST

Jawahar Lal Nehru Stadium, New Delhi


As AIFF celebrate their 75th anniversary today, the Blue Tigers get ready to mesmerize the home crowd again as they look to maintain their domination in the Nehru Cup. The Indian National football team fanatics and religious followers will finally get a glimpse of the much talked about new look Indian football team mentored by new head coach Wim Koevermans. The defending champions prepare to defend their title in the fifteenth edition of the coveted tournament, as theylock horns against Syria in their first encounter at the Jawahar Lal Nehru Stadium in the capital. TheHardTackle analyses both the squads and their respective tactics before the big kick off tomorrow.

Team News And Tactical Brief



Goalkeepers: Subrata Pal, Subhasish Roychowdhury, Karanjeet Singh.

Defenders: Nirmal Chhetri, Denzil Franco, Gourmangi Singh, Gurwinder Singh, Raju Gaikwad, Syed Rahim Nabi.

Midfielders: Lenny Rodrigues, Mehtab Hossain, Jewel Raja, Francis Fernandes, Alwyn George, Anthony Pereira, Sanju Pradhan, Clifford Miranda.

Forwards: Robin Singh, Sunil Chhetri, Manandeep Singh.

Expected Line up: Subrata Pal, Syed Rahim Nabi, Gourmangi Singh, Raju Gaikwad, Nirmal Chettri, Anthony Pereira, Jewel Raja, Mehtab Hossain, Clifford Miranda, Alwyn George, Sunil Chettri (C)


India is expected to deploy a 4-2-3-1 tactics in their opening encounter against much more physical Syrian side. Veteran Subrata Pal would be under the bars and Indians will be hoping to cash in on his experience in this tournament. Usual suspects Gourmangi Singh and Raju Gaikwad would be the center backs with Mehtab Hossain operating in front of them. Nirmal Chettri and Syed Rahim Nabi are expected to provide with the overlapping runs on the left and the right flank respectively. Dempo winger Anthony Pereira is expected to start the match from the right. New wonder kid Alwyn George will be playing in his favorite position just behind the captain Sunil Chettri, orchestrating the moves and spraying passes. Mohun Bagan midfielder Jewel Raja will assist him in threading moves from the middle of the park. He is expected to do the box to box work in the midfield and add numbers while defending.

Expected Starting Line Up




Goalkeeper: Mosab Balhous,Taha Mosa, Mahmoud Al Youssef

Defenders: Bakri Tarab, Ahmad Al Salih, Hamzeh Al Aitoni, Jehad Al Baour, Mohamad Zbida, Hamoud Al Hamoud, Khaled Al Brijawi, Yasser Shoshara

Midfieldrs: Oday Jafal, Alaa Al Shbli, Mohamad Afa Al Rifai, Ali Ghalioum, Zakaria Al Omari, Zaher Midani, Abdelrazaq Al Hussain

Forwards: Hani Al Taiar, Mardik Mardikian

Expected line-up: Mosab Balhous, Bakri Tarab, Hamzeh Al Aitoni, Jehad Al Baour, Mohamad Zbida, Oday Jafal, Alaa Al Shbli, Mohamad Afa Al Rifai, Zakaria Al Omari, Hani Al Taiar, Mardik Mardikian.


The Syrian national team would be having nothing else but revenge on their mind when the young squad gears up for their first encounter against the hosts. The Red Eagles have as many as ten players, which accounts for half of their squad, who haven’t earned a single cap for the Arab country. Syria was beaten by India twice in the final of the last two editions, as it adds the spice to the opening encounter.

Under the mentorship of fellow national Marwan Khoury, Syria are currently ranked 147th in FIFA rankings. Syria has not lost in their last two matches, although a totally different squad has been sent for Nehru Cup. Keeping in mind the turmoil the nation is currently witnessing, the national football team would be hoping to export a few smiles from Delhi to Syria, courtesy a gritty and determined performance.


So it all boils down to being tipped as  a very crucial encounter for both the sides as they look to kick off their campaign with a victory or the least, a draw. Both sides can start on a nervy note and are expected to attack in the later stages of the game. Early points in the table will surely act as a catalyst for rest of the round robin matches. Indians are favourites to clinch the opening tie as they would be raring to go, where as the inexperience among  Syrian ranks might prove to be a difference .

India 2-1 Syria




  • Chandra Mouli

    the indian formation looks more a 4-4-2 to me than a 4-2-3-1… good to see alwyn george in the side… but i was hoping that he would play more of the attacking midfielder role than a striker…

  • Varun Sehrawat

    rightly predicted 😉

    • Kunwar Deep Singh

      Yea . :)

  • Mohit

    Was the Syrian coach highly frustated or the Indian coach at ease? Cause the Syrian coach was constantly on foot yelling while the Indian coach was sitting in the dug out most of the time.