The Indian national Football team plays their final group game on 22nd September 2014, against Jordan at the Incheon Munhak Stadium in Incheon (South Korea) .They take the field against a Jordan side, that has defeated medal contenders U.A.E. in their first group game and will be looking for the top spot in the group.
The Indian Team took on U.A.E. who rank 65th in the world compared to India’s 158 , in their first group game on 15th September and although there were no high expectations from the Indian contingent , but people back home had expected them to prove a point to the SAI board , who had earlier put their participation in the Asian games in risk. But Wim Koeverman’s side had no answer at all to U.A.E.’s attacking prowess and within the first 20 minutes, India were already 3-0 down. India lost the match 5-0 , making it this India’s Heaviest defeat in the group stages of the Asian Games since 1978 ( when they lost to Kuwait 6-1 ). India looked poor in their game against U.A.E. , their was no co-ordination in midfield , no co-ordination between the defenders and they rarely threatened the opposition goal and after the first 20 minutes , each member of the team looked like they were waiting for the final whistle to be blown.
Jordan on the other hand , took a massive step towards qualification when they defeated U.A.E in their opening group stage encounter 1-0 , courtesy an Darwish own goal. Jordan looked the better team and deserved the win , although U.A.E. had better possession , but Jordan tested the opposition keeper more and in the end came out as worthy winners.
Group G is evenly poised with U.A.E finishing their group stage matches with 3 points from 2 games , Jordan with 3 points from 1 game and India having 0 points from 1 game. Although India can move level on points with both Jordan and U.A.E. , their progress into the next round can only happen if they defeat Jordan by a difference of 3 or more goals .So India’s progress to the next round seems almost impossible.
The last edition of the Asian games saw India progress from the group stages, but falter in the Pre-Quarter Finals against Japan . In the 2010 Asian Games they progressed from a group consisting of Qatar , Athletes from Quwait and Singapore .They progressed at the expense of Singapore .This year with all the problems surrounding the sending of the Indian Football Contingent to the Asian Games ,failing to get a single point on the board will definitely not help the case of the A.I.F.F.
Wim Koevermans has to take the blame for the defeat against U.A.E. , his tactics and team selection has always been in doubt but the recent defeats against Pakistan and U.A.E. have put him under the spotlight once again and that will definitely be one thing, that will be in his mind while India face Jordan.
Keeping the U.A.E. game in mind one has to think of a spectacular turnaround for India to win against Jordan .Jordan have been eliminated from the group stages in the last two editions of the Asian Games , Finishing with 1 point in the 2010 and 2014 editions , but are looking forward to top the group this time around . A draw against india will guarantee them top spot and going from group stage exit to top the group containing last edition’s runner’s-up has been an incredible rise. The senior team has also made meteoric rise in recent years as they reached the Intercontinental play-offs of the 2014 Fifa World Cup, and with the recent victory over U.A.E. , the u-23 team has shown that their countries future is also bright .
Jordan will go into their match against India with progression in mind and Jordan coach Abu Abed Jamal Ahmad , will definitely make sure his squad does’nt become complecent and make sure they get all the 3 points . Jordan if they do qualify will have their best Asian Games campaign , as they have never made it past the group stages .Meanwhile Wim Koevermans will be hoping his Team fights for pride as they take on Jordan and give fans back home a reason to smile .But if India are to take anything away from a Jordan side, which will be full of confidence after winning their opening group stage game , they will have to put in a performance that will be a shadow of their performances against U.A.E. and Pakistan. Hopefully Wim can uplift the mood in the dressing room and lift his players, for a match that can atleast restore pride for the country.
Key Players to Watch Out For :
India: Francis Fernandez, Lalrindike Ralte , Semilen Doungel, Sunil Chhetri and, Robin Singh.
Jordan: Mohammed Abu Nabhan, Ahmad Al-Essawi, Ahmad Israiwah, Yazan Thalj and, Sameer Suleiman.
Best Performance :
INDIA : GOLD MEDAL (1951,1962)
JORDAN : GROUP STAGE(2006, 2010)