If Thailand was big, India are faced with a bigger test in hosts United Arab Emirates in the AFC Asian Cup on Thursday, overcoming whom will require them to play out of their skins. Four days after creating a flutter with a stunning 4-1 drubbing of Thailand, India are now looking an upbeat lot in the continental showpiece. While the result against Thailand, who have three J-League players in their ranks, was no mean feat, it will be a bigger achievement if the Indians are able to put it across the hosts who are gunning for the title.
Currently ranked 79th to India’s 97th, the United Arab Emirates were placed as high as 24 in the FIFA chart in January 2015. Coach Stephen Constantine will be pleased with how the second half against Thailand turned out. India not only managed to shut down a lethal Thai attack after being tied 1-1 at the break, but also threatened at the other end through quick transitions in attack.
That stupendous show earned India three valuable points, a place on top of the group and a goal average of plus three. “We have a very young side here and they are excited. Of course, hosts UAE will be a different game. They are a very good side but they are just another team standing in our way,” said Constantine.