Asian Cup: Australia vs. India Match Preview and Predictions
Australia’s Asian Cup campaign gets underway on Saturday at Ahmed bin Ali Stadium against India.
After winning all three of their third-round matches and finishing first in their Asian qualification group in the second round, India qualified for the tournament for the second time in a row, while the Socceroos will be participating for the fifth time in this competition.
With their impressive performance at the last World Cup, where they advanced to the round of 16, the Socceroos are coming into this tournament with higher hopes than when they punched their way into the 2023 Asian Cup years ago.
Due to Graham Arnold’s ability to get the most out of this team, Australia has won their previous five competitive games against Asian nations, including a 2-0 victory against Bahrain last weekend.
They have defeated their last three Asian opponents by a total score of 10-0, and they have not lost to an opponent from that region since March 2022 (a 1-0 loss to Saudi Arabia).
Since their debut in this competition in 2007, the Socceroos have advanced past the group stage every time. Four years ago, they won all three of their group matches.
The Australians, who are now rated 25th in FIFA’s Asia rankings, are expected to challenge for the championship, as they did in 2015 when they hosted the tournament at home and finished second in Qatar (2011) the last time it was held there.
This was the Socceroos’ first big tournament loss in Al Rayyan, when they defeated 2-1 to Argentina in the 2022 World Cup quarterfinals.
India has qualified for consecutive Asian Cups for the first time in their football history, giving up just one goal in the qualifying round’s third round.
However, it seems that their manager, Igor Stimac, is less concerned with making sure his team advances to the third round of 2026 World Cup qualification and is instead downplaying the significance of this competition.
With just one goal in their first two games, the Blue Tigers are currently tied with Kuwait for second place in Group A of World Cup qualification, but they are behind on goal differential.
India had a tremendously successful year in which they won the Tri-Nation Series, the InterContinental Cup, and the South Asian Federation Football Championship.
The Blue Tigers have not fared well in this competition, only progressing past the Asian Cup group stage once, finishing as runners-up in 1964.
Four years ago, they lost their final group match to Bahrain on a penalty converted in the 91st minute, only minutes away from making the round of 16.
The last time the Blue Tigers beat the Socceroos on the international scene was in a friendly match in December 1956, when they trounced them 7-1. That was a very long time ago.
Australia form (all competitions):
D L W W W W
India form (all competitions):
W W L W L
Against Bahrain, Gethin Jones earned his first cap for the Socceroos, starting at right-back before Nathaniel Atkinson took his place late in the second half. John Iredale and Patrick Yazbek, on the other hand, were not utilised as substitutes and are still vying for their maiden senior team debuts.
Last weekend, Joe Gauci made just his second appearance in goal for the national team, recording his first clean sheet. Matthew Ryan, who has 87 caps, is one cap behind Alex Tobin for fifth place all-time. Meanwhile, Middlesbrough’s Samuel Silvera made his first-ever start for Australia.
Before Al-Wehda striker Mitchell Duke scored his 12th goal for his country, a Craig Goodwin cross forced Bahraini defender Amine Benadi to score an own goal.
Nikhil Poojary, Sandesh Jhingan, Rahul Bheke, Suresh Singh Wangjam, Lalengmawia Ralte, and captain Sunil Chhetri were the only members of the Indian starting eleven to remain in the starting lineup for both matches. Stimac made numerous changes to the starting 11 between the team’s first and second World Cup qualification matches.
Deepak Tangri and Vikram Partap Singh will be vying for their first caps for the national team, Lalchungnunga made his debut as a senior in their previous match against Qatar (a 3-0 loss), while Udanta Singh Kumam is two caps shy of achieving 50.
In their triumph over Kuwait in November of last year, Manvir Singh scored his sixth goal for his country, and Gurpreet Singh Sandhu kept a clean sheet.
Australia possible starting lineup:
Gauci; Atkinson, Souttar, Burgess, Bos; McGree, O’Neill, Irvine, Goodwin; Duke, Boyle
India possible starting lineup:
Sandhu; Poojary, Jhingan, Bheke, Bose; Wangjam, Ralte; N. Singh, Samad, Chhangte; Chhteri
Our predictions for this match 2-1 won by Australia