Two greatest nations of the Asian sub-continent are facing each other after 21 years at Suzhou, near Shanghai for a friendly football match. The soccer sleeping giants meet on Saturday for the first time since 1997 and this is Indian national squad’s first visit to China.
Even though India and China are the most populated countries of the world, they couldn’t shine their professional football games in the international levels yet. This friendly is a huge deal for both the countries that are strengthening themselves in the domestic leagues in the past years.
Stephan Constantine, the English coach guiding the Indian team believes this friendly international will be the indicator to the team’s progress for the upcoming AFC Asian Cup. To the media, he told, ”You play for India and you take it seriously. You are representing 1.4 Billion people. I can’t tell you the importance that I put in these games, friendly or unfriendly.”
Constantine could lift up India from No.173 in FIFA’s world ranking to No.97 which is 21 places still behind China and secured a spot at the Asian Cup. China, on the other hand, was disqualified for the 2018 World Cup and hugely criticized for their loss to Qatar in September.
Playing China, who had once reached the finals of the Asia Cup will definitely help the Indian squad to know the standards and what to expect at UAE in January.