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India to face Iraq in King’s Cup ahead of Asian Games 2023: All you need to know | Football News

The Indian men’s football team will lock horns with Iraq at the upcoming 49th edition of the King’s Cup 2023. The match will take place at the 700th Anniversary Stadium in Chiang Mai, Thailand on September 7, 2023.

File photo of the Indian football team celebrating after a goal(Twitter)
File photo of the Indian football team celebrating after a goal(Twitter)

Thailand will lock horns with Lebanon in the second match, which is scheduled for the evening on the same day.

The winners of both the matches will collide for the trophy, which will be played on September 10. The losers will meet in the third-place play-off.

The fixtures were decided after the draw ceremony, which was conducted by the Football Association of Thailand on Wednesday (August 16).

As per the draw mechanics, Iraq (as the highest FIFA-ranked team – 70th) and Thailand (as hosts and ranked 113th) were placed in separate match-ups, and drawn against the remaining two teams – India, ranked 99th, and Lebanon, ranked 100th.

India had last met Iraq in a friendly in Baghdad over a decade ago, which ended in a 0-2 defeat. However, a lot has changed since then, especially in the approach as witnessed in the recent tournaments.

With coach Igor Stimac at helm, India have switched to a more attacking display and the team is expected to maintain a similar approach irrespective of the opponent being much higher-ranked than them. The team, on the other hand, will be high on confidence having won the Intercontinental and SAFF titles in the span of a month.

What can we expect?

The tournament serves a good opportunity for the team to prepare for the Asian Games, which is an U 23 affair and only three players from the senior side are allowed. So Stimac would like to assemble a few players from the same age group to give them a dress rehearsal before the big tournament. The coach himself had discussed the same during an interview on the day men’s and women’s football teams got green signal for the Asian Games after plenty of requests by fans also the coach on social media.

No Sunil Chhetri

Meanwhile, the India men’s team skipper Sunil Chhetri has requested to be left out of the King’s Cup squad.

India’s record at Kings’s Cup

This will be India’s fourth participation in the King’s Cup in Thailand, with the most recent one coming in 2019. The team had then gone down to Curacao in the semifinals but finished with a 1-0 win against the hosts Thailand to win a bronze medal.

India had also won bronze in their first appearance in the tournament in 1977, defeating the likes of South Korea, Singapore and Indonesia. In 1981, India were eliminated in the group stage.

Official Fixtures of 49th King’s Cup 2023:

Iraq vs India (16:00 IST, September 7, 2023)

Thailand vs Lebanon (19:00 IST, September 7, 2023)

Third-place play-off (16:00 IST, September 10, 2023)

Final (19:00 IST, September 10, 2023)

All the matches will take place at the 700th Anniversary Stadium in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

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