India to take on Oman in Asian Cup tune up

The Indian national football team will play an international friendly against Oman on December 27, ahead of the 2019 AFC Asian Cup.

India last played Oman in the FIFA 2018 World Cup Qualifiers (in 2015) and lost 1-2 in Bengaluru and 0-4 in Muscat.   -  K. Murali Kumar

The Indian national team will take on Oman in an international friendly on December 27, in Abu Dhabi as part of its preparation for the upcoming AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019.

As per the October FIFA Rankings, Oman is currently ranked 84 in comparison to India on 97.

All India Football Federation (AIFF) General Secretary Kushal Das said it is pertinent that the national team plays “stronger oppositions” in its quest to prepare for the Asian Cup.

“Oman are a very strong team. We were drawn against them in the FIFA 2018 World Cup Qualifiers and are aware of their quality and strength. It will be the perfect test for our boys as they gear up for the Asian Cup,” Das said.

“I need to thank the Oman Football Federation for agreeing to play the match in Abu Dhabi,” he added.

National coach Stephen Constantine highlighted the “need to strike a rhythm.”

"It's now a question of trying to establish a rhythm and making sure we all know what we have to do. In our last game against Jordan, the circumstances were exceptional and that was a good learning experience for all the players,” he said.

Constantine further explained that Oman will be very similar to Bahrain and UAE, both of whom India will be facing in the group stage of AFC Asian Cup.

“Oman will be in some ways very similar to Bahrain and UAE which is why we wanted to play them so that we can get a good idea of what we are going to face in the group stages,” he stated.

India last played Oman in the FIFA 2018 World Cup Qualifiers (in 2015) and lost 1-2 in Bengaluru and 0-4 in Muscat. Constantine, however, said that the team is a "completely different" outfit now.

"After 3 years, we are a completely different team and I believe we are getting better. It should be a great game for us,” he mentioned.

India will play Thailand in its first match of the AFC Asian Cup at the Al Nahyan Stadium on January 6, 2018.

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