Jeje to lead India against Iran

India lies at the bottom of its qualifying group with just three points from six matches.

India last beat Iran 57 years ago in 1959.   -  AIFF

India will take on Iran in a 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifier on March 24 (Thursday) as it aims to salvage some pride from what has been an extremely disappointing campaign.

“Playing Iran in Iran is as tough as it can get,” said coach Stephen Constantine. “It’s like David vs Goliath on the field. Iran are the giants of Asia. We have huge respect for Iran. We understand that we will be without the ball for most part of the match. We will try to stop them. We will fight and try to get something out from the match.”

“We have four key players missing. We are a young side. On paper, we have nothing to lose. We will give everything which we have. If we can take anything out of this game it will be a bonus.”

Striker Jeje Lalpekhlua has been named captain in place of the injured Sunil Chhetri. “Tomorrow will be a difficult game for us. But we are here to fight and aim to take something out of the game,” he said.

At 44 on the FIFA Rankings, Iran are the highest ranked team in Asia and have consistently qualified for the World Cup. Several of their established players are either playing, or have played in Europe and some of the new ones are regularly in the news with top European clubs expressing interest.