Need to win against Bangladesh to keep World Cup dream on, says Stimac
India take on neighbouring Bangladesh in their third 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifier game on Tuesday (15 October) at the Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan stadium in Kolkata.
Having secured a point in their two games so far, Indian coach Igor Stimac believes that his side would need a win to keep the World Cup qualification dream alive.
“The Bangladesh match will be very different from the last two matches we played. Against Oman and Qatar, we were not the favourites. No one backed us to get positive results. But now, the pressure is on us. We are ready and our expectation is to win the game because winning will give us a chance to keep dreaming and go to the matches in November with a positive mindset,” said the Croat at the pre-match press conference.
Bangladesh head coach Jamie Day, on the other hand, believed that his team could spring a surprise against the hosts, but acknowledged that they would need to start off well to have any chance of accruing a positive result.
“We are looking forward to playing in a packed stadium. We need to silence the crowd and for that, we need to start off playing well. I have told the players it's a fantastic opportunity to showcase their skills and how much they have progressed.
“With 65,000 or so people cheering India on, we cannot afford to fall behind early on. We need to be defensively strong and stay in the game as long as possible," said the Englishman.
Since Stimac was appointed as head coach of the Indian football team a few months back, there has been a significant change in the team’s tactics and style of play. The former Croatian defender has pushed for a more possession-based approach, laying emphasis on building from the back and passing the ball around.
Asked on how his team has adapted thus far to this new approach, Stimac replied, “I am satisfied with the goals we have achieved in such a short time. We didn't have much time, but we did exceptionally well. We have shown everyone that India can play organised and disciplined football.
“I feel lucky that we found great young players - not only in relation to technical abilities but in respect to who they are. They are great human beings, great characters and they are led by great examples in the team. Such a great combination of youngsters and experience has given us a chance to keep dreaming."
Following the resolute goalless draw away from home against Qatar, India will be confident on making the most of their home advantage and registering their first win of the campaign, especially with captain Sunil Chhetri returning to the squad.