After more than three years of qualifying suspense, Asia's best 24 teams finally discovered their AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 Group Stage challengers on Friday in a grand spectacle at the UAE's iconic Burj Khalifa.
The War Elephants are in Group A which is led by former champions and hosts the United Arab Emirates, with the other two countries in the group being India and Bahrain.
The tournament, which kicks off on January 5th 2019, will see UAE take on Bahrain, Thailand and India in Group A. The Italian manager felt that while it was a huge honour to host a tournament of this magnitude, the games would be tough for his team.
Jordan ended 2017 at 107th - a position they did not better throughout past year. Thailand hosted that tournament with only six teams participating. A total of eight venues will be used throughout the competition, with Abu Dhabi's Zayed Sports City Stadium hosting the final on February 1.
Since the draw, people have been hoping that India would make it to the knockouts considering their draw.
"I am pleased with it", said Rajevac, who attended the draw in Dubai.
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If they were to emerge on top of Group A they would then be paired with the third-placed finisher from one of the groups, where both the Philippines and Vietnam reside thus potentially setting up an all-Southeast Asian clash in the second round which would be huge for the region.
The Arjuna awardee believes that there is not much difference in the level of India and Thailand and with good planning, India can advance past the group stage. But I have good experience and I'm going to prepare the UAE team very well. We would also have to adjust our own style of play.
Being so close in the Ranking means that there will be ferocious battles in this group as all the teams are extremely capable sides in their own ways.
"Thailand are an improved side and they have shown their strength in the qualifiers and the recent King's Cup in Thailand".
Gurugram, May 6 Indian football team captain Sunil Chhetri today said that the country should play more worldwide matches away from home and against much stronger opponents in the next six months if it is to do well in the AFC Asian Cup tournament. I think they beat Australia at home if I am not wrong.