We have nothing to lose but a hell of a lot to gain: Stimac on Qatar match

Bhubaneswar: Head coach Igor Stimac said on Monday that India have nothing to lose but a hell of a lot to gain in their FIFA World Cup 2026 round 2 qualifier against Asian champions Qatar here on Tuesday. India’s 1-0 win over Kuwait on November 16 will certainly boost their confidence but Stimac made it clear that “Qatar are out of our league”, although the home side will be looking to draw inspiration from their famous goalless display against Asia. champions four years ago.

“The Kuwait match was the most important match in our qualifiers in this group. We had an away win against our direct opponent for the second spot,” said Stimac at the pre-match press conference.

“We are very realistic, we know that Qatar is out of our league. But we also know that this is football, the most beautiful game in the world that provides opportunities and this is our opportunity.”

Stimac urged his players to treat Tuesday’s game at the Kalinga Stadium like any other game and do their best.

“We all know their strength and what they are capable of and how they destroyed Afghanistan a few days back,” said Stimac, referring to Qatar’s 8-1 win over Afghanistan in their earlier match on November 16 .

“It’s a game like any other, that’s what my players have to accept and prepare for. All we can do is give our best. For. So, let’s go to it.” Without thinking about the past result: Sandhu


Goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, who captained the Indian team that played the famous 0-0 draw in Doha on September 10, 2019, said he is not thinking about the past result now.

“It will be a challenge because they are a quality side. But there is nothing to fear, but to give our best.

“We are playing at home and we have to use this advantage to go to the maximum, give a good fight and hope for the best,” said Sandhu, adding that no one is thinking about the results of the time has passed.

In that drawn match in Doha four years ago, India survived waves of Qatari attacks and Sandhu produced 11 saves and saw the man standing come to his rescue once.

“I would love maximum points for the least possible work. I want the players to get on the scoreboard and we get the win, which is much better for me than me making a lot of saves,” he said.

The talismanic striker Suni Chhetri did not play that match as he was indisposed. But he will, as usual, be a central player on Tuesday.

“Having Sunil is always a bonus, no doubt about that,” Sandhu said.

“In the last four years, a lot of players have developed and played a lot of football together and they are maturing.

“Forget what happened four years ago, let us move on. We are a different team now, we are a better team. We have to go out without any fear and give our all. ”

The team has made great progress in the four years since the Qatar 2019 match: Stimac


“It was the beginning of a process. Now four years later, we can say that the process of rebuilding the team is complete but it will never stop,” said the Croatian, who took charge of the team only a few months before the 2019 draw in Qatar.

“We have many more players who are competitors for the national team positions. We can go to different options within the game. We are still in love with the 4-2-3-1 or 4-3 formation -3 depending. on the opponent.”

Stimac said the team’s consistency and good level of performance was also evident.

“When you play 11 games in a row without losing, you don’t lose a game against Iraq (in the King’s Cup in Thailand), you are obviously consistent.”

He also aired his frustrations with the poor referee – albeit without commenting on anything – during India’s match against Malaysia in the Merdeka Cup last month. India lost that match 2-4.

“I will not go back and mention the tournament in Malaysia (Merdeka) because I have nothing good to say about it. It is not about my team, my players but about what happened there,” he said.

“It is sad that my work and the work of my boys… commitment and hunger depend on a few poor people who were (were) planning on a certain day to destroy all our work in recent years.

“With one bad decision or a bad decision, because that changes 10 positions in the ratings, imagine that and I judge the ratings at the end of the day.”

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