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Thu. Apr 25th, 2024

India’s national football team coach, Igor Stimac, has sounded the alarm ahead of their Asian Cup opener against Australia, cautioning his players about the formidable challenge posed by the physically imposing Australian side.

The Graham Arnold-led team is considered among the favorites and is particularly potent in set-piece situations, with defender Harry Souttar boasting an impressive record of 10 goals in 21 international appearances.

Stimac acknowledged the difficulty of the upcoming match, emphasizing the strength of the Australian team during a press conference in Doha on Friday. When questioned about countering Australia’s threat from dead-ball situations, the Croatian coach humorously remarked, “Don’t give away set pieces. Obviously.” He went on to analyze Australia’s playing style, describing it as pragmatic, with a focus on exploiting their strengths through flanking maneuvers and delivering numerous crosses into the box.

Anticipating a challenging encounter, Stimac outlined his tactical approach, emphasizing the need for his team to stay compact and effectively thwart Australia’s offensive strategies. He identified preventing distribution to the flanks as a key defensive priority, and failing that, ensuring effective measures to halt crosses into their penalty area.

Despite the daunting task ahead, Stimac affirmed that India would adhere to their football philosophy, even if it meant sacrificing immediate results. The former West Ham and Derby defender expressed a commitment to an expansive style of play, stating, “We didn’t come here to defend on the edge of the box.” He emphasized the team’s intent to enjoy football on the field, even if defeat were to occur, confident that his players would give their all during the match.

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