FIFA Ranking: 173
Nicknames: Kouprey Blue
Last official match played: Cambodia 2-7 Saudia Arabia (14th January, 2017)
Coach: Leonardo Vitorino
Situated off the Gulf of Thailand, Cambodia historically embodies the vast cultural spread of ancient India and is most famously known for the Hindu temples of Angkor Wat and Bayon.
However, football-wise a considerate gap separates India and Khmer Republic, as it was known formerly. Part of the ASEAN division of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC), Cambodia are ranked 173rd in the world, 41 places below the Blue Tigers (132nd).
Their one and only entry into the Asian Cup in 1974 yielded a fourth placed finish and they have never gone beyond the group stages of ASEAN Competitions. After an eight-year absence, Cambodia qualified for the 2016 AFF Suzuki Cup last November but three defeats saw them finish bottom of their group which consisted of eventual winners Thailand.
Like India, Cambodia remain in the race to qualify for the 2019 AFC Asian Cup - for the first time since 2007 as they previously were considered as an emerging country by the AFC and were rendered ineligible to enter the main qualifying draw. They managed to pull off a heroic performance depite losing 3-0 to Japan at Saitama Stadium in September 2015 during their eight winless games in the second round campaign of Asian Cup/World Cup joint qualifiers.
Cambodia face a stiff task as they are pooled with Jordan, Vietnam and Afghanistan in Group C in the third qualification round for entry into Asia's flagship competition. The current Angkor Warriors squad has a youthful look with most of the players in their early 20s but already have huge international experiences in their kitty.
|Lessons from the past|
|HEAD - TO - HEAD||PLAYED||INDIA WINS||DRAWS||CAMBODIA WINS||GOALS BY INDIA||GOALS BY CAMBODIA||GOAL DIFFERENCE [INDIA]|
|INDIA vs CAMBODIA||4||3||0||1||14||3||+11|
The last time India faced the South-east Asian nation was in the 2007 Nehru Cup opener at the Ambedkar Stadium in New Delhi. The scoreline read 6-0 in favour of the hosts. Current skipper and then youngster, Sunil Chhetri netted a brace; so did Steven Dias.
NP Pradeep also scored from a long-ranger and skipper Bhaichung Bhutia added one from the spot. The half-a-dozen goal spanking nine and a half years ago still remains India's largest victory by margin of goals at home.
Brazilian manager Leonardo Vitorino is taking over the reins from South Korean's Lee Tae-Hoon for the first time ever since his appointment earlier this month. The Lanexang United boss is expected to retain the majority of the side that was thrashed 2-7 at Abu Dhabi in January. Lack of options hampers Vitorino's cards for selections but he will be relieved that both Chan Vathanaka and Thierry Bin will be back with the squad after they missed the last match in UAE.
The players will be familiar with the formation Vitorino will deploy with a quick combination of short and long passes, and they usually play with high determination. Their main problem is on the defensive line especially when facing the aerial threat.
|Players To Watch Out For|
Chan Vathanaka: A Cambodian superstar in his own right, Vathanaka is considered to be the best footballer of the soil after the retirement of yesteryear hero Hok Sochetra. The 23-year-old winger, who joined Japanese (J3) side Fujieda MYFC this season, is capable of operating anywhere across the front line, off the shoulder as a second striker or in behind as an attacking midfielder, Vathanaka possesses electric pace off the mark and a powerful upper body which allows him to brush past defenders with ease. He already has 10 goals in 28 international appearances.
Thierry Chantha Bin: Namesake of Arsenal legend Thierry Henry, Bin was actually born in France to Cambodian parents and decided to plead allegiance to his homeland. Along with Vathanaka, Bin is one of the two Cambodians who ply their trade outside of the nation. The midfielder plays for second division Thai club Krabi. Bin is a product of RC Strasbourg, old stomping grounds of Morgan Schneiderlin and Raymond Domenech.
GOALKEEPERS: 1. Um Sereyroth [Captain], 21. Oum Outdom, 22. Keo Soksela;
DEFENDERS: 2. Pom Tola, 3. Sor Piseth, 5. Soeuy Visal, 6. Samoeun Pidor, 13. Nub Tola, 14. Seut Baraing, 20. Chhom Pisa, 26. Rous Samoeun;
MIDFIELDERS: 8. Hoy Phallin, 12. Sos Suhana, 15. Tith Dina, 16. Chrerng Polroth, 17. Ol Ravy, 19. Cheng Meng, 23. Thierry Chantha Bin;
FORWARDS: 7. Prak Mony Udom, 9. Khoun Laboravy, 10. Keo Sokpheng, 11. Chan Vathanaka, 18. Suong Virak.
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