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Indian National Football Team: Know Your Rivals - Myanmar

04:37 GMT 13/11/2017
Myanmar India Asian Cup Qualification 2017
Goal tells you everything you need to know about the Blue Tigers' opponents in Group A of the 2019 Asian Cup third round qualifiers...

Quick Facts

Country: Myanmar

FIFA Ranking: 155

Nickname: The White Angels

Last official match played:  Myanmar 2-1 Cambodia (9 November 2017)

Coach:  Gerd Zeise

Team Highlights

A jewel of the Indian subcontinent, the Myanmar national football team's fortunes have mirrored the nation's political fluctuations over the past half a century. Burma as it was formerly known, was once a regional powerhouse in the ASEAN (AFF) sub-division of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC).

In their cabinet are two Asian Games gold medals (1966 & 1970) and five consecutive South East Asian Games titles from 1965 to 1973. In their only Asian Cup appearance in 1968, Burma finished runners-up to hosts Iran. Post the golden era, they fared miserably until they reached the semi-finals of the AFF Suzuki Cup last year in their tenth attempt.

Their youngsters made a name for themselves as well on the world stage when they reached the 2015 FIFA U-20 World Cup after some stunning displays in the 2014 AFC U-19 Championship where they managed to reach the last four.

The senior team, however, did not even participate in the previous Asian Cup qualifiers as they were still categorized as an emerging country. They have seen some positive results since last year including a 1-1 draw in Lebanon during the second round of the 2018 World Cup/2019 Asian Cup joint qualifiers.

Pitted against India, Kyrgyzstan and Macau in Group A of the 2019 AFC Asian Cup third qualifying round, Myanmar are now placed third with three games to go in the group while only the top two qualify for the finals in UAE in January 2019.

Lessons from the past

INDIA vs MYANMAR 18 5 3 10 18 39 -21

Interestingly, one of India's worst losses came against Myanmar back in 1971. India were actually a dominant force in Asia then and Burma were fresh off their successful Asian Games gold defence in 1971. A 9-1 result in favour of the Burmese kick-started India's descent from there on.

During the last millennium, Burma and India faced off 14 times where the  Blue Tigers  managed to win only twice and were beaten nine times including that fateful night in Kuala Lumpur on Independence Day 1971. However, since being re-christened as Myanmar, three meetings have seen India win twice with a game going Myanmar's way.

A 2-1 win in the 2004 LG Cup in Vietnam followed up with a 1-0 victory on home soil during the 2008 AFC Challenge Cup at the Gachibowli Stadium in Hyderabad.

In the last two encounters, both at the Thuwunna Stadium, Myanmar beat India 1-0 in the qualification for the 2014 AFC Challenge Cup. On  28 March earlier this year, Sunil Chhetri's stoppage-time goal secured all three points in the reverse fixture.

Predicted Line-up

Gerd Zeise took over the senior squad following his success with the U-20 side, replacing Raddy Avramovic last October. The German has worked well with talented youngsters like Nanda Kyaw, Aung Thu and Than Paing drafting them into his squad to play alongside the experienced Kyi Lin, Yan Aung Kyaw and Kyaw Ko Ko.

Like other mainland-based South East Asian teams, speed and high determination are the main characteristics of Myanmar which will be boosted by combination of skilful players. However, the squad usually lacks discipline in the defensive lineup.

Zeise's side got a morale boosting 2-1 victory at home against Cambodia in a friendly. Fringe players Zin Min Tun, Hlaing Bo Bo and Thet Naing along with goalkeeper Kyaw Zin Htet who started against the fellow ASEAN side are expected to give way to much established names like Thiha Sithu, David Htan, Thein Than Win and Tin Win Aung against India.

Players To Watch Out For 

Kyaw Ko Ko : Despite being only 24, the forward is already the jewel in the national team. The Yangon United star has the ability to remain composed no matter what the situation is and that is what makes him such a potent scorer. He is also blessed with a good right foot, while his control and array of dribbling skills give him the ability to navigate out of tight situations and craft goal-scoring chances on his own.

Aung Thu: The youngster is a frighteningly brilliant prospect for Myanmar. Having played a major role in the U-19 squad, Aung Thu belongs from the class of 2015, where he helped the team with his performance to qualify for their maiden U-20 World Cup. The 20-year-old striker is in a rich vein of form given he has four goals in his last seven appearances.

Full Squad

GOALKEEPERS:  Thiha Sithu, Kyaw Zin Htet, San Sat Naing;

DEFENDERS:  Win Min Htut, David Htan, Zaw Min Tun, Hein Thiha Zaw, Thein Than Win, Thiha Htet Aung, Htike Htike Aung, Kyaw Zin Lwin;

MIDFIELDERS:  Yan Aung Kyaw  [Captain] , Tin Win Aung, Yan Naing Oo, Si Thu Aung, Maung Maung Lwin, Hlaing Bo Bo, Zin Min Tun, Kyi Linn;

FORWARDS:  Aung Thu, Kyaw Ko Ko, Thet Naing, Than Paing.

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