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AFC Asian Cup 2019: Stephen Constantine - India one step away from making history

9:47 PM IST 13/01/19
Stephen Constantine
The India manager believes India deserve to be in the position they are in at the continental stage...

India's best finish at the AFC Asian Cup might be in 1964 as runners-up but the tournament in Israel was a four-team affair, following a round-robin format.

In the current format of groups and then knockouts, the Blue Tigers have gone home early twice - 1984 and 2011. But, Stephen Constantine's men have more than a chance to make it to the Asian Cup knockouts for the first-time ever.

India only need a point from the game against Bahrain on Monday for safe passage into the Round of 16s and Englishman could not be more pleased with his unit. "We've done a tremendous job in the last four years. Credit goes to the backroom staff and we have a fantastic team behind the team," he said.

When the 56-year-old took over the job in March 2015, the aim was to qualify for the Asian Cup, let alone go a step further. But, as things stand, the Blue Tigers might be on their way to the next stage.

"I am absolutely over the moon that we have qualified (for the Asian Cup). India deserves this, I have said this before and now we are one step away from qualifying to the last 16 which will be massive for Indian football as a whole."

India have beaten Thailand 4-1 before going down to hosts UAE 2-0. They now face Bahrain, who held UAE 1-1 but slipped against Thailand 1-0.

Talking about the game and its importance, the former Rwanda coach commented, "I think it's going to be a huge opportunity for us to make history again tomorrow. That is what we will try and do. But, we will have a tough game for sure."

India and Bahrain lock horns at the Sharjah Stadium in the final Group A game at 9:30 PM IST on Monday.