Between June 2016 and October 2017, the Indian national team picked up five back-to-back wins away from home soil. That was the first time in 15 years that the Blue Tigers had won consecutive away matches.
India have consistently struggled away from home throughout the years, as compared to their performances at home. In India, the team has lost just three matches in their last 16 games. Their last away win, before the Asian Cup victory against Thailand, came against Macao in September 2017 in the Asian Cup qualifiers. For a team looking to improve their ranking and seeking World Cup participation, it is about time that they improved their away displays.
Defeating Thailand at their own turf should act as a big boost for India and head coach Igor Stimac. India dealt with the pressure of playing against the hosts well. It is not to say that India are suddenly well-equipped to handle top teams in the AFC region but at some point, the team has to start matching up against the big guns of Asia and also travel more.
It is not that wins at home aren't important. A strong home record is vital to any team. But when the team also performs well during their travels, the confidence of the players improves manifold and it is a sign of progress.
India's last two wins away from home came against Thailand. Under Stephen Constantine, the team registered a thumping 4-1 win in the AFC Asian Cup in January and more recently, Igor Stimac's second game in charge of the team saw India come away with a 1-0 victory. India have two wins in their last eight away fixtures but this includes goalless draws against Oman and China as well.
The World Cup-Asian Cup joint qualifier second round, in which India are set to play, will commence in September. Before that, India's only games will be at the Intercontinental Cup. Once Igor Stimac gets to grips with the strengths and weaknesses of the current crop of players, one of his priorities, in order to take India to the next level, will be to play against higher quality oppositions on foreign soil.