With India set to take on Saudi Arabia in their first qualifier for the AFC Asian Under-19 Football Championship, Goal takes a look at how the country has fared over the years in a bid to qualify for the main tournament.
The tournament which started as the AFC Youth Championship in 1959, was held every year until 1978 before transitioning into a biennial event in 1980.
India did not participate in the tournament in the first four editions of the Championship. 1963 was the first time they entered a team in the Championship as they crashed out in the group-stages of the tournament held in Malaysia.
|1959||Malaysia||Did not participate|
|1960||Malaysia||Did not participate|
|1961||Thailand||Did not participate|
|1962||Thailand||Did not participate|
|1964||South Vietnam||Yes||Group Stages|
|1968||South Korea||Yes||Group Stages|
|1969||Thailand||Did not participate|
|1970||Philippines||Did not participate|
This was a period where there were no qualifiers played and teams participated directly in the main tournament. Qualification for the Championship was introduced in 1980.
|1985||United Arab Emirates||No|
|1986||Saudi Arabia||Yes||Group Stages|
|1988||Qatar||Did not participate|
|1992||United Arab Emirates||Yes||Group Stages|
|1994||Indonesia||Did not participate|
|1996||South Korea||Yes||Group Stages|
|2012||United Arab Emirates||No|
Since 1980, qualifiers were introduced for the AFC U-19 Championships which was positioned as a 16-team tournament and India has managed to make it to the main event in eight out of the 19 editions held since. They did not participate in 1994 despite having topped their qualifying group nor did they enter the tournament in 1988.
India qualified as hosts of the 2006 edition but have failed to qualify post that edition in five attempts.
India's noteable qualifcation attempts
India were drawn with neighbours Pakistan and Sri Lanka in a three-team Group 5 of the qualifiers. They went on to win both the games to top the group and secure their qualification. However, India ultimately withdrew from the tournament and did not participate in the main event.
India were drawn with Turkmenistan and Kyrgyzstan in Group H of the qualifiers. They went on to finish in second place with a solitary point but Turkmenistan's withdrawal from the tournament gave India a chance to replace them at the main event.
In 2008, India were pitted in a tough Group B comprising of six teams in the qualifiers held in Iran. India would ultimately finish fourth in the group to miss out on the main event.
Despite the disappointment of missing out, India famously beat Pakistan 5-0 in Tehran to secure a famous victory over their neighbours.
India once again finished fourth in a six-team Group C of the qualifiers held in Iraq to miss out on the main event. After suffering losses against Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Oman, India completed convicing 4-1 and 3-0 victories over Afghanistan and Kuwait to finish on a high.
Drawn in a five-team Group C for the qualifiers along with Pakistan, India endured a dismal run salvaging just one victory amongst three defeats to miss out on the main event. All the matches were held in Tehran, Iran.
India's sole victory in the group came against Turkmenistan in its opening game but they went on to taste defeats in all their remaining games including against Pakistan.
India were drawn in a five-team Group A of the qualifiers held in Qatar. They ultimately finished third in the group to miss out as the top two teams booked their slot in the main event.
A lone victory against Nepal wasn't enough for India to finish top-two in the group as defeats to Qatar and Uzbekistan dashed their hopes for a berth in the main event.
India were drawn in a four-team Group C of the qualifiers held in Palestine. Only the winner of the group was assured of a spot in the finals but India performed dismally to finsh bottom last with zero points in its kitty.
|United Arab Emirates||3||3||0||0||15||0||+15||9|