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AFC Asian Cup

AFC Asian Cup: How can India qualify for the knockout stages?

05:30 GMT+3 13/01/2019
India vs UAE Halicharan
With one last group game remaining, we take a look at how India can progress to the knockout stages of the continental tournament...

After falling to 2-0 defeat at the hands of hosts UAE, India have dropped down to the second spot in Group A with three points from two games.

Now the Blue Tigers face a vital clash against Bahrain on Monday, with their qualification hopes hinging on it. Even if India do not manage to finish in the top two spots, the format of the tournament allows for four of the six third-placed teams to go through and Stephen Constantine's team will fancy themselves.

Let's now take a look at the various possibilities for India ahead of their final group game:

Scenario 1: India beat Bahrain

If India manage to beat Bahrain, then irrespective of the result of the match between UAE and Thailand, the Blue Tigers will go through to the Round of 16 with six points from two matches. 

Only a UAE win over Thailand will deny India the top spot in Group A in this case. If UAE beat Thailand, they will have seven points and India will go through as runners-up.

Scenario 2: India and Bahrain draw

If the Blue Tigers manage to hold Bahrain, then they will qualify for the knockout stages despite the result of the UAE vs Thailand match.

A UAE win will mean they will go through as group winners with seven points and India second with four.

If UAE is held by Thailand, both India and the War Elephants will have four points each. In this case, UAE win the group and India will go through as second-placed team because of the head-to-head result favouring Constantine's men.

If Thailand beat UAE, they will win the group and UAE will go through as second-placed team. India will also go through as one of the best third-placed teams.

If you take a look at Group B, Syria and Palestine have a point each and can reach four points, same as India. But in Group C, Kyrgyzstan and Philippines are yet to open their accounts. They cannot match India even if they win their last match. Same case with Vietnam and Yemen in Group D, DPR Korea and Lebanon in Group E and Turkmenistan and Oman in Group F.

Scenario 3: Bahrain beat India

This is a far from ideal situation for India. If Bahrain beat India, the Blue Tigers cannot secure automatic progression and their best bet will be to wait on various results to go in their favour and go through as one of the best third-placed teams.

If Thailand manages to avoid defeat against UAE, India will finish bottom of the group and crash out.

If Thailand are beaten by UAE, India will be third and then hope they go through as one of the best third-placed teams.