SAFF Championship – India take on Kuwait in the Quest for Regional Glory


As the sun sets on the 27th of June, 2023, the Sree Kanteerava Stadium in Bengaluru will be abuzz with anticipation. The SAFF Championship Group A decider is upon us, and it’s the heavyweight clash between India and Kuwait. Both teams have already secured their spots in the semifinals, but the top spot in the group is still up for grabs. A win for India is a must, while a draw would suffice for Kuwait, thanks to their superior goal tally. The Indian national team, also known as the Blue Tigers, will need to bring their A-game against a Kuwait side that has been in excellent form.

Recent Form

Kuwait, coached by Rui Bento, has secured two back-to-back wins in the SAFF Championship against Nepal and Pakistan with scores of 3-1 and 4-0, respectively. They have been undefeated in their last seven matches, including two unofficial friendlies against Zambia B and Sudan. Kuwait has been in good form, showcasing their quality and depth in the tournament. Their attacking prowess and defensive solidity have been key factors in their success so far.

India vs Kuwait, SAFF Championship 2023

India enters the match on the back of a string of impressive performances. Under the guidance of coach Igor Stimac, the Indian team has displayed resilience and cohesion in their recent outings. Victories against strong opponents and solid performances in international friendlies have boosted their confidence heading into this crucial encounter. They have won the Hero Intercontinental Cup 2023 not even two weeks ago and coming into this championship with all the high spirits and confidence in the bag. It has been evident in their performances as they have managed to keep a clean sheet for both of their earlier group-stage matches.

India have been in stellar form this year, boasting eight clean sheets in a row. They’ve shown resilience and determination, most recently in their 2-0 victory over Nepal. However, they’ll need to step up their game against Kuwait, who have been nothing short of impressive in this tournament. Kuwait, ranked 143rd in the world, has been deceptive at best, notching up wins over higher-ranked opponents like Tajikistan, the Philippines, and the United Arab Emirates this year.

Head-to-Head Record

India and Kuwait have faced each other three times at the senior level, with Kuwait winning twice and India once. Kuwait has previously demonstrated dominance with two massive victories, 6-1 and 9-1, in their first and third meetings. This will be the fourth meeting between India and Kuwait. The last meeting was a friendly in Abu Dhabi in 2010, which Kuwait won 9-1. However, India’s sole victory came in a friendly in Kuwait City in 2004, where they won 3-2

India vs Kuwait, SAFF Championship 2023

Team News

India’s head coach Igor Stimac is set to return to the touchline after his one-match suspension. The team is expected to make a few changes to the starting lineup, giving playing time to peripheral squad members while resting key players like Sunil Chhetri. Kuwait, under Portuguese head coach Rui Bento, has been in fine form, as we saw in their win over Pakistan they have tried to keep their players warmed-up and provided playing time to a majority of the bench.

As of now, there have been no reports of injuries or suspensions for either team. Both teams are expected to field their strongest line-ups.

Probable Starting Line-ups

India – Gurpreet Singh Sandhu (GK), Nikhil Poojary, Sandesh Jhingan (C), Anwar Ali, Akash Mishra, Anirudh Thapa, Sahal Samad, Jeakson Singh, Mahesh Singh, Chhangte, Udanta Singh

Kuwait – Baader Bin Saanoun (GK), Hasan Alanezoi, Abdalla Albloushi, Khaled Hajiah (C), Sultan Alenezi, Eid Alrashidi, Mobarak Alfareeni, Ali Matar, Mahdi Dashti, Ali Muhaisen, Salman Mohammed.

IFTWC’s Predictions

Given Kuwait’s recent form and India’s home advantage, this match is expected to be closely contested. Kuwait’s Mobarak Alfareeni and Sultan Alenezi are players to watch out for. Mobarak Alfareeni, a forward, has been in excellent form, while Sultan Alenezi has been instrumental in Kuwait’s defence. India always have their very own marksman to look out for no matter the stage – Sunil Chhetri, who completed a hattrick at the start of the SAFF campaign against the neighbours Pakistan, then scored and set up a goal in the last match against Nepal has once again been in a record-breaking form on the national level. The likes of Mahesh Singh, Sahal Samad and Lallianzuala Chhangte with their quick footedness and attacking mentality would also be posing a big threat to the Kuwait national team’s defense.

India vs Kuwait, SAFF Championship 2023

India’s strong defensive unit, coupled with their attacking prowess, could provide them with an edge. However, Kuwait’s resilience and ability to capitalize on counter-attacks make them a formidable opponent. It could come down to a battle of tactics and individual brilliance to decide the outcome of this gripping encounter. Football fans can expect a thrilling battle as both teams vie for supremacy and look to secure a significant victory in their quest for regional glory.

IFTWC predicts a high-scoring match with both teams finding the back of the net. The match could go either way, but a draw is also a possibility.

The match is scheduled for 27th June 2023, at 7:30 PM at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium in Bengaluru. Football enthusiasts can catch the live action on DD Sports and FanCode.

Follow IFTWC for the latest updates on Indian Football

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