India will start as the underdogs as they face a resurgent Thailand in their AFC Asian cup 2019 opener on January 6, 2019. The Blue Tigers are the second highest ranked team in their pool but will start as the underdogs. Thailand is the lowest ranked team in the pool but they went to the latter part of world cup qualifiers and played some good football against top ranked teams recently.
Despite the low rank, Thailand are still the heavyweight over India considering their latest form.
Likely result: Thailand will win
What India will want: Holding on a draw
Next game vs UAE on January 10, 2019
Sunil Chhetri’s men will next face hosts UAE and this match is expected to be the toughest of all. The home team will be backed by the noisy fans shouting in the stadium and being the highest ranked team in the pool makes them the firm favourites to win the game against India and later top the pool.
Likely result: UAE will win
What India will want: To concede less goals
Last pool stage game vs Bahrain on January 14, 2019
India next faces Bahrain in their last pool match and this will be their best chance to beat their rivals and finally secure the third place in the pool and then hope that they become one of the four best teams that finished third in their pool.
Likely result: India will win
What India will want: To score more goals and better their goal difference so they can reach the knockout stages being the third ranked team in the pool.
Best opportunity to progress
India are the second highest ranked team in their pool and the 14 highest ranked team in Asia. If the Blue Tigers can manage a win over their two lower ranked team- Bahrain and Thailand, they will surely finish on the second position in their pool and will be guaranteed a spot in the quarter final.
Likely opponent of India in the pre-quarter final
If India finishes second in its pool then they will face South Korea or China
If they finish third in their pool and advance to the next stage, they will face Australia or Syria.