HISTORY BECKONS INDIA
India will end at third as they have defeated the 'War Elephants' 4-1 in their opening match. But the Stephen Constantine side cannot lose to Bahrain -- to whom India lost 2-5 in the 2011 Asian Cup -- by a big margin as goal difference will get the first preference while deciding which team makes it to the Round of 16 among third place sides of equal points.
In Groups C and D, two bottom-placed teams have not yet opened their accounts after playing two matches each and they have minus goal difference as against India’s plus one. Courtesy, the stunning win against Thailand has shown that India are no longer an ‘also ran’ side and the second match against the UAE — though lost 0-2 — strengthened the thought that this side can hold onto their own without fear and take the game to the opposition, unlike the teams of the past.
Luck also eluded India in the match against UAE as the woodwork denied them on two occasions while Ashique Kuruniyan and Chhetri had the goalkeeper at their mercy but failed to beat him.