Igor Stimac addressed several topics in his pre-match press conference before India’s crucial game against Bangladesh. Football Monk addresses bits and pieces of the interview from AIFF’s official website.
On the preparations
On the evening before the matchday, head coach Igor Stimac reflected just as much determination as his team showed in their previous match against Qatar. He said, “In football at times, you need to do everything possible to irritate the rival team, to annoy them, to cut their passing. Bangladesh are fighting it for every point in the group, and whatever they do, they do it as a team.”
This words from the gaffer were relevant as his team has shown a pragmatic approach for a while now, heading into Monday’s game. India put a tough defensive performance against Qatar last week.
Addressing the opponents
While addressing his upcoming opponents, the Croatian addressed the threats they possess and the reasons to be cautious against a young Bangladesh side. He mentioned, “In the football world, I would say they are very annoying team who disturb the opposition with so much defensive work, quality work – with blocks – quite similar to what we did against Qatar.”
Importance of the match
The Group E game against Bangladesh isn’t only important for the 2022 WC Qualification. Going forward, it will be crucial for the Blue Tigers to climb in the table and to finish the qualifiers on a high note.
“The match against Bangladesh is a big game for our fans and the team. We are going to approach the game to win it without meaning any disrespect to our opponents. Our aim has stayed the same since the beginning – to qualify for the AFC Asian Cup China 2023,” he added.
Style of play
While India’s style of play was criticised by some, Igor Stimac hinted towards a change of strategy against the neighbouring rivals. He said, “We are going to try to show some composure different from that of the Qatar or Oman match. It’s up to us whether we can handle the match better in regards to ball possession, ball movement, speed and accuracy of passing and the eventual execution.”
Coach Igor Stimac further explained his views for the next match against Bangladesh is going to be quite different from the previous one.
“The matches against Qatar and Bangladesh are so different – from one extreme to another. In the first game, we played the best team in Asia who were so superior and have been training every day in comparison to us having just eight days of training prior to the start of the competition. In fact, without the help of the Qatar FA and Qatari government, we wouldn’t have even begun our training,” he opined.
This statement indicates a probable addition of creative players like Sahal Abdul Samad in the starting XI. Besides, Arjuna Awardee Sandesh Jhingan manifested the determination of the team, while addressing the media. He mentioned, “The match against Qatar was not easy. But we displayed a certain character and arrogance in the 90 minutes against the Asian champions. We aim to do great in our second game. We will give our best with our desire, commitment and try to make everyone proud.”
Latest memories against Bangladesh
The last time India and Bangladesh met in the different round of this very group stage, back in October 2019. The matched ended 1-1. India pulled out a crucial point thanks to Adil Khan’s late equaliser. This was statistically an unexpected result as the two teams are miles apart in FIFA Rankings.
While talking about that night, Jhingan said, “In football you can get surprised and get bad results any day. The main job is the preparation – both physically and mentally. As players we need to stick to the game plan and show the right desire and commitment which the gaffer wants and expects from us.”