India are all set to take on arch-rivals Pakistan in their opening match of the SAFF Championship 2023. The match is scheduled to be held on June 21 at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium in Bengaluru and it will begin at 7:30 PM IST.
India are arriving into the tournament on the back of a successful campaign in the Hero International Cup. The Blue Tigers defeated Lebanon in the final to be crowned champions and they have been in a rich vein of form. Meanwhile, Pakistan have been on the opposite end of the spectrum and have lost all three games in the four-nation series involving Kenya, Djibouti, and Mauritius.
When it comes to the South Asian Football Federation (SAFF) Championship, India are the most successful side in the tournament’s history. They have won eight titles so far which is six more than the next most successful country, Malaysia who have managed to win twice.
Following their heroics in the Intercontinental Cup, India are rising once again. They are climbing the ladder and are poised to enter the top 100 in FIFA’s men’s national team rankings for next month. Igor Stimac’s side are coming off a 2-0 win over Lebanon in the Intercontinental Cup 2023 final with goals from captain Sunil Chettri and Lallianzuala Chhangte.
As far as neighbours Pakistan are concerned, they are making their return to the SAFF Championship after missing the 2021 edition because of a suspension by FIFA. That suspension has since been lifted and Pakistan are currently ranked a lowly 195 in the FIFA rankings and they are the second-lowest ranked team participating in this year’s competition. Pakistan had also missed the 2015 edition of the tournament held in India and due to internal issues, they couldn’t send a team.
Asked if the AIFF has got any assurance from the government for the safe conduct of the tournament, AIFF president Kalyan Chaubey said, “The slogan of FIFA (world governing body) is FIFA unites the world through football. AIFF is a member association of FIFA.
“We don’t look at the caste, creed and religion under the FIFA Charter. When a player gets down to the ground wearing his or her national jersey, you don’t look at the caste and religion of that player, the player represents his or her country.
Pakistan are also coming off a 3-1 defeat at the hands of African side Djibouti. The Green Shirts have been particularly unremarkable in front of goal where they have endured a significant drought. They have found the back of the net only once in their last three games.
Pakistan haven’t won a single match in 2023 so far and they will be hoping for a miracle at the SAFF Championship in order to get any positive result against more formidable opponents. Their best campaign in a SAFF Championship came in 1997 when they managed to finish third.
Where to watch India vs Pakistan SAFF Championship 2023 live in India?
The live streaming for India vs Pakistan in the SAFF Championship 2023 will be available on Disney+ Hotstar in India.
The broadcast of the SAFF Championship 2023 match between India and Pakistan will be on the Star Sports Network in India.
India vs Pakistan SAFF Championship 2023 live match start time
As per Indian Standard Time (IST)
|June 21, Wednesday||India vs Pakistan||Sree Kanteerava Stadium , Bengaluru||7:30 PM|
India vs Pakistan Head-to-Head Record:
The two neighbouring countries have played 14 matches against each other. India have dominated the head-to-head proceedings and have 10 victories to their name. Meanwhile, Pakistan have won just twice while two other matches have ended in draws between the two sides.
Matches Played: 14
India Won: 10
Pakistan Won: 2
India and Pakistan last played a match against each other in September 2018 in the semifinal of the 12th edition of the SAFF Cup in Dhaka. The Blue Tigers had won that match 3-1 thanks to a brace of goals from Manvir Singh but the Igor Stimac-led side ended up losing the final against Maldives 1-2.
India vs Pakistan Predicted Lineups:
Gurpreet Singh Sandhu; Nikhil Poojary, Sandesh Jhingan, Anwar Ali, Akash Mishra; Anirudh Thapa, Jeakson Singh, Sunil Chhetri, Sahal Abdul Samad, Muhammad Kruniyan, Lallianzualla Changte.
Pakistan: Yousaf Ijaz Butt; Ali Khan Niazi, Easah Suliman, Haseeb Ahmed Khan, Alamgir Ali Khan Ghazi, Ali Uzair Mahmood, Rahis Nabi, Abdul Samad Shahzad, Otis Jan Mohammad Khan, Hassan Naweed Bashir