India to play Lebanon in WC qualifier

Updated: 28 October 2007 12:40 IST

Overcast skies are a big worry for the Indian and Lebanese football teams as they meet for a World Cup qualifier match in Chennai on Sunday.

India to play Lebanon in WC qualifier
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Chennai:

Overcast skies are a big worry for the Indian and Lebanese football teams as they meet for a World Cup qualifier match in Chennai on Sunday.

India has to beat Lebanon 3-0 if they have to make it to the next round.

The Indian football team is ready for its crucial tie against Lebanon in Chennai.

It's a match in which the home team has to beat the Lebanese 3-0 to advance to the second round of the qualifiers for the 2010 FIFA World Cup, in South Africa.

That's a tough ask anyways, but more than anything else, it's the choice of venue that has left Indian coach Bob Houghton angry.

"It's sad that there is just one World Cup stadium in India. I mean we don't know Chennai. We have never trained here. Had it been in a place like Delhi, we won the Nehru Cup there. There was tremendous crowd support, the boys got used to it. In football your records are always better at home than they are away," said Bob Houghton.

India had gone down 1-4 in the first leg of the format that was played in Beirut earlier this month.

The mantra will be to work on dead-ball situations and aerial balls. Because that's where India conceded most of the goals in Lebanon.

"It's an uphill task, but it's not impossible. Luckily we played well in Lebanon, the 4-1 scoreline doesn't reflect anything. 3-0 is going to be very difficult, but we are going to be very positive. Everything has to go perfect for us," said Baichung Bhutia, Captain, Indian Football Team.

This is where India won the Nehru Cup last month. But unfortunately the Ambedkar Stadium in the capital can't host a World Cup qualifier match.

Chennai was chosen by FIFA officials around six months back, over more popular football venues like Kolkata, Delhi or Goa.

The Nehru stadium here is the only one in the country that matches FIFA's criterion for hosting a World Cup qualifier. It's a crucial match for India, but if they lose, they might have to face the ire of their fans.

Topics : Football
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