This will be India's second consecutive Asian Cup participation after featuring in the 2019 edition. It is for the first time that the Indian football team will contest back-to-back Asian Cup editions. The Igor Stimac-mentored side is pitted against Australia, Uzbekistan and Syria in the group stage.
Though fans would expect much from the Indian team, Stimac has flatly told them not to do so, considering the lack of training time at hand.
"Let's stop talking about Asian Cup. We did not get what we wanted. I was very clear, you give me time and I might provide results for you. Without the time, do not ask about the results or anything like that. Just forget it," Stimac said bluntly.
"I will go there (Doha) with pride to represent India with my boys. We are going to do everything but there is no time for us to work, 12-13 days is nothing to prepare," he said at the post-match conference after India's loss to Qatar in the FIFA World Cup qualifying match.
Here are all the key details of the upcoming AFC Asian Cup 2024 - groups, teams, India's matches and the full schedule
A total of 24 teams will contest the tourney, spread across six groups:-
Group A: Qatar, China, Tajikistan, Lebanon
Group B: Australia, Uzbekistan, Syria, India
Group C: Iran, United Arab Emirates, Hong Kong, Palestine
Group D: Japan, Indonesia, Iraq, Vietnam
Group E: South Korea, Malaysia, Jordan, Bahrain
Group F: Saudi Arabia, Thailand, Kyrgyzstan, Oman
The group-stage matches commence on January 12, 2024, with Qatar taking on Lebanon in the tournament opener. Each of the 24 teams will play the other three sides in their respective groups once. The top-two teams from each of the six groups and the four best third-placed teams will qualify for the knockout games (pre-quarterfinals), which will kick-start on January 28. The round of 16 matches will continue till January 31, after which the quarterfinals will be played on February 2 and 3. The semi-finals are slated for February 6 and 7, and the final on February 10.
India's Matches (All Timings In IST)
January 13: India vs Australia at 5pm
January 18: India vs Uzbekistan at 8pm
January 23: India vs Syria at 5pm