India take on Uzbekistan in their second group match of the AFC Asian Cup 2023 on Thursday as they look to register their first points on the table after defeat to Australia in the first match. 

The challenge will barely get easier for the Blue Tigers who take on Uzbekistan in the second match. The White Wolves drew their other game in the group against Syria and will be looking to win their first win in the tournament. 

As we build up to the key Group B clash, here’s a detailed look at Uzbekistan, India’s next opponent.


Uzbekistan national football team was formed in 1992 after the country gained independence after the dissolution of the Soviet Union. It took the team a while to get going but announced its arrival just two years into its existence when they won the Asian Games gold in 1994, a triumph that was hailed as the Miracle of 1994. 

The country appeared in its first AFC Asian Cup in 1996 and stunned China in their very first game to further enhance their reputation. Even though Uzbekistan were eliminated in the group stage, it took them just three Asian Cup appearances to play their first knockout round in 2004 as they reached the quarter-finals. The White Wolves have since made it past the group stage on every occasion with their best performance coming in 2011 when they finished fourth in the competition. 

Uzbekistan have never qualified for the FIFA World Cup but regularly featured in the fourth round of the World Cup qualifiers and have come close on a few occasions with their best performance coming in the 2014 qualifiers where they fell just short of making it to the Intercontinental playoff.

FIFA Ranking: 68

Uzbekistan are ranked 68th in the world which is better than their average ranking of 75. The White Wolves have gained nine places in 2023. Uzbekistan achieved their best-ever FIFA ranking of 45 in 2006 and 2007 and were also part of the top 50 in 2004, 2005 and 2016.

Recent form

Uzbekistan: WDWWD

Uzbekistan are unbeaten in their last eight matches in all competitions and have lost just two of their last 25 matches. After a turbulent ride in 2020 and 2021, the team has picked up form over the last few years which has led to the team climbing places in the FIFA rankings. 

The White Wolves have played in their eighth straight AFC Asian Cup and have advanced to the knockout stages of the competition in their last five appearances. 

2023 was a good year for Uzbekistan with draws against Iran and Mexico and wins over Bolivia, China, Vietnam and Palestine. 

Formation: 3-4-3

Uzbekistan deployed a 3-4-3 formation in their opening AFC Asian Cup match against Syria but may opt for a more attacking formation against India. The Uzbeks have many key players out and it will be interesting to see if head coach Strecko Katanek sticks to the back three against India who would mostly threaten on counter-attacks. 

Key players

Oston Urunov: Oston Urunov has been deployed in a centre-forward position in recent games. Primarily a winger, Urunov has shone in the position scoring four goals in 19 games for his country. Still just 23, he has been in fine form and has scored against Iran and Vietnam in recent times. 

Otabek Shukurov: Otabek Shukurov who is the second-most experienced player in the Uzbek ranks. Known to pull strings in midfield, Shukurov is a big-game player and has a knack for scoring goals in crunch games with recent strikes against China, Mexico and Turkmenistan providing examples of his quality.

Rustam Ashurmatov: The Uzbek backline has a fine balance of youth and experience and Rustam Ahurmatov is the most experienced of the lot with 28 national team appearances. He played for Russian side Rubin Kazan and has a taste of high-level competition.