AFC Asian Cup qualifiers: All you need to know about Cambodia, India's opponents in the third round group

Indian men’s football team is all set to start off their third round of AFC Asian Cup Qualifiers against Cambodia on June 8. The game will take place at the Salt Lake Stadium in Kolkata. Igor Stimac’s men have been training in Bellary, Kolkata, and Doha for the last few months.

Ranked higher than Cambodia, the Blue Tigers will start as the favourites in the match and history is also against the Angkor Warriors who don't have the best of records against the Igor Stimac’s men.

Ahead of the meeting between the two teams, here’s a detailed look at Cambodia

History

The Cambodian men’s national team played their first international match at home against Malaya in 1954 following the end of French colonisation. The game ended with a 9-2 win for the Malays.

Currently ranked 171st in the FIFA rankings, Cambodia have not had much luck in the international scenario. They participated in the AFC Challenge Cup in 2006 but could only make it beyond the group stages.

They have appeared in the AFF Championship seven times, however, they have been unable to overcome their group stage hoodoo as they have been knocked out on all occasions. Cambodia also came last in their 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifying Group.

Form Guide: WLWLL

Cambodia have won two out of its last five matches and lost three matches in the group stages of the AFF Championship in 2021. Their last win came against Timor-Leste in an international friendly.

Head-to-Head

In the last four meetings, India came on top in three while Cambodia managed to win one. This will be the fifth time when India will be facing Cambodia. The last time India faced the Southeast Asian nation was in 2017 in an international friendly at the National Olympic Stadium in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. The scoreline read 3-2 in favour of the Blue Tigers.

Key Players:

Thierry Chantha Bin: Bin was actually born in France to Cambodian parents and decided to plead allegiance to his homeland. Bin is one of the two Cambodians who ply their trade outside of the nation.

The midfielder at present plays for Cambodia's C-League team Visakha FC. Bin is a product of RC Strasbourg, old stomping grounds of Morgan Schneiderlin and Raymond Domenech. He has scored three goals for Cambodia in twenty-five appearances.

Soeuy Visal: Cambodia’s 26-year-old captain has been in the fray for the national team for some time now. With 62 caps and four goals, the experienced Preah Khan Reach FC defender leads from the back.

He has scored against the likes of Brunei, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, and Iraq and can prove to be a threat on set-pieces. Visal’s original position, however, makes it more of a challenge to bypass him than being concerned about him being a goalscoring menace.

Keo Sokpheng: Sokpheng is undeniably Cambodia’s biggest weapon in the current squad. The versatile striker can also be deployed in a wider role as a winger and trouble defences with his shifting positions. He plies his trade with Cambodian C-League team Visakha and is also the national team’s joint third-highest scorer with 12 goals in 52 appearances.

He promises to be a troublesome forward for the experienced Indian backline.

Coach profile: 

The star attraction in the Cambodia comes from one of their head coaches - Keisuke Honda. The former Japanese midfielder who played for the likes of AC Milan and CSKA Moscow is a well-known name in Asian and world football. 

It is also unique that the team is jointly managed by two head coaches. Ryu Hirose also a former Japanese footballer is jointly the brain behind the Cambodia football team. 

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