India begin Hero Intercontinental Cup 2019 campaign in July
The Indian national football team will defend their Hero Intercontinental Cup title when the second edition of the tournament gets underway on July 7. The four-nation contest, which will go on till July 17, will also involve the likes of Tajikistan, Syria and DPR Korea, the All India Football Federation (AIFF) announced on Monday.
To recall, the Blue Tigers emerged triumphant in the inaugural edition of the tournament in 2018, overcoming challenges from Kenya, New Zealand and Chinese Taipei. India faced Kenya in the final last term and came out on top by a 2-0 scoreline by virtue of a brace by Sunil Chhetri.
This year's tournament will follow the same format as the last, with the four teams playing against each other in a round-robin phase and the top two teams squaring off in the final. The venue is yet to be finalized, according to the AIFF.
With the Blue Tigers all set to play in the all-important FIFA World Cup 2022 Qualifiers from September, the Hero Intercontinental Cup 2019 will serve as the team's final big preparatory tournament before the qualifiers start. India will also be participating in the King's Cup in Thailand, which begins in June.
"The AIFF and their partners FSDL have finalised an annual calendar for the Men's National Team. In June, the National Team is scheduled to participate in the King's Cup in Thailand where we play Curacao in our first match, and then either Vietnam or Thailand. These matches will hold us in good stead for the 2022 World Cup Qualifiers starting in September 2019. I need to thank the respective Football Federations of Syria, Tajikistan, and DPR Korea for agreeing to come over for the four-nation event," AIFF General Secretary Mr. Kushal Das was quoted as saying by the official AIFF website.