The Indian men’s football team have been drawn to face hosts Malaysia in the semi-finals of the 2023 Merdeka Tournament which is scheduled to take place in Kuala Lumpur from October 13-17, 2023. 

India’s participation in the competition which also includes Lebanon and Palestine was confirmed in March as part of the team’s preparations for the AFC Asian Cup.

The Blue Tigers will take on Malaysia in the semi-finals on October 13 and will face the winners of the clash between Lebanon and Palestine in the final on October 17 should they get past the hosts. In case of a defeat, India will play in the third/fourth playoff on October 17. 

Igor Stimac’s side are the second-highest-ranked team in the tournament after Palestine (96) and just above Lebanon (100). The home side is the lowest-ranked team in the competition with a FIFA ranking of 136. 

It will be India's record 32nd meeting with Malaysia in international matches, with the last one coming in a friendly in Kolkata back in 2011, where the Blue Tigers emerged 3-2 winners.

The Merdeka Tournament 2023 will mark India's first appearance in the competition since 2001 and 18th overall. India's best performance was runners-up in 1959 and 1964.

Merdeka Tournament 2023 Draw Results:

Palestine vs Lebanon (14:00 IST, October 13, 2023)

Malaysia vs India (18:30 IST, October 13, 2023)

Third-place play-off (14:00 IST, October 17, 2023)

Final (18:30 IST, October 17, 2023)