On Sunday, 5th August 2018, two Indian age-group football teams produced results that are quite simply unheard of. The Under-16 team defeated Iraq in Amman, Jordan, while the Under-20 side went past Argentina in Valencia, Spain.
An injury time goal by Buevenesh earned India U-16 team a stunning 1-0 victory over current Asian U-16 Champions Iraq in the WAFF U-16 Championship. This is the first-ever victory for any Indian football team against Iraq in any format and among all age-groups.
Later in the night, the Indian under-20 team beat Argentina 2-1 at the Cotif Cup in Valencia. Having already qualified for the semi-finals, the Argentines played a largely second-string squad against already-eliminated India but it was still a result that should give the Indian team plenty of confidence going forward.
Deepak Tangri (4th minute) and Anwar Ali (68’) were the stars for the Indian U-20 team as the Floyd Pinto-coached side scripted a win against the six-time U-20 world champions, coached by 2006 World Cupper Lionel Scaloni and former mid-field star Pablo Aimar.
“This victory will definitely earn Indian football more respect in the world of football. It opens up a window of opportunity to test ourselves against the best in the world on a regular basis,” Pinto said after the match.
U-16 coach Bibiano Fernandes was equally pleased for side. The 90th minute headed-winner triggered euphoric celebrations as the entire bench rushed onto the field to congratulate each other.
“Even though there have been some changes in the Iraqi side team from the side we played at the AFC Qualifiers in Nepal, it’s always difficult to play them because of physicality,” said Bibiano. “However, the performance in the previous matches kept us all confident and I knew my boys would give everything to win this match.”
“Whether it’s a final or just a friendly match, when you score a winner in the dying minutes of a match, it’s always special,” he added.
You can watch the highlights of the games below.
Under-20: India 2-1 Argentina
Under-16: India 1-0 Iraq
There were plenty of messages of goodwill for the youngsters as well...