Indian football went through plenty of changes in the last decade. From a new league structure to advancements in coaching methodologies, there have been plenty of improvements. However, heading into the 2020s, Indian football needs many more upgrades.

Six different managers led the Indian football team in the last ten years that included two short stints from Indian coaches: Armando Colaco and Savio Medeira.

Apart from that, the Blue Tigers have been managed by foreign bosses with quite contrasting playing styles. The relatively open and expansive ways of Wim Kovermans and Igor Stimac and the much-reserved approach under Bob Houghton and Stephen Constantine.

India have achieved mixed results in the past decade that is reflected in the fluctuating Fifa rankings.

From 171 to 97

India experienced the highest of highs and the lowest of the lows in terms of the Fifa rankings in the past decade achieving their worst and their best rank since the world body started the system.

In 2014, India languished in the 171st spot after playing just two matches in the year. It required some smart calculations on AIFF’s part that included not scheduling matches for the national team in Fifa windows and an unbeaten 2017 to see The Blue Tigers sky-rocket to 97.

India have dropped eleven placed since but remain above their average Fifa ranking of 131.

India's Fifa ranking since 1992

More wins, fewer losses

India’s win percentage has seen a rise over the past decade although it has again significantly dropped in 2019. Facing tougher opposition and adapting to a new manager has taken its toll.

India played fewer matches in the middle years of the last decade with the number being on the higher side at the start and end of the ten-year period.

Here are the win and loss percentages of the Indian football team in every year in the last decade

India's Win-Loss% in the last decade

Year Matches played Win% Loss%
2010 9 22.22 77.78
2011 21 38.09 33.33
2012 11 27.27 63.63
2013 12 41.66 41,66
2014 2 0 50
2015 12 41.66 41.66
2016 7 71.42 28.57
2017 9 77.77 0
2018 12 50 33.33
2019 13 15.38 53.85

Struggle to find new goalscorers

India scored 157 goals in the last decade in 108 matches, averaging 1.47 goals per game. They have had 37 different scorers in the last ten years but two of those have contributed to over 50% of the goals scored by the Indian football team.

Sunil Chhetri and Jeje Lalpekhlua have scored 81 out of the 157 goals scored by India with Chhetri contributing 57 while Jeje added 24.

18 out of the 37 goalscorers for the national team in the last decade have registered just one goal each.

Here is the list of top goalscorers for the Indian football team in the past decade:

India top goalscorers in the last decade

Rank Player Goals scored
1 Sunil Chhetri 57
2 Jeje Lalpekhlua 24
3 Syed Rahim Nabi 6
3 Clifford Miranda 6
4 Robin Singh 5
4 Own Goals 5
5 Sandesh Jhingan 4
5 Lallianzuala Chhangte 4
6 Jewel Raja 3
6 Gouramangi Singh 3
6 Balwant Singh 3
6 Manvir Singh 3

The similar yet contrasting tales of two Asian Cup campaigns

For the first time, India qualified for the AFC Asian Cup twice in a single decade. The two campaigns, eight years apart had the exact same outcome – a group stage exit, but the manner in which the results panned out was largely different.

In 2011, placed in a tough group with Australia, South Korea and Bahrain India lost all three games by big margins to bow out without many positives.

However, eight years later, the Blue Tigers in a relatively easier group featuring UAE, Thailand and Bahrain gave a good account of themselves and were rather unfortunate to not qualify to the Round of 16.

They recorded their first win in the AFC Asian Cup in 55 years when they thrashed Thailand 4-1. A gutsy performance against higher-ranked hosts UAE earned Constantine’s team plenty of plaudits but his team faded away in a tame and heartbreaking loss to Bahrain in the final game that ended their chances of qualifying for the next stage.

After a much improved show in the UAE, India would be hoping to qualify for the Asian showpiece on a more regular basis.