India take on Bangladesh
India take on Bangladesh Image Credit: India FA Twitter

The Sunil Chhetri-led India football team are refusing to underestimate Bangladesh as the teams prepare to face off in the Qatar 2022 World Cup and Asian Cup 2023 qualifiers on Monday.

The Igor Stimac-coached India performed well in a 1-0 loss to Qatar on June 3, and it’s unlikely they will let their guard down against Bangladesh who are ranked 186th in the world, far below India’s 105.

While India are out of contention in the race for the 2022 World Cup, their focus is on the Asian Cup 2023, where they have a chance to qualify, with game against Afghanistan coming up on June 15 in Doha.

On the eve of the match against Bangladesh, striker Manvir Singh said: “Bangladesh are a very compact side. In Kolkata the last time we played, they were very difficult to break down. They press very hard and there’s always support for each other. It will be a very tough match for us.”

Defender Pritam Kotal added: “People often make the mistake of judging Bangladesh as a team on the basis of their Fifa ranking. We are aware of the quality in their side. Football in Bangladesh has always had a tradition of being very comfortable with the ball. They are a very good technical side. We have huge respect for them.”

Top India midfielder Brandon Fernandes said that, it is extremely crucial for the team to stick together against a team like Bangladesh.

“The camaraderie in the squad is exceptional. We are backing each other up as we gear up for the next match. From my experience of our last match in Kolkata, it will be very intense match. We need to capitalise on our chances.”