Muscat, Jul 2 (IANS): India are in a must-win position when they take on hosts Oman in their last match at the AFC U-22 championship here Tuesday.
Both India and Oman stay on seven points from four matches at the moment -- India are ahead on goal difference (+5 in comparison to Oman's +1). The situation demands a win but that doesn't guarantee a spot in the final phase.
Along with an Indian win over Oman, Iraq also need to beat UAE to help India qualify as the second team. In case of an Indian win over Oman and an UAE victory over Iraq, UAE and Iraq qualify as the top two teams.
Head coach Arthur Papas and the team though refuse to get into the permutations.
"Hey, it's complicated," Papas clarifies. "Let us try for a victory against Oman. We take the field to win every match, whoever the opposition may be. We have improved with every match so far," he adds.
"But Oman are very capable side. Not only are they ahead in the FIFA Rankings (97 in comparison to India's 164), but they also boast of some very talented individuals. We go into the match as underdogs," he maintains.
National Coach Wim Koevermans, who has watched two of India's last matches and has made it a point to be there at every practice session along with Technical Director Rob Baan, says: "No match is ever easy. In football you have to fight on the field."
Defender Abhishek Das said the team needed to back each other if they had any chance of beating Oman: "Against Oman, we need to back each other more - both on and off the field."
We need to give our 200 percent on the ground. Try our best and leave the rest," a philosophical Jeje Lalpekhlua, opined.