Indian Football: How many matches have India won playing against top 60 ranked teams?



GOAL takes a look at India’s performance in the past 25 years when they took on sides that were ranked within 60 by FIFA at that point in time…

India are set to go up against Qatar on Wednesday evening in their 2022 World Cup Qualifiers fixture at the Jassim Bin Hamad Stadium in Doha. The Maroons are currently ranked 58 in the FIFA standings and it will be a daunting task for the Men in Blue to face them at their own den. 

Herein, we list down instances in the past 25 years when India have played against a nation that was ranked within top 60. To date, the team has played 12 such matches and has won only once. The win came against Kuwait in a friendly in 2004. 

However, India’s worst result against such a top-ranked side was against Japan in the same year when they faced a 7-0 loss away from home. Japan also remain the highest-ranked opponent India has played in a game they lost 0-4 away. Japan were ranked 18 at that time.

Date Match Result Competition Opponent Rank Venue
April 11, 1997 China PR 2-1 India Nehru Cup 1997 60 Kochi, India
December 3, 1998 Japan 1-0 1998 Asian Games (Preliminary Round) 30 Trang, Thailand
January 13, 2001 India 0-3 Iceland Millennium Super Soccer Cup 50 Kochi, India
June 9, 2004 Japan 7-0 India 2006 FIFA World Cup Qualifier 23 Saitama, Japan
September 8, 2004 India 0-4 Japan 2006 FIFA World Cup Qualifier  18 Kolkata, India
November 5, 2004 Kuwait 2-3 India Friendly 60 Kuwait
February 22, 2006 Japan 6-0 India 2007 AFC Asian Cup Qualification 18 Yokohama, Japan
October 11, 2006 India 0-3 Japan 2007 AFC Asian Cup Qualification 47 Bangalore, India
January 10, 2011 India 0-4 Australia 2011 AFC Asian Cup 23 Doha, Qatar
January 18, 2011 South Korea 4-1 India 2011 AFC Asian Cup 32 Doha, Qatar
September 8. 2015 India 0-3 Iran 2018 World Cup Qualifier 41 Bangalore, India
March 24, 2016 Iran 4-0 India 2018 World Cup Qualifier 44 Tehran, Iran

What has been India’s best performance away? 

India’s best performance remains a 3-2 friendly away win over a 60th-ranked Kuwait in 2004. Fahad Al Hama opened the scoring in the 35th minute to put the hosts ahead. However, in the second half coach Stephen Constantine made two changes by bringing on Alvito D’Cunha and Jerry Zirsanga which tilted the match to India’s favour. Within three minutes Tomba Singh equalised. 

But a lapse in concentration in defense allowed Bashar Abdullah Abdulaziz to score the second for Kuwait and restore their lead. But Constantine’s change paid off and Zirsanga levelled the score in the 64h minute. 11 minutes later Abhishek Yadav netted the winner to seal one of India’s historic wins on foreign soil. 

India’s best performance at home

India picked up a significant 1-0 win against UAE (United Arab Emirates) in the 2002 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers, when their opponent was ranked 64. Jules Alberto scored the solitary goal of the match. 

India’s best performance against Asian Champions 

Their recent 0-0 draw against Qatar in September 2019, has been their best result against an Asian Champion. Gurpreet Singh Sandhu had a brilliant outing and made numerous saves to deny the likes of Almoez Ali and Hassan Al-Haydos from scoring. 



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