SAFF Championship 2021: How can India qualify for the finals?


The Indian football team have had a difficult start to their SAFF Championship 2021 campaign as they remain winless after the first two matches. The Blue Tigers find themselves at the fourth position in the table with just two points from an equal number of games. 

Maldives picked up a win against Bangladesh on Thursday night and they have leapfrogged India to third place. Meanwhile, we have a surprising leader at the top in Nepal, followed by a second-placed Bangladesh. Let us have a look at the table for further clarity. 

2021 SAFF Championship table:

Position Team P W D L GF GA GD Pts
1 Nepal 2 1 1 0 4 2 +2 6
2 Bangladesh 3 1 1 1 2 3 -1 4
3 Maldives (H) 2 1 0 1 2 1 +1 3
4 India 2 0 2 0 1 1 0 2
5 Sri Lanka 3 0 1 2 2 3 -1 1

Seriton Fernandes India Sri Lanka SAFF Championship 2021

What are the rules that determine the standings? 

  1. Most number of points obtained in the league matches. 

  However, if two or more teams are equal on points, then their place shall be determined as follows:

        2. Which team has got more points in the head-to-head clashes. 

        3. Which team has a better goal difference in the head-to-head clashes.  

        4. Which team has scored more goals in the head-to-head clashes.  

        5. The overall goal difference. 

        6. The greater number of goals scored in league matches. 

        7.  Kicks from the penalty spot if only two teams are involved and they are both on the field of play. 

        8. Drawing of lots. 

How can India qualify for the finals?

Scenario1: India wins their next two matches – Even after drawing the first two games, Igor Stimac’s men firmly have their fortunes in their own hands. If they win the next two games, they will finish with eight points and will qualify for the final regardless of other results. 

Scenario 2: India win against Nepal but draws againt Maldives – In this scenario, the situation might become a bit complicated. India will finish on six points from four matches. For India to qualify here, Nepal must not lose against Bangladesh and Sri Lanka also must not lose against Maldives. This is how the table will look in this situation

Position Team P W D L Pts
1 Nepal 4 3 0 1 9
2 India 4 1 3 0 6
3 Bangladesh 4 1 2 1 5
4 Maldives 4 1 2 1 5
5 Sri Lanka 4 0 2 2 2

Scenario 3: If India wins against Maldives and draws against Nepal – Even in this situation, India will finish on six points. But for the Blue Tigers to qualify, Bangladesh must not win against Nepal. Even if Maldives win against Sri Lanka, they will not qualify on head-to-head against India. 

Position Team P W D L Pts
1 Nepal 4 2 2 0 8
2 India 4 2 2 0 6
3 Maldives 4 2 0 2 6
4 Bangladesh 4 1 2 1 5
5 Sri Lanka 4 0 1 3 1

Scenario 4: India draws against Nepal and Maldives – But it is going to be really difficult task for Sunil Chhetri and co. if they do not improve and are held by Nepal and Maldives as well. Then they will end up with four points. For India to have a chance of qualification in this case, Maldives and Bangladesh must lose against Sri Lanka and Nepal in their respective matches. If this happens, then four teams will be locked at four points. And the head-to-head equation will also come into play in this scenario. 

Scenario 5: India loses any of the next two matches – If India loses any of the remaining two matches, then they cannot qualify for the final. So in order to go through without complicating matters, the best way is to win the remaining two matches against Nepal and Maldives respectively and challenge for the eighth title. 

 



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