India aim semis spot at AFC Under-16 football Championship despite tough pool | football | Hindustan Times
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India aim semis spot at AFC Under-16 football Championship despite tough pool

football Updated: Sep 05, 2016 18:04 IST
Amit Kamath
Amit Kamath
Hindustan Times
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The tournament will kick-off with India taking on the UAE while Iran face Saudi Arabia. (File Photo)

With the AFC Under-16 Championship starting on September 15, teams will start arriving in Goa from next week. It is learnt that United Arab Emirates (UAE) will be the first team to land in India on Tuesday followed by Oman a day later and Australia on 8th.

The rest of the 12 teams will come on the 10th when the training venues and the six team hotels will officially be opened for the visiting squads.

According to a source, the teams arriving before 10th will have to take care of their own expenses, be it staying in hotels or hiring facilities for training.

The tournament will kick-off with India taking on the UAE while Iran face Saudi Arabia.

The AFC U16 Championship will be a test event for India getting ready to host the Under-17 World Cup next year. India Under-17 coach, Nicolai Adam, has set his sights on making it to the semifinals, which ensure direct qualification to the Under-17 World Cup. While India are already guaranteed entry into the the World Cup by virtue of being hosts, Adam wants his team to play in the prestigious event “on merit”.

India, who have never made it to the semifinals of the competition in their six previous appearances, are in the tough Group A with UAE, 2008 champions Iran and two-time winners Saudi Arabia.

Adam’s team qualified for the AFC U-16 Championship after finishing second in Group E behind Iran, who beat India 3-0. However, there were encouraging wins over Bahrain (5-0) and Lebanon (6-0).

THE GROUPS:

Group A: India, Islamic Republic of Iran, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates

Group B: Australia, Japan, Vietnam, Kyrgyzstan

Group C: Korea Republic, Malaysia, Oman, Iraq

Group D: DPR Korea, Uzbekistan, Thailand, Yemen

(Each team will play three matches in the group and the top two teams from each group will advance to the quarters.)

INDIA’S SCHEDULE

Sept. 15 (7 PM): India vs UAE

Venue: Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Goa

Sept. 18 (7 PM): India vs Saudi Arabia

Venue: Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Goa

Sept. 21 (7 PM): India vs Iran

Venue: Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Goa

Sept 25, 26: Quarterfinals

Sept 29: Semifinals

October 2: Final

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