Today at 9.35 PM, Indian U19 team will face Saudi Arabia U19 team for the first match of AFC U19 2018 Championship qualifiers. This match is going to be a very tough test for the newly formed U19 team.
The Saudi Arabia U19 team will enter the pitch against India as the Favorite. There are few factors which puts Saudi Arabia team ahead of India.
1. Saudi Arabia is playing the match at home and they are expected to have a loud crowd cheering for them.
2. This Saudi Arabia team is together for a very long time and hence they will have an edge over India when it comes to team chemistry and coordination.
3. The Saudi team will be physically more dominating than India. Since their team is trained in world class facilities like Aspire academy, we can expect their techniques and fitness level also to be superior.
When it comes to the squad, the Saudi Arabian Federation has managed to keep it in dark from the Media. This team has played and practiced keeping them miles away from any form of media. Infact their squad for the qualifiers is also not available in the internet. You may come across few reports where the squad of the KSA U19 team is listed. But when we investigated, we came to know that the squad which is available on internet is not the present squad but a squad mix of a few present player and mostly players who competed in AFC U19 Championship of 2016.
However we have managed to dig out informations about their recent practice match along with few of their practicing photos. The KSA U19 team has recently played two friendly with Lebanon U19 team on 25th and 27th of October where they have registered Win on both the occasion. The Result were 2-1 and 3-2 respectively in favour of KSA. In an another friendly, earlier this year on March, this KSA team went down fighting by 0-2 against a heavyweight England U18 team in Qatar.
Considering these results, it’s clear that Saudi Arabia is going be a very tough opponent for India. We don’t know their tactics, their playing style, not many videos of this team playing together is available on the web, In contrast KSA will be well aware of India’s Playing style under Matos and strengths and weaknesses of most of the players and they will surely try to exploit it. KSA will enter the pitch only to Win, so India have to give it all to reverse the result. It’s worth mentioning than in 2016 AFC U16 Championship, India U16 squad ( the U17 WC squad) met KSA U16 squad in the group stage, the match was ended with the scorelines of 3-3. Since the KSA U19 will also have some players from that U16 squad, India U19 team won’t be facing an entirely strange team. India U19 team knows what to expect, and hence a they will be ready to put up a good fight. To conclude, KSA will be very tough team to beat and a draw will also be a fair Result for India.