Stephen Constantine has hailed his India team as ‘outstanding’ despite being held to a goalless draw by China on Saturday, at the Suzhou Olympic Sports Centre, Suzhou.
The historical international friendly marked the first time these two countries had played for 21 years and the first time India had played on Chinese soil.
Previously they had met 17 times with India having lost 12 of those matches and drawing in 5. Considering the two team’s ranking and with a world-famous coach at China’s helm, there wasn’t much to seperate the two.
China played a dominant first half, although quiet in their opponent’s half, India had chances to score through Sunil Chhetri, Pritam Kotal and Farukh Chowdhary.
“We have shown in the last four years that we are a very difficult team to beat. We may not have the quality which some of the other teams in Asia have. But I stand for my team physically and competitively against any team in Asia. The boys were outstanding today,” an elated Constantine said.
“It’s a very exciting match. Both teams tried to score. Off-course China had more possession and opportunities and we had expected this. We came here to give a good performance and the main thing for us was to get used to the standard of football which we would face in the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019,” he said.
Constantine also hailed the younger players of the squad for putting on a determined display:” Congratulations to all the players. Five of them of them who ended the game are U-23 players and two who started were U-23 players as well. That’s my policy – to develop young players and give them more opportunities,” he said.
By playing a higher ranked opponent India will incur more points, the draw expecting to take India higher in the FIFA rankings.They are now placed 97th while China are at 76th spot.