INTERNATIONAL FOOTBALL

The Hero Intercontinental Cup will be held in Bhubaneswar

Indian Arrows

The All India Football Federation (AIFF) announced on Wednesday that Bhubaneswar will host the 2019 Hero Intercontinental Cup in June.

The four-team event will take place during the FIFA International window. From June 9 to June 18, with India competing with Lebanon, Mongolia, and Vanuatu.

Lebanon is placed 99th in the current FIFA rankings among the four competing teams, while India is ranked 101st. India is ranked lower than Vanuatu (164) and Mongolia (183).

India won the initial event in Mumbai in 2018. But placed fourth and last in the subsequent tournament in Ahmedabad in 2019.

The Hero Intercontinental Cup will, conducted for the third time. With the previous two taking place in Mumbai (2018) and Ahmedabad (2019).

Dr. Shaji Prabhakaran is Federation Secretary General. He welcomed Odisha into senior Men’s International football. Saying, “Imphal had experienced the joy of International football in March, and now it’s Bhubaneswar’s turn to join the country’s growing map of international venues for men’s football.

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“Bhubaneswar was one of the venues of the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup, and with that, we have seen some excellent infrastructure being developed by the Government of Odisha,” he remarked. “It is a legacy that the U-17 Women’s World Cup has left behind and has paved the path for the Senior Men’s National Team to now play in the city for the first time in its history.

“If you look at what happened in Manipur, it was held for the first time, and that way we are confident that fans in Odisha will display equal enthusiasm for the event,” Dr Prabhakaran added. “We are also hopeful that Odisha football will benefit greatly from hosting the Hero Intercontinental Cup.”

The Indian Men’s National Team had never faced Mongolia or Vanuatu before. The hosts have a six-match winning streak over Lebanon.

The Blue Tigers are presently undefeated at home. Having started the streak on June 8, 2022. With a 2-0 win against Cambodia in the AFC Asian Cup 2023 Qualifiers Round 3 in Kolkata. Igor Stimac’s team has since defeated Afghanistan (2-1), Hong Kong (4-0). And then the Hero Tri-Nation, where they overcame Myanmar (1-0) and the Kyrgyz Republic (2-0) in Imphal.

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