India takes on Bahrain in their third and final group A match later on today, and former England manager Sven-Goran Eriksson had nothing but praise for the men in blue’s showing in the tournament.
Eriksson, who manages Philippines, has tipped India to qualify for the knockout stages in the tournament after having been deeply impressed by their showing in the 4-1 defeat they handed out to Thailand in the opening group game.
“The whole world who saw that match [felt] they [India] were physically good, technically good players. Working hard. And maybe Thailand was….I’m sure they were surprised with what’s going on here.
“And if you are not 100 per cent, it’s difficult to change to win the game. All merit to India,” he said.
The experienced campaigner, who also managed the English national side from 2001 to 2006, spoke of how world football needs countries like India, China and the USA to pick up on the sport.
World Cup…you shouldn’t say this…but unfortunately, it’s like the Euro and you put in Argentina and Brazil. That’s the teams who can win it. And I hope for football that changes. I’m talking about India, China, United States.
“Big countries, but football hasn’t changed. How many Messi’s do you have in India if they had the chance to play?
“It’s not that India, China and United States need football, but football needs these three countries. Because it will be even bigger. Football needs you,” he added.