India go into the final group game of the AFC Asian Cup 2019 with an eye on the knockout stages. After a win over Thailand (4-1) and a defeat to UAE (0-2) in the first two games of Group A, India are second in the group standings and hoping to make the next round for the first time since the introduction of the format.
India football team face Bahrain in their final group game in Sharjah knowing a draw would be sufficient to secure qualification to the Round of 16, but a defeat could leave their hopes of going forward in the balance. Luckily for India, their fate isn’t dependent on the other teams in the group and they can define their own destiny in the continental tournament. Here are the different scenarios that could work out on Monday and how it will change India’s fate in the tournament:
A win for India over Bahrain in Sharjah would see India qualify for the Round of 16 and be assured of a top-two finish irrespective of the result between UAE and Thailand. If UAE draw or lose, India would top the group. Currently, UAE are top with four points with India and Thailand both on three points with Bahrain on a point. Wins for both India and Thailand would mean six points for both but India would top on head-to-head basis. However, a win for UAE would mean they would jump to seven points and India go up to six points and second in the table. Bahrain, would thus be eliminated from the tournament, and Thailand’s fate would be decided later. Beyond the top two teams from each group, there will be four best third placed teams.
A draw for India would mean point each for both the teams and take India to four points and Bahrain to two points. At the other end, if UAE win, they would top the group with seven points. If UAE and Thailand draw, UAE would go up to five points and Thailand to four points. With India and Thailand both on four points, it would be India staying on due to a better head-to-head. Should Thailand win, they will go up to six points with India on four points and UAE on four points. With four points in the bag, India would qualify for the Round of 16 as one of the four third-place teams with only Syria (in Group B) able to equal four points after all three matches.
A loss for India would end their hopes of making it to the knockout matches. India will still have a slender chance of qualifying but their fate would depend on results elsewhere. India would then have to hope that Thailand lose to UAE. However, if Thailand win, the equation would read as the Thai team on six points, UAE and Bahrain on four points and India, knocked out, on three points. If UAE win, they would jump to seven points, Bahrain on four points and India and Thailand on three points. Thereon, it would be decided on goal difference.