The highly anticipated Asian Games are just around the corner, with the Indian team set to kick off their campaign in the opening match against host nation China, today, at 5 pm. This sporting extravaganza, scheduled to commence on September 23, will see the football event start a few days earlier, on September 19.
The men’s football competition at the Asian Games follows an under-23 format, allowing each team to field a maximum of three players above 23 years of age.
A total of 23 teams are vying for glory, divided into six groups. India’s men’s football team finds itself in Group A alongside formidable opponents, including China, Bangladesh, and Myanmar.
The top two teams from each group and the four best third-placed teams across all groups will progress to the round of 16.
The defending champions in the men’s category are the Republic of Korea, who boast an impressive record with five titles. Iran follows closely behind with four gold medals, setting the stage for an electrifying showdown among Asia’s football giants.
Switching gears to the women’s football competition, set to kick off on September 21, it differs from the men’s event as it features senior teams. A total of 16 women’s football teams have been divided into five groups, with Group B housing the Indian women’s football team, where they’ll face off against Chinese Taipei and Thailand.
The group-stage matches will unfold in various formats, with Group C witnessing a unique situation where Singapore and North Korea will play each other twice. However, all other groups will follow a single-legged round-robin format.
Once the group-stage dust settles, the winners of groups A, B, D, and E will earn their spots in the quarter-finals.
Meanwhile, the four most accomplished runner-up teams from these groups, along with the Group C winner, will complete the final eight teams in contention for the ultimate honour.