Indian football head coach Igor Stimac revealed the result was not his priority after they suffered a 3-0 loss against Qatar in their second match of the FIFA World Cup 2023-25 qualifiers at the Kalinga Stadium, Bhubaneswar on Tuesday. It was always going to be a tough challenge for the Blue Tigers but they showed a lot of resistance.
Moustafa Tarek Mashal was quick to give a lead to the visitors as he scored early in the fourth minute. Almoez Ali then scored right after the first-half break to give a 2-0 lead to the team. Yousuf Abdurisag then put the game to bed as he found the back of the net in the 86th minute with a header after Rahul Bheke failed to mark him.
In the post-match press conference, Igor Stimac said, “The game was what it was. Qatar were the better team. The physicality and the basic skill, the passing quality, final-third execution, it’s all there. They like to get behind you and put good crosses. It’s really difficult to play against them but I appreciate our boys’ commitment.
“And that’s something which we need to take out from today’s game. Very positive thing – when you go down early in the game against Qatar, you need to fear a heavy defeat. That’s part of the learning process. And it’s a good lesson for us today – against a team like this, you cannot give away anything. Maybe we had too much respect for them,” he asserted.
The Croatian said that the result was not his priority but he got some answers, which has given him clarity for the upcoming match against Australia.
“The result was not my priority today. There were some questions which were haunting me for some time. And as you already know, when we’re not having any more games prior to the game against Australia, I have all my answers and due to this huge remount of this game, I have a clearer picture and clarity of what needs to be done and who are the players who can go there,” he said.
The gaffer added that they won’t get much time to prepare for the Asian Cup due to tight scheduling.
“Knowing that we’re not gonna get enough time for the Asian Cup, I don’t consider the Asian Cup such an important element for us. And I don’t want my players to get injured.”
Stimac added he wants his side to get enough points to qualify for the next round of the World Cup qualifiers as it will be a big lift for Indian football.
“I need to make sure that we get enough points in our group for the World Cup qualifiers. So we make sure that we have another five to six home games in the third round here. And that will be a huge benefit for Indian football for the future. I was very clear that if you’ll give me time, I might show results, but without the time, don’t ask about results. I will go there with pride to represent India with our boys, but 12-13 days are nothing to prepare for the Asian Cup,” he concluded.