Asian Cup India vs Australia: File image of India coach Igor Stimac© AFP
India coach Igor Stimac warned his players “a storm is coming” as they prepare to face a physical Australia on Saturday in their Asian Cup opener. Graham Arnold’s imposing side are one of the favourites and a major threat from set pieces, with Scotland-born defender Harry Souttar bagging 10 goals in 21 international appearances. “It’s going to be a very difficult match for us because we all know the strength of Australia,” Stimac said on Friday in Doha.
Asked how India would combat Australia in dead-ball situations, the Croat joked: “Don’t give away set pieces. Obviously.”
The former West Ham and Derby defender added: “They play very pragmatic football, insisting on what is their strengths: coming to the flanks, putting many balls into the box and attacking with wonderful strength.
“We can expect a storm is coming out from them. We need to find a way to defend such situations and stay compact.
“First, to stop distribution to the flanks whenever we can. If that’s not possible, we need to do everything to stop crosses coming into our box.”
The former Croatia international said his team would look to play their own game, even at the expense of results, having attempted to instil an expansive football philosophy during nearly five years in charge of India.
“We didn’t come here to defend on the edge of the box,” he said. “We’re going to go out there and try to enjoy football as we did over the past four years.
“If the defeat comes throughout that process, I have nothing against it. I know our players will give everything on the pitch.”
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