At present, the Indian football team losing in matches and often getting humiliated by bigger teams is not uncommon news for football fans from India. However, it was not like now before, as the Indian football team secured numerous glorious wins in the past, many of which are getting faded from the minds of Indian football lovers.
Indeed, many wise minds have labeled the Indian national football team the Sleeping Giant. However, for some reason, the fans still haven’t seen it making irremovable marks at the soaring stages that this majestic game has to offer. Despite this fact, no one could assert that this team never had and doesn’t have any potential. Throughout the history of its presence, the Indian national football team has never forgotten to produce occasional sparks, enlightening the football world about the potential and competence it comprises.
So, let’s take a tour back to memory lane and relive some of the memorable matches still craved in the history of an Indian football team with golden letters.
- The Heart-Winning Presence in the 1948’s Olympics
Indian football team’s appearance in the 1948’s London Olympics was the most discussed match in the nation’s football history when the team faced France, the European giant of that time.
Right after acquiring independence in 1947, when the Indian football team made their first international appearance, having 11 barefooted players strapping bandages around their ankles, the football ground of Lynn Road, London, paused in awe.
France scored first with the boots of Rene Courbin near the half-hour mark. But the roaring blue tigers missed a penalty right before halftime. But Sarangapani Raman eradicated the difference in scoreboard in the 70th minute of the match. Then, the game gave another penalty to India, but Guy Rouxel, the French goalkeeper, saved it.
Rene Persillon found a deciding goal during the final minutes. India lost the match but won hearts around the globe.
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- Indian Victory against Iran in Asian Games 1951
With unparalleled support by the countrymen, Indian football was in its golden age when New Delhi hosted the Asian Games of 1951. India was in the final, defeating Indonesia and Afghanistan. However, their struggle against the booted Iranians was evident, as the Indian team also appeared in that match barefooted.
The first half of a match was goalless, and the attackers appeared with a dearth of nails and teeth. But, the impenetrable wall players like Chandan Singh and SailenManna created in the team’s defense was awe-awakening.
After the first half, Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru visited the players’ dressing room and requested them to bring a gold medal as a gift for the newly independent nation. A wholly changed Indian team went on the field in the second half.
In the 49th minute of a match, Runu Guha Thakurata made a brilliant cross toward SahuMewalal. Mewalal propelled the ball toward the opponent’s goal with an unexpected volley, leaving no chance for the Iranian goalkeeper. Thus, the Indian football team brought that gold medal home.
- Dominating Australia in Melbourne Olympics in 1956
Indians were supposed to face the unbeatable team of Hungary in the pre-quarterfinal of the 1956 Melbourne Olympics. But, the nation quit the competition because of some political problems. Regardless, situations were never easy for the Indian football team in the quarter-final, as they had to square off against the hosting country’s team.
The match started witnessing a fiery start from the Indian team. The first goal for the squad came from Neville D’Souza depositing a ball in the opponent’s net right after nine minutes of the game. He took a shot on the rebound of a ball when captain Samar Banerjee’s shot got deflected by the post.
The goal for the Australian team took 17 minutes of the match to arrive. Finally, Marrow did it for the kiwis. Afterward, during the 33rd minute of the game, D’Souza struck again to put India in the authoritative seat again. But Marrow equalized the scoreboard again, striking only after 3 minutes of India’s second goal.
The second half of that match was completely India’s. Neville D’Souza became the first Indian player to score a hat trick in Olympic football. In the 80th minute of a match, the vice-captain, Kittu, sealed victory against Australia by scoring another goal. Finally, the game was completed with a shimmering score of 4 – 2.
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