Indian national football team's coach Igor Stimac has fired back at those who criticised his team's fitness levels after the loss against Oman.
A lot was spoken about India's lack of concentration and fitness in the latter stages of matches recently and the Croatian coach hasn't held back in his reply after the Blue Tigers created history by holding Qatar to a 0-0 draw in their World Cup qualifier on Tuesday.
India became the first Asian side out of nine who managed to hold Qatar to a goalless draw in the year 2019. The performance took tremendous individual effort from none other than our goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu.
India's amazing effort for a draw is something that Asian heavyweights Japan, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Iraq and the United Arab Emirates couldn't manage against Qatar this year. In fact, Brazil, Argentina and Colombia are the only other countries apart from India who have walked away with a clean-sheet against the Qataris in 2019.
Felix Sanchez’s men have been in incredible form all year, especially on Asian soil where they have won eight matches out of eight. In those eight matches, Qatar managed to score an eye watering 25 goals which raises the quality of India's effort in managing a clean sheet.
And Stimac was proud and ecstatic at the result while taking shots at critics who questioned his team's fitness levels off late. As reported by Goal, he said, "You see, I cannot reply to each comment after a game because not many people are well educated about football. We are a fit team and we proved it today. We played against Qatar and we made space for ourselves even in the last minutes. We made sprints even in the 95th minute, showing a lot of concentration. So we showed good fitness today."
Speaking about the fan support, Stimac concluded, "Our country has a population of over 1.3 billion people compared to that this was a very small crowd. I want to see 80,000 people in Kolkata against Bangladesh. We deserve that and they need to come and support us."
India till next feature in their World Cup qualifying encounter against Bangladesh on October 15 in a clash that the Blue Tigers are expected to win.