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2011-2020: How many friendly matches did India play during the FIFA International match calendar in the last 10 years?

Goal takes a look at the number of international friendly matches India played in the last 11 years..,

India recently played two international friendly matches against Nepal in Kathmandu in the last FIFA international match window as preparation for the upcoming SAFF Championship 2021 which starts from October 1 in Maldives.

The Blue Tigers were held to a 1-1 draw by Nepal in their first match on September 2 but they managed to win the second tie 2-1 which was held on September 5. This was the third and fourth time in 2021, that India played international friendly matches during a FIFA match window.

Earlier in March, India travelled to Dubai to take on Oman and hosts UAE in two friendlies. While they held Oman to a 1-1 draw, they suffered a thumping 6-0 defeat at the hands of UAE in their second match.

The Blue Tigers have played four friendly matches during the FIFA international match window in 2021, something that has happened only once in the last 11 years.

Bipin Singh, Oman vs India

From 2011 to 2020, India never played more than three international friendly matches in a year during the designated windows. They did participate in other competitions and qualifiers but did not play many friendly matches. 2021 was the first time India played in every match window so far except the June window where they had 2022 World Cup and 2023 Asian Cup joint qualifying matches.

In fact , India fulfilled all the assigned FIFA matchdays in 2021 so far, something that happened for the first time in the last 11 years.

India has participated and hosted several competitions. However, most were held during non-FIFA matchdays. In such a scenario, the match has to be classified as a Tier 1 international game for it to be considered an international friendly. However, the point is that India do not play during international windows as often as compared to some of the higher ranked nations of the world.

Let us find out, how many times did India play friendly matches during the designated FIFA international windows in the last 11 years.

2011

India played just two friendly matches in the final match window of the year from November 11 to November 15. They hosted Malaysia in friendly games in which they drew one and won the other. They did play four more friendly matches against Maldives, Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana and Zambia but none of them were during the assigned FIFA match windows.

It has to be noted that 2011 was the year India played the most number of international matches which included friendlies, AFC Challenge Cup qualifiers which were during the March window, 2014 World Cup qualifiers and the SAFF Championship.

Dates No. of matches in the window India’s matches
25-29 March 2 Did not play
3-7 June 2 Did not play
August 10 1 Did not play
2-6 September 2 Did not play
7-11 October 2 Did not play
11-15 November 2 India 1-1 Malaysia, India 3-2 Malaysia

2012

In 2012, February 29 was the assigned matchday for friendly matches. Asian teams had their 2014 World Cup qualifiers scheduled at that time. As India were already out of the qualifying round, they played two friendly matches against Oman and Azerbaijan, though not on the FIFA designated matchday. The only friendly match they played was during the October window was against Singapore. They used one out of the two designated matchdays.

Dates No. of matches India’s matches
February 29 1 Did not play
1-5 June 2 Did not play
8-12 June 2 Did not play
August 15 1 Did not play
7-11 September 2 Did not play
12-16 October 2 Singapore 2-0 India
14 November 1 Did not play

Robin Singh Sandip Rai India vs Nepal 11192013

2013

In 2013, India played three international matches out of the 15 matchdays assigned in the year. Before 2021, 2013 was the only year India played three international friendly matches. During the March window, India had 2014 AFC Challenge Cup qualifiers. During the September window, India participated in the 2013 SAFF Championship.

Dates No. of matches India’s matches
6 February 1 India 2-4 Palestine
22-26 March 2 Did not play
4 June 1 Did not play
7-11 June 2 Did not play
14-18 June 2 Did not play
14 August 1 Tajikistan 3-0 India
6-10 September 2 Did not play
11-15 October 2 Did not play
15-19 November 2  India 1-1 Philippines, India 2-0 Nepal

2014

India faced Bangladesh in the first match window on March 5 and then faced Palestine in October. Once again the Blue Tigers played just one game out of the two assigned matchdays in October.

Dates No. of matches India’s matches
5 March 1 India 2-2 Bangladesh
13 August 1 Did not play
5-9 September 2 Did not play
10-14 October 2 India 2-3 Palestine
19 November  1 Did not play

2015

India played against Nepal in a friendly during the August-September window where two matchdays were assigned. That was the only international friendly match they played in 2015. During the March, June and October windows, India played 2018 World Cup qualifying matches.

Dates No. of matches India’s matches
23-31 March 2 Did not play
8-16 June 2 Did not play
July 1 Did not play
31 August to 8 September 2 India 0-0 Nepal
5-13 October 2 Did not play
9-17 November 2 Did not play

Sunil Chhetri India Puerto Rico International Friendly

2016

Like the previous year, India appeared in just one friendly match during the August-September window where they faced Puerto Rico in Mumbai. They won the tie 4-1. During the March window, the Blue Tigers were playing 2018 World Cup qualifying matches.

Dates No. of matches India’s matches
21-29 March 2 Did not play
29 August to 6 September 2  India 4-1 Puerto Rico
3-11 October 2 Did not play
7-15 November 2 Did not play

2017

India played Cambodia in an international friendly game in March as preparation for the 2019 Asian Cup qualifying third round. Other than facing Cambodia, India played their first 2019 Asian Cup qualifying game during the March window. Their only other friendly match in that year was against Nepal during the June window.

During the August-September window, they played one more 2019 Asian Cup qualifying game and just before the FIFA window they hosted a Tri-Nation tournament where they faced Mauritius and St. Kitts and Nevis. In the October window, the Blue Tigers played another Asian Cup qualifying match. 

Dates No. of matches India’s matches
20-28 March 2 Cambodia 2-3 India
5-13 June 2 India 2-0 Nepal
28 August to 5 September 2 Did not play
2-10 October 2 Did not play
6-14 November 2 Did not play

China India Football friendly

2018

The Blue Tigers played two friendly matches in 2018, once against China in October and the other one against Jordan during the November window. During the March window, they played their final 2019 Asian Cup qualifying match and in the September window, the India U23 side played in the SAFF Games 2018.

Dates No. of matches India’s matches
19-27 March 2 Did not play
3-11 September 2 Did not play
8-16 October 2 China 0-0 India
12-20 November 2 Jordan 2-1 India

2019

While India did not play any international friendlies in that year, they did participate in the KIng’s Cup hosted by Thailand where they played against Curacao and the hosts during the June window. After the King’s Cup, India themselves hosted the Intercontinental Cup where they played against Tajikistan, DPR Kore and Syria but those matches were held outside the designated window.

During the September, October and November windows, the Blue Tigers played their 2022 World Cup and 2023 Asian joint qualifiers.

Dates No. of matches India’s matches
8–26 March 2 Did not play
3–11 June 2 Curacao 3-1 India, India1-0 Thailand
2–10 September 2 Did not play
7–15 October 2 Did not play
11–19 November 2 Did not play

Adil Khan India Thailand King

2020

India did not play on any of the match windows due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Dates No. of matches India’s matches
September 5-6 1 Did not play
October 10-11 1 Did not play
November 14-15 1 Did not play

2021

Dates No. of matches India’s matches
22-30 March 2 Oman 1-1 India, UAE 6-0 India
31 May to 15 June 4 Did not play
30 August to 7 September 2 Nepal 1-1 India, Nepal 1-2 India

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