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Asian Games LIVE: India vs China men’s football live score updates and commentary

The Indian Men’s Football team take on China in their opening match of the Asian Games, after a week of uncertainty. The Indian team landed in Hangzhou less than 24 hours before kickoff, so a tough task awaits the Sunil Chhetri-led side.

Coach Igor Stimac already said before the team’s departure that he isn’t as focused on the opening game against China, with the two remaining games against Bangladesh and Myanmar being more important in his eyes.

“Having two days preparation prior to big games never served us well…It’s obvious how India is different when there is long camp versus a short camp,” Stimac said. He also said that it shouldn’t surprise anyone if he rests his two senior-most players, Chhetri and Sandesh Jhingan, for this game against China.

The hosts have named a completely different squad for the Asian Games compared to the one that played in the AFC U23 Asian Cup qualifiers last week – where they beat India 2-1 and drew 1-1 against the UAE and qualified for the tournament to be held in Qatar next year.

“This Chinese team has been playing together for some time. They will play in a 4-4-2 formation and they have a tower of a striker, they will be a very, very tough opposition. We need to consider if we want to invest our full energy into this game or skip it,” Stimac said about his team’s first opponents at the Asian Games.

India, on the other hand, have named only a handful of players who were in the squad for those qualifiers – including Narendar Gehlot, Sumit Rathi and Rohit Danu. The Asian Games, alongside the AFC U23 Asian Cup qualifiers have presented a challenge to Indian Football like few others previously have, with ISL clubs not releasing their players outside the FIFA window, but now the cards have been dealt. Whether Stimac and his side can make the most of the hand they’ve been dealt remains to be seen.

If they can begin with a positive result against China, then that will go a long way into securing their place in the knockouts, with more presentable winning opportunities awaiting against Bangladesh and Myanmar.

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