Just after the Cotif experience where India U-20 beat Argentina U-20, AIFF announced the team will be playing in four-nation tournament under-20 national teams of France, Croatia and Slovenia. This is the first time India is playing in a four-nation tournament in which all the opponents are European nations. It will be indeed another historic movement if they play France, as India played their first ever international football match against France on 31st July at the Summer Olympics.
The tournament, which will take place from 4th of September to 9th of September, it will be India’s toughest test yet. The senior France and Croatia team played in the final of the FIFA World Cup, while the senior Slovenia team is ranked 56th in the world. France had the youngest squad at the World Cup, and though the teenage stars FIFA World Cup like 19-year-old Kylian Mbappe will not play the tournament in Croatia, there’s no dearth of talent coming through the ranks. For India to be tested by such opponent will be an experience like no other.
India’s U-20 teams was invited to participate in Cotif Tournament where clubs and national and autonomous teams participate every year since 1984. Though India lost two consecutive matches there, they managed a draw against a stronger Latin American side of Venezuelan, but on the final group match on 5th of August, 2018, the Indian side written a piece of history when they defeated the most successful U-20 World Cup winning nation Argentina. Social media was flooded with praises for the boys, especially new Mumbai City FC recruit Anwar Ali’s sensational free-kick from outside the box which won India the game. AIFF called it as one the “biggest day for Indian football”.