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India vs Pakistan: 5 things you should know before the heated rivalry

Updated: Aug 7, 2023

India vs Pakistan game be it in any sport is always a high-voltage match and this time guess what football fans, on the 21st of June i.e. today India and Pakistan football teams are going to face each other in SAFF Championship 2023 after a long time in Bengaluru, Shree Kanteerva Stadium. The hype is there on social media created in full fledge by the fans. Here are 5 things you should know before you start watching the game.

1) Head-to-Head Record :

Both the teams have faced each other 26 times in their football history out of which 11 matches have gone India's way, 3 towards Pakistan, and on 10 occasions both drew stalemate.

  • Matches Played - 26

  • India won - 13

  • Pakistan won - 3

  • Draws - 10

2) Last time both the teams met :

It was in Bangladesh both the teams met in the SAFF championship in which both the teams did well to reach the semi-final. In the heated semifinal though on a wet rainy day and muddy pitch, India beat Pakistan by 3-1 margin.

3) 2014 Bengaluru results :

Definitely, Pakistan would be trying to take inspiration from the 2014 Bengaluru results at the same venue they would be facing India today. Two friendly matches were played in which both the teams drew 1-1 and in the second match Pakistan beat India by a two-goal margin.

4) Current state of both the teams :

  • Pakistan :

Unfortunately due to disturbances and political interference Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) was banned by FIFA in 2018 and they didn't play any international matches since then till 2022 when the ban was overturned. Pakistan has built a good squad with their origin players who were born and players in different leagues of Europe. One popular name among them is Easah Sulieman who represented the England U-20 team as a captain. Pakistan as preparation for SAFF has played a 4 Nations tournament in Mauritius where the results didn't go their favour in all the 3 matches but it surely was a great experience to prepare the squad for the SAFF championship as well as the upcoming FIFA WC qualifiers in November. Pakistan NT team needs time to settle as they are coming out of a ban for 5 years but surely in an India-Pakistan emotionally high-voltage match they would be ready to surprise the fans on both sides.

Due to political differences on both the side, the NOC( No Objection Certificate) and VISA issuing, for the Pakistan players took a long time which puts Pakistan teams at a disadvantage as they reached Bengaluru on the morning of matchday from Mauritius after playing in their 4 Nations tournament but for sure every player would be giving their hearts out in a game against India. Also, the fact that Pakistan has many origin players who developed in Europe should not be overlooked.

  • India :

Indian football has been progressing slowly and lots of positive things happened at the domestic level for the growth of homegrown talents in the recent few months. It is to be noted that India doesn't allow origin players playing in Europe to play for the National team so grassroots and youth development is India's only option which is quite recently taking a priority position in Indian Football and that can be discussed in another article. In one word India's football youth structure development is at an embryonic stage.

When it comes to Pakistan, as the legend Sunil Chettri mentioned in an interview " Anyone but them", yes this is the level of a rivalry these two teams share on the pitch. India has had good results in 2023 as they won two consecutive tournaments on home soil one in Manipur( Hero Tri-Nation Cup) and then in Odhisha( Hero Inter-Continental Cup). Fans have a lot of expectations from this team as they now move towards the SAFF Cup opening game against arch-rivals Pakistan. On pen and paper, India is the favorite to win the game but we all know how in those 90 mins the tides of expectation can change and reality can be different, especially in a rivalry like this.

5) Expectations from Fans :

According to reports fans aren't going to let this opportunity let go in vain to promote football in South Asia. Bengaluru fans and fans from all around India are turning up in full numbers for the match. The Bengaluru FC ultras "West Block Blues" has also created a big tifo to be displayed during the match. The Indian NT team ultras Blue Pilgrims would be there too cheering for the Indian NT team. Shree Kanteerva has been almost sold out for this fixture rarely seen in Indian football which just shows the hype for this fixture among the fans. These kinds of rivalries will surely led to the growth of Indian Football and South Asian Football.



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