Things could not have got any worse for India after their embarrassing loss to Oman and Guam in the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifiers as the men in blue are set to face the giants of Asian football, Iran, on 8 August at Sree Kanteerava Stadium in Bengaluru.
India at 155th in the latest FIFA rankings have a huge task in hand against the team that is ranked 40. To be fair, it will be a huge success if India even manage to hold Iran for a draw, after their recent goalless draw against Nepal.
However, the fans who are expected to pour into the stadium will support the team to the hilt and encourage Indians to play some good football. India's goalie Subrata Paul is confident that the players will give their best against Iran.
"We can guarantee our fans that we will play and give our 100 percent on the pitch. We will fight for every inch and for every ball," IANS quoted Paul as saying.
India, who find themselves in Group D, are the only team to have failed to grab any point from the matches so far. Hence, they languish at the bottom of the group.
Paul does not feel right to comment on the team's standings as they are fully focused on their game against Iran.
"We are taking one match at a time. Right now, we are focusing on the Iran match. Commenting about the tally of points and our position in the Group isn't possible at the moment," Paul said.
Against the strong Iran team, who demolished Guam 6-0, the Indian defence is expected to have a busy day and Paul, who has been India's best goalie for some time, must stay on his toes.
While on the offensive front, India will depend on Sunil Chhetri and Jeje Lalpekhlua. If these players get good supply from the midfield, they have the experience and the skill to find the back of the net.
India's performance against Guam might have been below par, but when the men in blue hosted Oman in June in Bengaluru they looked a good unit, though they lost the game 2-1. It was a close contest, which India could have won as well.
Another similar performance against Iran will surely boost the confidence of the Indian players.
"We played well against Oman and we have improved a lot since that performance. Right now we have a very talented crop of players in the national setup. But one needs to patient," added Paul.