Stephen Constantine heaped praise on his men for creating chances from the start until the end, before unfortunately losing out to Iran in the 2018 FIFA World Preliminary Joint Qualification clash yesterday. India impressed in spurts going forward, with captain Sunil Chhetri and Jeje Lalpekhlua getting some decent chances, but they were defeated, in the end, by their higher-ranked opponents by a 3-0 margin.
Sardar Azmoun, Andranik Teymourian and Mehdi Taremi got on the scoresheet for Carlos Queiroz's side at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium in Bangalore within 50 minutes of the game. Both sides tried their luck in the remainder of the match, with long shots, bursts of sprints and failed chances staying the highlights of India's play in the second half.
Check the Highlights of the game HERE.
Both Queiroz and Constantine, however, gave praise to the India team for their performance. "We worked very hard and we gave them a very tough match. And it would be fair to say that we made the match difficult for them," Constantine said in the post-match press conference.
"I am more than pleased with the fighting spirit and the never-say-die attitude showcased by the Indian team."
"We have made a beginning, and I want us to perform at consistent level from now on. The players showcased superb attitude and work rate."
Even Queiroz felt the same. "They were really close to scoring in the first half. Sunil was initiating a lot of attacks. After having seen Turkmenistan and Guam, I can say India deserve to be ranked much higher. They were never defensive," the former Real Madrid boss said.
India remain bottom of Group D after losing all their three matches so far, whereas Iran are top of the group, albeit only on goal difference, ahead of Oman and Guam.
Queiroz, who has also managed the Portugal national team in the past and been an assistant to Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United, had some wise words for the future of Indian football as well.
"My message to India is don't wait for foreigners to come and improve football in India. That has to be done from within," suggested Queiroz. "Asia makes a huge contribution to international football and we need to play more games.
"We don't get much from international football. Only four places in the World Cup for us. We bring so much money to international football but we don't get anything."
India travel to Turkmenistan next on 8 October in their next match of the Russia 2018 Preliminary Joint Qualifier.