REASON WHY INDIA NOT PLAY IN THE WORLD CUP
It's hard to imagine that Asia's second-largest economy has barely a say in international football. India has a population of over 1.4 billion people, but it is difficult to single out 11 individuals who represent the country on the international scene.
Many people around the world have heard names like Sachin Tendulkar, Virat Kohli and M.S. Dhoni, but they don't know any Indian footballers. Instead, these are top athletes who have represented the India national cricket team.
The FIFA Men's World Cup in Qatar is about to kick off on November 20 and once again India will not be part of the event. India's only participation in the FIFA World Cup has been at U-17 level since the country hosted the event in 2017. The senior team has not participated in a single FIFA World Cup tournament till date. India's only chance to be a part of the biggest football spectacle was the 1950 FIFA World Cup, but the country opted not to participate in the event. You may have heard stories that the team wasn't allowed to play because they wanted to play the tournament barefoot, but that wasn't the real reason.
The real reason behind India's decision not to play in the 1950 FIFA World Cup
The 1950 FIFA World Cup was hosted by Brazil after the World War II but faced too many problems. India was invited to participate in the 1950 World Cup after most countries opted not to travel to South America. Only 13 countries reached Brazil to participate in the event. According to Sports Illustrated, India rated the Olympics as bigger than the World Cup as it was only its fourth edition in 1950. The report said the All India Football Federation (AIFF) did not see fit to send a team halfway around the world to send around through ship. Brazil even offered to cover travel costs, but the AIFF refused. Sailen Manna, the captain of the Indian football team in 1950, said that at that time they had no idea of the World Cup and for them the Olympics were everything and there was no nothing greater.
Has the Indian football team ever played barefoot?
The Indian football team played the game barefoot, and it happened during the 1948 Olympics. The Indian team played barefoot or in socks. In the first round against France, the Indians managed to hold their opponent 1-1 until their opponent found the back of the net in the 89th minute. After the impressive performance, King George VI invited the Indian team, coached by Syed Abdul Rahim, entered Buckingham Palace. However, at the next Olympics (1952) in Helsinki, the Indians struggled to play barefoot and were beaten 10-1 by Yugoslavia. After their disastrous loss, the AIFF made it mandatory for players to wear shoes.
All you need to know about FIFA World Cup in Qatar
The Qatar 2022 tournament will be held in the Middle East for the first time. The FIFA World Cup in Qatar will also be the second FIFA World Cup to be performed in Asia. A total of 32 teams from around the world will take part in the tournament, with the group stage kicking off on November 20. The tournament will conclude with the FIFA World Cup Final on 18 December.
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