India regularly qualified for the football event at the Olympics between 1948 and 1960
The Indian national football team first qualified for the 1948 Olympics and competed in four Olympics in total. However, since the Olympic Games in Rome in 1960, an Indian team has never managed to enter the competition.
India played four times at the Olympics in 1948 (London), 1952 (Helsinki), 1956 (Melbourne) and 1960 (Rome), with the stay in Melbourne being their best outing.
How did the Indian football team perform at the 1948 London Olympics?
Less than a year after gaining independence from British rule, on July 31, 1948, India made its Olympic debut against France at Lynn Road Stadium in East London after an automatic qualification for the London Games. Led by Nagaland home doctor Dr Talimeren Ao and coached by Balaidas Chatterjee, it was India’s first international game after independence.
After France broke the deadlock with René Courbin finding the target, Sarangapani Raman scored independent India’s very first international goal in the 70th minute. However, Sailen Manna and Mahabir Prasad failed to convert every one of their penalties before the 89th-minute winner René Persillon forced India to pack their bags, given the play-off nature of the competition.
India played the game barefoot and what was interesting to remember were the words Captain Ao said after the draw – “Well you see we are playing soccer in India while you play bootball. “
How did the Indian football team perform at the 1952 Helsinki Olympics?
Mohun Bagan legend Sailen Manna was the captain of the team when they returned from India for the Games in Helsinki. Once again, the opener was the team’s only appearance as they were beaten 10-1 by future silver medalists Yugoslavia. India’s only goal was scored by Ahmed Khan in the 89th minute.
The Yugoslav team had several players who had played in the World Cup. Bernard ‘Bajdo’ Vukas who scored a goal in each half. Rajko Mitić and Tihomir “Bata” Ognjanov also scored a brace apiece while Branislav “Branko” Zebec scored a hat trick and added another tied.
How did the Indian football team perform at the Melbourne Olympics in 1956?
The 1956 Melbourne Games will remain the most talked about as the Indian soccer team reached fourth place.
Lucky to get a forfeit in the first match that was to be against who would become the most successful soccer team at the Summer Olympics, Hungary – a team made up of Ferenc Puskas and Sandor Kocsis but had to withdraw from the tournament due to the hungarian revolution at home, India faced Australia in the quarterfinals.
Coached by Syed Abdul Rahim, another Bagan legend, Samar Banerjee, led India to their first ever victory at the Games. Inspired by a young PK Banerjee on the wings, young and prolific Neville D’Souza scored an Asian’s first hat-trick at the Olympics while Kishan Kittu completed the count in the 4-2 victory at Melbourne Cricket Ground. .
India then faced Yugoslavia in the semi-finals. But Rahim’s men suffered a 4-1 loss where, interestingly, Neville D’Souza put India ahead in the 52nd minute after a scoreless first half. After losing the semi-finals, India fought for the bronze medal against Bulgaria but lost 3-0 to finish fourth instead.
With four goals, the Indian Neville D’Souza still finished top scorer of the tournament with the Yugoslav Todor Veselinović and the Bulgarian Dimitar Milanov. It was also the first time that an Asian team finished in the top four at the Olympics.
How did the Indian football team perform at the Olympic Games in Rome in 1960?
The 1960 Games in Rome would mark India’s last Olympic appearance as they have failed to qualify for the tournament since. Some format changes have also been introduced in this edition.
It was the first time that a group system was introduced at the Games as India, this time led by PK Banerjee, was in the same group as Hungary, France and Peru.
In the opener, India might have lost 2-1, but not without striking back. János Göröcs and Flórián Albert had given the Hungarians a two-goal cushion before Tulsidas Balram pulled one away in the 79th minute to keep the game interesting, but India were unable to find the back of the net another time in the game.
Against France, India nearly recorded their second victory at the Olympics when PK Banerjee put his side ahead in the 71st minute. This was not going to happen, however, because the late equalizer of Gérard Coinçon saved the blues of the Blues but it was nevertheless a historic result for India.
Tulsidas Balram scored the goal again in the last group stage game against Peru, but India ended on the losing side of a 3-1 result to withdraw from the tournament to which India did not. has not yet made a return.
Why is the Indian soccer team not participating in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics?
Having failed to break out of the group stage of the 2020 AFC U-23 Championships, which has been Asian teams’ road to the Games since the Rio 2016 finals, the Indian soccer team will not compete in the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics. which should start from July 21, 2021.
India finished third in Group F consisting of Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Pakistan, although Pakistan pulled out. India lost to Uzbekistan (3-0) and Tajikistan (2-0) in the one-stop group matches.
In addition to the host nation, Japan, the 2020 AFC U-23 Championship winners, South Korea, the finalists, Saudi Arabia, and the team that finished third, Australia, placed in the top five. Asian representatives at the Tokyo Olympics in 2020.