India regularly qualified for the football event at the Olympic Games between 1948 and 1960

The Indian national soccer team qualified for the Olympic Games for the first time in 1948 and has participated in a total of four Olympic Games. Since the Olympic Games in Rome in 1960, however, no Indian team has ever managed to take part in the competition.

The four Olympic Games in India were 1948 (London), 1952 (Helsinki), 1956 (Melbourne) and 1960 (Rome), with the stay in Melbourne being his best performance.

How did the Indian soccer team fare at the 1948 Olympic Games in London?

Less than a year after independence from British rule, India made its Olympic debut against France on July 31, 1948 at the Lynn Road Stadium in East London after automatically qualifying for the London Games. Under the direction of Dr. Talimeren Ao, a family doctor from Nagaland, and trained by Balaidas Chatterjee, this was India’s first international game after independence.

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Indian national team Olympic Games 1948

After France broke through with a goal from René Courbin, Sarangapani Raman scored Independent India’s first international goal in the 70th minute. Sailen Manna and Mahabir Prasad failed to convert every penalty they took before Rene Persillon’s 89th-minute winner resulted in India having to pack their bags given the knockout character.

India played the game barefoot and it was interesting to remember the words Captain Ao said after the tie: “Well, you see, we are playing football in India while you are playing bootball.”

How did the Indian soccer team fare at the Helsinki Olympics in 1952?

Mohun Bagan legend Sailen Manna was the team captain when India returned for the Helsinki Games. Once again, the opening game was the only appearance for the team when they were defeated 10-1 against eventual silver medalist Yugoslavia. India’s only goal was scored by Ahmed Khan in the 89th minute.

The Yugoslav team had several players who had played at the World Cup. Bernard ‘Bajdo’ Vukas, who scored one goal in each half. Rajko Mitić and Tihomir “Bata” Ognjanov also scored a brace each, while Branislav “Branko” Zebec completed a hat-trick and added another in a tie.

How did the Indian soccer team fare at the Melbourne Olympics in 1956?

The 1956 Melbourne Games will remain the most talked about as the Indian soccer team finished fourth.

In a way, lucky enough to win the first game against the most successful team in football at the Summer Olympics, Hungary – a team that consisted of players like Ferenc Puskas and Sandor Kocsis had to fight back home because of the Hungarian revolution withdraw from the tournament, India stood in the quarter-finals against hosts Australia.

GFX Indian National Team 1956 Olympic Games

Trained by Syed Abdul Rahim, Samar Banerjee, another Bagan, India legend, led her to her first win at the Games. Inspired by a youthful PK Banerjee on the wings, young and prolific Neville D’Souza scored the first hat trick for an Asian at the Olympics, while Kishan Kittu completed the record in a 4-2 win at Melbourne Cricket Ground.

In the semifinals, India was next against Yugoslavia. But Rahim’s men suffered a 4-1 defeat where, interestingly, Neville D’Souza had given India the lead in the 52nd minute after a goalless first half. After losing the semi-finals, India fought Bulgaria for the bronze medal, but lost 3-0 and finished fourth instead.

With four goals the Indian Neville D’Souza was nevertheless together with Todor Veselinovi from Yugoslavia and the Bulgarian Dimitar Milanov together top scorer of the tournament. It was also the first time an Asian team finished in the top four at the Olympics.

How did the Indian soccer team fare at the 1960 Olympic Games in Rome?

The 1960 Rome Games marked India’s last participation in the Olympic Games as they have not been able to qualify for the tournament since then. Some format changes were also introduced in this edition.

It was the first time a group system had been introduced at the Games as India, this time led by PK Banerjee, was in the same group as Hungary, France and Peru.

Indian national team 1960 Olympic Games

India might have lost 2-1 in the opening game, but not without starting to catch up. János Göröcs and Flórián Albert gave the Hungarians a two-goal cushion before Tulsidas Balram in 79.

India almost won their second Olympics against France when PK Banerjee put his side in the lead in the 71st minute. That wasn’t supposed to happen, however, as Gérard Coinçon’s late equalizer saved the Les Blues blush, but it was a historic result for India nonetheless.

Tulsidas Balram was back on target in the last group game against Peru, but India ended up losing 3-1 and eliminated from the tournament. India has yet to return.

Why is the Indian soccer team not participating in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics?

With the Indian soccer team not leaving the group stage of the 2020 AFC U-23 championship, which has been the path for Asian teams to the Games since the 2016 Rio Final, the Indian soccer team will not compete in the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics onwards should start on July 21, 2021.

India U-23 Uzbekistan

India finished third in Group F, which consisted of Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Pakistan, although Pakistan pulled back. India lost to both Uzbekistan (3-0) and Tajikistan (2-0) in the individual group matches.

In addition to the host country Japan, the winner of the AFC U-23 Championship 2020, South Korea, the runner-up Saudi Arabia and the team that finished third, Australia, made the cut among the Asian representatives at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.

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