Bengaluru, May 14: India will brace up for the gruelling season which includes the Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers, with the title defence of the Intercontinental Cup to be held from July 7 to July 17.
Tajikistan, Syria and DPR Korea are the other teams to have confirmed for the four-nation tournament, the venue of which, will be announced later.
The All Indian Football Federation (AIFF) General Secretary Kushal Das was candid while admitting that the Intercontinental Cup would be an "acid test" for the Blue Tigers ahead of the FIFA World Cup qualifiers which kick-off in September.
India 🇮🇳 to play Syria 🇸🇾, Tajikistan 🇹🇯 and DPR Korea 🇰🇵 in second edition of Hero Intercontinental Cup 🏆 in July— Indian Football Team (@IndianFootball) May 13, 2019
Statement 👉 https://t.co/L3jCOwwSpY#BlueTigers #BackTheBlue #IndianFootball pic.twitter.com/pTvf4PEfn4
The Blue Tigers will also be participating in the King's Cup in Thailand, which begins in June.
India had won the inaugural edition of Intercontinetal Cup in June last year after defeating Kenya in the final, courtesy a brace from the Hero of the Tournament, Sunil Chhetri. New Zealand, and Chinese Taipei were the other two teams in the fray.
"The AIFF and their partners FSDL have finalised an annual calendar for the Men's National Team. In June, the National Team is scheduled to participate in the King's Cup in Thailand where we play Curacao in our first match, and then either Vietnam or Thailand. These matches will hold us in good stead for the Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers starting in September 2019," Das said.
This year's Intercontinental Cup will follow the same format as the last, with the four teams playing against each other in a round-robin phase and the top two teams squaring off in the final.
"I need to thank the respective Football Federations of Syria, Tajikistan and DPR Korea for agreeing to come over for the four-nation event," Das added.