NEW DELHI: Indian women’s football team head coach Thomas Dennerby has insisted that “we will fight with our lives” to reach the knockout stage of the upcoming AFC Asian Cup and realise their dream of securing qualification to the 2023 FIFA World Cup.
Asked if he is confident of taking India to their first FIFA Women’s World Cup in 2023, Dennerby did not give a direct answer but said “anything can happen” if his team reaches the knockout stage (quarterfinals) of the Asian Cup.
“Let’s take it step by step. Of course, we have a dream, and that starts with us being one among the eight teams in the quarter-finals of the Asian Cup,” said the experienced Swede on FIFA website.
“If we can reach that level, anything can happen. I can only promise everyone that we will go out with a winning mentality and put in a huge effort. And that we will fight with our lives.”
Five teams from the Asian Cup, to be played in Mumbai and Pune from January 20 to February 4, will qualify directly for the 2023 World Cup. Asia got six direct berths and two intercontinental play-off spots for the FIFA World Cup. Co-hosts Australia have taken one direct spot.
Even the losing teams in the quarterfinals will play classification matches to decide who will feature for the two intercontinental play-off spots. The top two teams of each of the three groups and the two best third-placed teams qualify for the quarterfinals.
Dennerby has served as coach of Sweden and taken Nigeria to the World Cup after winning the African Championships. Now he dreams of achieving the feat with the Indian team.