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  1. ITV Report

Stephen Constantine aiming to lead India to historic qualification in Asian Cup

Stephen Constantine is in his second spell as India manager. Credit: PA

The Englishman who led India to their first Asian Cup victory since 1964 says qualifying for the knockout stage would be massive for Indian sport.

Stephen Constantine, who was once Millwall's first-team coach, is in his second spell as India manager.

India defeated Thailand 4-1 in their opener but lost their second match 2-0 against UAE, meaning they require a draw in their final group game against Bahrain.

"Initially, I think, nobody expected us to be here," Constantine told ITV London. "We are here now we've got our first three points and we're going to try to qualify out of the group.

"We've done really well to get here. We've done exceptionally well to get our first three points. Hopefully we can get the point we need to qualify for the next stage, that would be massive for Indian football."

Constantine saw his team beat Thailand in their opening fixture. Credit: PA

Constantine was born in London and brought up in the city before moving to numerous places around the world, which has seen him coach the national sides of Nepal, Sudan and Rwanda.

He first became India manager in 2002 for a three-year tenure, which saw him credited with making the national team more professional.

India are ranked 97th in the world, so qualifying for the tournament is a great achievement for the country, meaning progressing beyond the group phase could be pivotal in their history.

"Indian players are more confident now, physically stronger, we can last more than 90 minutes if we have to.

"Our preparation has changed everything we do; we have analysis, we do wellness monitoring. We cover every possible detail to help keep the players on the pitch to get the results we've got over the last four years.

"To be on the biggest platform in Asia is an achievement in itself and to win your first game in 55 years is something else."

India will play Bahrain on Monday 14 January.