ABU DHABI, January 4: The Indian football team received good wishes from German Bundesliga stars, including FIFA World Cup final match-winner Mario Goetze and the legendary Lothar Matthaus, ahead of Sunday’s AFC Asian Cup campaign-opener.
India kick off with a Group A game against Thailand.
Borussia Dortmund forward Mario Gotze, S V Werder Bremen great and one of Bundesliga’s all-time leading foreign goal scorers Claudio Pizarro, Borussia Monchengladbach keeper Yann Sommer, R B Leipzig’s Yimo Werner and Matthaus came together to wish the Indian team in a video shared by Bundesliga on their facebook page.
Recognising striker Sunil Chhetri’s star status in India, Pizarro urged the leading goal scorer to keep firing and inspiring the nation.
“Sunil, there is no one in India quite like you. Keep firing and inspiring the nation,” said Pizarro.
Dortmund attacker Gotze, famous for his World Cup winning goal for Germany in 2010, urged India midfielder Anirudh Thapa to make a mark of his own in Asian football’s premier competition.
Said Mario, “Anirudh you have got everything it takes to become the country’s next big superstar. Go on then, make your mark.”
Switzerland and Borussia Monchengladbach goalkeeper Yann Sommer had advice for his India counterpart – Gurpreet Singh Sandhu.
“Gurpreet, you are the guardian of the posts. Remember, block everything in sight,” said Sommer.
India are placed in Group A along with Thailand, Bahrain and host UAE. (PTI)