Indian Football

'Never seen a World Cup game in a stadium,' admits India talisman Sunil Chhetri

Arjun Singh Devgan
Chhetri is India's most popular footballer
Chhetri is India's most popular footballer / Matthew Ashton - AMA/GettyImages

India national football team captain and talisman, Sunil Chhetri has admitted that he has never watched a a FIFA World Cup match in a stadium as he was too busy representing his country on the pitch.

Chhetri who is without doubt the most popular and best player in the Indian squad at the moment opened up on Qatar hosting the World Cup later this year, revealing that it would be the biggest sporting event ever.

"I've hosted a few World Cup matches from TV studios, but [I’ve] never been to one [ground] because I was too busy playing for my country. We [Indian team] have played some matches in Qatar and it's a great experience to play in their air-conditioned venues. It's around 42 degrees outside, but when you enter the ground it's brilliant at 18 degrees. Besides, some of the stadiums have so many facilities like huge hotels and lounges within. It's a world-class experience," he said recently during a media interaction.

The 37-year-old who is India's all-time highest goalscorer also expressed his shock at 2020 European champions Italy failing to qualify for the World Cup for a second consecutive time, revealing that it is a good sign that unknown sides can surprise any team on their day.

"I was extremely shocked. I couldn't watch the match on TV the previous night as it was pretty late, but when I woke up the next morning and learnt that Italy had lost their qualifier to North Macedonia, I couldn't believe it. At the Euros, Italy were too good and I wondered what it would take to beat such a team. But unknown teams can surprise anyone and that's a good sign for a team like India because we are also capable of surprising any team on our day," the striker added.