Do you know the last time when India qualified for the prestigious Fifa World Cup?

Since then, India has never been qualified for the this quadrennial football tournament.

India in FIFA World Cup 1950 , Brazil

India is considered as a country rich with cultures and traditions, and going barefoot is just one of those customs in the Indian cultural circle. It is counted as a sign of respect for holy places like temples and mosques. But on the contrary, going barefoot in sports is something that looks quite awkward when it is to be measured at the ideal standards of the game.

A similar had happened in the history of Indian sports when former legendary Indian hockey player Major Dhyanchand and legendary sprinter PT Usha opted to go barefoot in their respective competitions. But it went on to become a reason for embarrassment for the Indian sporting fraternity when they first qualified for the FIFA World Cup of 1950 held in Brazil.

The Indians were placed in the group with Sweden, Italy, and Paraguay in the World Cup of 1950. But eventually, the apex governing body of football, FIFA banned the Indian team from the tournament just after they learned that the team would not be there in the traditional football boots and are going to appear barefoot in the quadrennial football tournament.

Notably, it was the first and only time that India qualified for this marquee tournament of football.

Prior to that, the first football team of Independent India played barefoot in the London Olympics of 1948. They had bandages on their feet to avoid the scare of any injury.

Renowned Indian historian and statistician Goutam Roy had also a say regarding the same.

Here’s what historian Goutam Roy said about Indian players’ barefoot appearance in major international competitions:

“Back then, Indians were not used to playing with boots on, and that’s why most footballers did not wear shoes during that match,” he wrote. “It was only after the 1-10 defeat against Yugoslavia in the 1952 Helsinki Olympics that boots were made mandatory in Indian football,” said Goutam Roy in one of his statements.

Now, speaking of the FIFA World Cup of 2022, it is all set to start on the 20th of November next week with the first match between the hosts Qatar and Ecuador. The match will be played at the Al Bayt Stadium of Qatar at 9.30 PM according to the Indian standard time.

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