MNT to Face Three New Opponents in Intercontinental Cup This Month
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In mid-April the All India Football Federation announced that it would host the 3rd Annual Hero Intercontinental Tournament from 9 to 18 June 2023. Along with the hosts, Lebanon, Vanuatu, and Mongolia were announced as participants.
Today the Mongolian Football Federation confirmed the Blue Wolves' participation and unveiled coach Ichiro Otsuka's squad. The roster does not include any major surprises other than the exclusion of joint all-time top scorer Naranbold Nyam-Osor who is having a slow campaign with Khovd in the Premier League. Ganbayar Ganbold of Slovakia's FC Komarno is once again the only legionnaire on the list.
All three matches will be historic for the men's national team. Mongolia has never faced any of the other nations at the senior men's level. The competition will also be the first time the team has competed in a "friendly tournament" outside of regional, confederation, or FIFA World Cup qualification, and its first tournament with participants from more than one confederation.
The match against Vanuatu will also mark the team's first contest against a member of the Oceania Football Confederation. Despite Vanuatu's superior standing in FIFA's world rankings, the match may provide Mongolia with the opportunity to score a few goals. Following the match against UEFA member Georgia in March 2023, Mongolia will have played against a member of every confederation other than CONCACAF and CONMEBOL.
At 183, Mongolia will be the lowest ranked nation in the tournament with Lebanon, India, and Vanuatu ranked 99, 101, and 164, respectively.
India and North Korea won the tournament in 2018 and 2019, respectively. This edition of the tournament will be the first since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Other notable past participants include Kenya, New Zealand, and Taiwan.
09/06/2023 vs. India (22:00 UB Time)
12/06/2023 vs. Lebanon (19:00 UB Time)
15/06/2023 vs. Vanuatu (19:00 UB Time)