31 July 1948 – India’s Day Of Firsts
On 31 July 1948, India played their first official international, losing 2-1 to France in the first round of the Olympics.
Football in India dates back to 1889 and the national governing body, the All India Football Federation, formed in 1937. While the AIFF created a national team to tour neighboring countries, India did not join FIFA until 1948, making that summer's Olympics their first official tournament.
They met France in the first round at Cricklefield Stadium in Ilford, East London in front of a crowd of approximately 17,000. The day was wet and cold, which proved to be a problem for the Indian players, most of whom were playing barefoot, the dominant style in India at the time.
Nevertheless, they kept the game close, despite missing two penalties. After France took the lead with a 30th-minute goal from René Courbin, India's Sarangapani Raman (who had missed one of the penalties) equalized in the 70th minute, scoring the national team's first official goal. But France pulled ahead again in the 89th minute with a goal from René Persillon to claim the 2-1 victory.