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FIFA WC Qualifiers: With qualification at stake, India to start post-Chhetri era against Qatar

10 Jun, 2024 20:05 IST|Sakshi Post

Doha (Qatar), June 10 (IANS) With their qualification spot on the line following the draw with Kuwait, the Indian men's football team will face a strong Qatar side in a crucial second-round Group A qualifying match of AFC FIFA World Cup on Tuesday at the Jassim bin Hamad stadium here.

Qatar have already qualified for the next round and will comfortably top the group, but India are in a race with Afghanistan and Kuwait for the second spot. India are hoping to make their maiden entry into the third round of World Cup Qualifying.

For this fixture, India will also play without the services of their legendary forward, Sunil Chhetri, a name synonymous with Indian football. Chhetri played his final game in the previous match against Kuwait at the Salt Lake Stadium in Kolkata.

India’s recent performances have been disappointing but a strong showing here could mean automatic progression to the AFC Asian Cup 2027 - a target which coach Igor Stimac has been quite vocal about. The Blue Tigers have named Gurpreet Singh Sandhu as the captain for this game. With 72 caps, the 32-year-old is now the most experienced and longest-serving player in the national team after Chhetri's departure.

The Blue Tigers enter the match in a must-win scenario where they need some points. A loss to Qatar in the final round of the Group A qualifier would mean direct elimination from the World Cup qualifiers and a potentially tricky longer route to the AFC Asia Cup 2027.

If India defeat Qatar, they will all but guarantee themselves a spot in the next round of World Cup Qualifiers, thanks to their superior goal difference. If India draw against Qatar, they will qualify for the third round only if the match between Kuwait and Afghanistan, which will kick off in Kuwait City two hours after India's match, also ends in a draw.

In that scenario, India will finish second in the group with six points, the same as Afghanistan, but with a better goal difference.

Football fans can catch all the action on FanCode’s mobile app (Android, iOS), TV app available on Android TV, Fire TV Stick, Samsung TV, Jio Platforms, Prime Video, Vodafone Idea, Airtel XStream and www.fancode.com.

Disclaimer: This story has not been edited by the Sakshi Post team and is auto-generated from syndicated feed.

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