The Indian Men’s Football Team is all set to play against Qatar in the next round of the 2026 FIFA World Cup AFC Qualifiers fixture on November 21 at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneshwar, Odisha.
After their impressive 1-0 victory over Kuwait, India is all set for a thrilling fixture with Qatar on Tuesday, November 21.
India are placed in Group A of Round 2 alongside Kuwait, Qatar and Afghanistan. India’s next clash is against Qatar on November 21 in Bhubaneswar.
If India want to qualify for the third round, they must finish in the top 2 of Group A at the end of the Round 2.
In Round 2, each of the four teams in Group A, along with eight other AFC groups, will engage in a double round-robin format. This involves facing each other home and away between November 2023 and June 2024. That means India plays, home and away, clashes againsr Kuwait, Qatar and Afghanistan in times to come.
India has a challenging yet straightforward path ahead. They aim for a top-two finish in Group A to progress to the next stage of the World Cup qualifiers. So, a total of 18 teams will go to Round 3, nine group winners and respective runner ups. Securing this spot not only means advancing but also guarantees their spot in the 2027 AFC Asian Cup.
In 2024, a draw will determine three groups of six teams each for the third round. The top two teams from these groups will secure spots in the main event.
In the previous 2022 World Cup Qualifiers, India secured third place in their group, missing out on direct advancement. Qatar and Oman claimed the top two spots, progressing to the next stage.
India are 102nd-ranked side in the world. It will not be easy vs Qatar, who are ranked 61st in FIFA rankings. This match will take place at Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar.
It was not easy either against Kuwait, who were down to just 10-man team after Faizal Zaid Al-Harbi of Kuwait was sent off in second-half stoppage time. Kuwait had started the match well, keeping possession of the ball for most part of the first half. But as the minutes passed, India’s midfield pressed higher and started creating chances for the strikers. India’s Sahal Abdul Samad had a chance in the 18th minute but failed to convert it into a goal. Both teams went neck and neck till Manvir scored the winner in the 75th minute.
The Blue Tigers need their veteran player Sunil Chhetri to do well in the further Round 2 games.