Qatar set to face India in World Cup qualifier

Qatar set to face India in World Cup qualifier


Doha: India face a tough task against hosts Qatar in the final match of Round 2 of the Preliminary Joint Qualification for FIFA World Cup 2026 and AFC Asian Cup 2027 – to be played at the Jassim Bin Hamad Stadium today (June 11).

The two-time Asian champions, who are leading the group with 13 points, have already advanced but India (5 points), Afghanistan (5) and Kuwait (4) all stand a chance to finish runners-up to reach the third round of the World Cup qualifiers as well as book their berth in the Asian Cup. Kuwait will host Afghanistan at Sabah Al Salem Stadium in their last group match, also to be played tomorrow.

Qatar have already sealed top spot and are sitting pretty at the top of group with 13 points so far.

India need to defeat Al Annabi to be absolutely sure of booking their spot in the third round of the FIFA World Cup qualifiers for the first time.

Coach Igor Stimac’s side are tied on five points with Afghanistan, with Kuwait one adrift but India have a superior goal difference.

The South Asian side would have been boosted by Afghanistan holding Qatar to a goalless stalemate on Thursday, with the reigning AFC Asian Cup champions fielding a young side.

It will be India’s first match since Sunil Chhetri’s retirement from international football and Stimac will be hoping his players rise to the occasion.

India have had a lukewarm qualification campaign for the World Cup thus far, with a 1-0 victory away in Kuwait giving them a lot of hope, before draws against Afghanistan (0-0 away) and Kuwait (0-0 at home), and defeats against Qatar (0-3 at home) and Afghanistan (1-2 at home) left them with a bit of a mountain to climb.

If they get a draw against their hosts, the Blue Tigers will hope for the same in the game between Kuwait and Afghanistan. The equation will be simpler for India if they defeat Qatar, however, though the task of achieving that feat is anything but elementary.

Qatar coach Marquez Lopez said his team would got for a win. “Our goal is to achieve victory in tomorrow’s match, and we are happy with the performance that the team showed in the previous match against the Afghan team,” he said.

Qatar player Homam Al Amin said, “A difficult match awaits us. India seek to win in order to secure qualification to the next round. Our team is ready and everyone is looking forward to achieving a positive result to strengthen its lead in the group.”

The match is set to kick off at 18:45 Doha time.