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FIFA World Cup 2018: No Free Kicks Here

The one thing that can change India’s permanent status as World Cup outsider is a revolution from the ground up

FIFA World Cup 2018: No Free Kicks Here Photograph by PTI

Beneath the frothy bubble of World Cup hysteria that has Indian football fans by the scruff of their necks, lies the fact—flagrant, unchanged and depressing in its inevitabil­ity: India, a nation of 1.35 billion souls, have never played in a football World Cup in its 88-year history. Some may argue thus: Didn’t India make it to the 1950 World Cup, held in Brazil? The dispiriting answer to that is, that ‘qualification’ came by default, after several Asian countries withdrew after qualifying—and then, the Indian football federation didn’t send a team.

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