After Blue Tigers' inspiring win over Kuwait, Sunil Chhetri-led Indian Football team will lead out his team against a formidable Qatar in their 2026 FIFA World Cup second round qualifiers match on Tuesday in Bhubaneswar. (Streaming | IND Vs KUW Highlights | More Football News)
India will take inspiration from their famous goal-less draw against the Asian champions four years ago as they eye consecutive victories in the Qualifying stage.
Their confidence has been boosted after the 1-0 away win against Kuwait on November 16, India will hope to give a tough fight to Qatar, though the fancied visiting side will start as firm favourites. India had surprised the football fraternity when they soaked up waves of attacks to hold Qatar 0-0 on September 10, 2019 in their 2022 World Cup second round qualifiers in Doha. Qatar were then in red-hot form, having won the Asia Cup title in early 2019.
Influential skipper Chhetri was not available in the match against Kuwait as he was indisposed but he would be eager to show his class at the Kalinga Stadium on Tuesday.
Speaking ahead of the Qatar game, Indian football team coach Igor Stimac said his side are perfectly capable of pulling off a 'surprise or two' but has warned his side to not lower their guard.
“We have analysed Qatar from every angle and position and know very well what they are capable of in terms of speed and strength. Their defensive and offensive positions are immaculate, which they demonstrated against Afghanistan by scoring eight goals. They could well have scored eight more. It is going to be very difficult and I just want the boys to enjoy their game in the next match. The first and bigger part was accomplished by winning against Kuwait, now I want the boys not to take any pressure and show their quality against Qatar,” Stimac was quoted on the AIFF website.
Qatar are ranked world no. 61 in the FIFA rankings and were recently part of the 2022 World Cup. Their superiority is visible as they are sixth-best team in Asia. Qatar have played India in three games and all have been in the FIFA World Cup Qualifiers. India have lost two and drawn one against the Qataris in these three matches.
Indian Football Team squad:
Goalkeepers: Amrinder Singh, Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, Vishal Kaith.
Defenders: Akash Mishra, Lalchungnunga, Mehtab Singh, Nikhil Poojary, Rahul Bheke, Roshan Singh, Sandesh Jhingan, Subhasish Bose.
Midfielders: Anirudh Thapa, Brandon Fernandes, Glan Martins, Apuia Ralte, Liston Colaco, Mahesh Singh Naorem, Nandhakumar Sekar, Rohit Kumar, Sahal Abdul Samad, Suresh Singh Wangjam, Udanta Singh.
Forwards: Ishan Pandita, Lallianzuala Chhangte, Manvir Singh, Rahul KP, Sunil Chhetri, Vikram Partap Singh.