India vs Qatar: Preview and Prediction
The Blue Tigers will lock horns against Qatar in their second-round fixture in the FIFA World Cup qualifiers on Tuesday. Igor Stimac’s side got a poetic start to their second-round campaign after they took down Kuwait in the opening fixture.
Consequently, the Indian football team will be looking forward to getting a step further in the qualification process by getting the better of the 2022 FIFA World Cup hosts, Qatar. The emotions will be flowing high at the Kalinga Stadium as all the tickets for the match have already been booked by football enthusiasts 48 hours ahead of kickoff.
The Blue Tigers earned a thrilling win over the likes of Kuwait in their first match of the second round qualification stage for the 2026 FIFA World Cup on Thursday. Playing at the Jaber Al-Ahmad International Stadium in Al-Ardiya, the Indian football side produced a performance that will be remembered for a long time.
India faced Kuwait for the third time in 2023, before the World Cup qualification, they faced each other twice in the SAFF Championships. The Blue Tigers also came up victorious against the Middle Eastern nation in the final of the SAFF Championships, however, it was on penalty kicks (5-4). Hence, their recent win over Al-Azraq marked their first victory over Kuwait in 90 minutes. Manvir Singh emerged as the only goalscorer of the match after he scored in the 75th minute.
On the other side, Qatar hosted Afghanistan at the Khalifa International Stadium on Thursday. In actual terms, the match ended up being a one-sided affair as Qatar dominated Afghanistan utterly in possession, shots, and passes. The 2022 FIFA World Cup hosts took 17 shots on target while Afghanistan had only one, which was a goal scored by Amredin Sharifi.
Almoez Ali scored four goals and he was subbed out in the 61st minute. The other four goals were scored by Ahmed Alaaeldin, Mostafa Meshaal, Hassan Al Haidos, and Tameem Al Abdullah as the final scoreboard read 8-1.
India and Qatar have locked horns against each other on a total of three occasions. Two of their fixtures have ended as a draw while Qatar has managed to win on one occasion. They played their last match against each other in June 2021, which was won by Qatar 1-0.
Igor Stimac’s India will be missing two big young names, Jeakson Singh and Anwar Ali in the match against Qatar due to injuries. Jeakson Singh suffered a shoulder injury during Kerala Blasters’ Indian Super League fixture against Mumbai City on October 8. He has been sidelined for two months.
Anwar Ali became an important part of the Indian defensive unit with his formidable partnership with the experienced Sandesh Jhingan. However, he also won’t be joining the Indian football team after he suffered an ankle injury against Basundhara Kings in the AFC Cup.
On the other hand, no injuries or suspensions have been recorded from Qatar’s side. The 2022 FIFA World Cup hosts are expected to face the Blue Tigers with full strength. Moreover, Indian coach Igor Stimac has stated that facing Qatar will be their biggest challenge.
India (4-3-3): Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, Nikhil Poojary, Sandesh Jhingan, Lalchungnunga, Akash Mishra, Apuia, Anirudh Thapa, Sahal Abdul Samad, Manvir Singh, Sunil Chhetri, Naorem Mahesh Singh
Qatar (4-3-3): Meshaal Barsham, Bassam Al Rawi, Ahmed Suhail Saber Al-Hamawende, Tarek Salman, Homam Ahmed, Yusuf Abdurisag, Abdulaziz Hatem, Ahmed Alaaeldin, Ahmed Fathi, Almoez Ali, Akram Afif
The Indian football team recorded an instrumental victory over Kuwait in an away fixture. Moreover, the triumph has given the Blue Tigers momentum ahead of their big match against Qatar. Playing at the Kalinga Stadium, Igor Stimac’s side will have a home advantage but Qatar would bring their A-Game in a match that will amount to qualification for both, the 2026 FIFA World Cup and the 2027 AFC Asian Cup.