Qatar vs India: Preview and Prediction

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Gurpreet will be leading India against Qatar

India will take on the mighty Qatar on 11th June from 9:15 PM IST in their final Group A game at the Jassim Bin Hamad Stadium in Doha for the 2026 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers

The Blue Tigers, who were in action against Kuwait a few days back in Kolkata will of course be without their stalwart Sunil Chhetri, who has bid adieu to international football. The Blue Tigers are currently placed second in the group with 5 points from as many games, just the same as Afghanistan while Kuwait have picked 4 points from 5 games so far.

For India, a chance to make it to the third round still awaits. A victory against the formidable hosts would see them qualify without having to depend on any other results. A draw would also suffice, provided Kuwait and Afghanistan also play out a stalemate.

Qatar sit atop the group, with 13 points from 5 matches having already made the cut for the next stage. They have drawn only 1 game so far this year, the last one they played against former Bengaluru gaffer Ashley Westwood’s Afghanistan. 

However, they do hold the key to deciding the fate of which of the other three teams will occupy the second and final berth and with India having never made it to the third round in their history, all eyes will be on Igor Stimac and his boys on how they cope with this colossal challenge without the presence of their talisman and their highest-ever goalscorer.

Current Form

India, who are winless in 2024 played out a meek 0-0 draw against Kuwait in their last game at the Salt Lake Stadium. Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, who has been named captain by Stimac post Chhetri put in a man-of-the-match performance to save Stimac’s blushes. As a result, the Blue Tigers currently have a -3 goal difference as compared to the next-ranked Afghanistan who are at -10, despite producing some superb performances of late.

Qatar, the two-time Asian champions, are coming off a similar stalemate against Afghanistan at the Prince Abdullah Bin Jalawi Stadium. 

Head to Head Record

The two sides have faced each other 4 times, with India garnering 1 draw and 3 losses thus far. In the reverse leg,  Qatar made light work of the Blue Tigers as they put 3 past us as Moustafa Tarek, Almoez Ali and Yousuf Abdurisag all bagged goals at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar.

Team News

Subhasish Bose would miss Igor Stimac’s last match as head coach of Indian team

For India, the most notable absence will be of course that of Sunil Chhetri. Defenders Amey Ranawade, Lalchungnunga, and Subhasish Bose are not travelling to Doha while the 32-year old Gurpreet, who is currently the longest-serving player in the team will be captaining the side. 

It is worth remembering that it was the custodian’s heroics that saw India hold the same opposition to a 0-0 draw way back in 2019 and he will certainly be hoping he can inspire his side to a similar result.

Qatar, for whom this game is nothing but a mere formality, has named a fairly young team for this clash, with 21 of its 29 players under the age of 24. Manager Tintin Marquez has a full squad to choose from though and he will be demanding an answer from his side.

Predicted Starting XIs

India (4-5-1): Gurpreet Singh; Nikhil Poojary, Rahul Bheke, Anwar Ali, Jay Gupta; Lallianzuala Chhangte, Suresh Singh Wangjam, Jeakson Singh, Brandon Fernandes, Manvir Singh; Rahim Ali.

Qatar(3-4-2-1): Saad Al Sheeb; Abdalla Yousif, Mohammed Emad Aiash, Yousef Zeyad Marel; Tahsin Mohammed Jamshid, Naif Al-Hadhrami, Moustafa Tarek Mashal, Homam Ahmed; Abdulla Alyazidi, Ibrahim Mohammad Al Hassan; Ahmed Al-Rawi.


If recent form is any indication, it is indeed impossible to see how India can eke out a favourable result against the defending Asian Cup champions. Particularly worrying in the last clash was the form of Nikhil Poojary and Rahim Ali, who were both guilty of poor performances and India was bailed out by Gurpreet’s heroics on several chances.

Qatar will be a much less forgiving moment and are more likely to be far more clinical in front of goal so barring a major upset, it is likely that the home side will bag all 3 points.