Indian Football Team to compete in FIFA World Cup 2026 and AFC Asian Cup 2027 qualifiers:
The Indian Football Team will compete in the FIFA World Cup 2026 and AFC Asian Cup 2027 qualifiers from November 16, 2023. India has been drawn in Group A of the Asian qualifiers, alongside Qatar, Kuwait, and Afghanistan.
India’s campaign will begin with an away match against Kuwait on November 16, 2023. They will then host Qatar, the defending AFC Asian Cup champions, on November 21, 2023, at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar. India will hold a training camp in Dubai before the World Cup qualifier against Kuwait.
India is the second-ranked team in Group A, behind only Qatar (global No. 59). Kuwait ranks 137th. Qatar is the clear favorite to win the group, but India will be looking to finish second and qualify for the AFC Asian Cup 2027 through the playoffs.
The Igor Stimac-coached Indian team has already played Kuwait twice this year in the 2023 SAFF Championship. The first match resulted in a 1-1 draw, but India won the trophy on penalties in the final.
| OFFICIAL ☑️ : Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar to play the host for highly anticipated match India vs Qatar in the Joint-Qualifiers of FIFA World Cup 2026/AFC Asian Cup 2027 on November 21, 2023. #IndianFootball pic.twitter.com/ZugMAu9pEH
— 90ndstoppage (@90ndstoppage) September 2, 2023
India has never qualified for the FIFA World Cup main draw, but they will be hoping to make history in the 2026 qualifiers. However, the Blue Tigers will face a tough challenge in Group A.
Qatar is a strong team that has been on the rise in recent years. They won the AFC Asian Cup in 2019 and hosted the FIFA World Cup in 2022. Kuwait is also a well-established team in Asia. They have qualified for the AFC Asian Cup on 14 occasions, and they reached the semifinals in 1976 and 1980.
Despite the challenges, India is not without hope. The team has made significant progress in recent years under coach Igor Stimac. They won the Intercontinental Cup in 2018 and the SAFF Championship in 2021. They also held Qatar to a 0-0 draw in the FIFA World Cup 2022 qualifiers.
India will need to be at their best if they want to finish second in Group A and qualify for the AFC Asian Cup 2027 through the playoffs. The team will need to play strong defense and be clinical in attack. They will also need to avoid making any mistakes.
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