Simply days after beating Kuwait of their opening match of the FIFA World Cup 2026 Qualifiers’ marketing campaign, India face a litmus take a look at in opposition to Asian champions Qatar in Bhubaneshwar on Tuesday.
The Blue Tigers had overwhelmed Kuwait 1-0 on the again of a objective from Manvir Singh within the second half to gather all three factors from the primary recreation.
India are unbeaten at residence this yr, however the greatest take a look at is ready to come back on Tuesday, when Igor Stimac’s males tackle Asian champions Qatar of their second match of the FIFA World Cup 2026 and AFC Asian Cup 2027 Preliminary Joint Qualification Spherical 2. Off to a flying begin 4 days in the past with three factors in opposition to Kuwait in Group A, India will now rely on residence assist in a really acquainted location to deal with the take a look at from the 61st-ranked Qatari aspect.
FIFA World Cup 2026 AFC qualifiers: Manvir Singh’s second-half strike helps India defeat Kuwait 1-0
India vs Kuwait, FIFA World Cup 2026 AFC qualifiers: Igor Stimac’s workforce appears to make a recent begin
“It’s a recreation, the place there may be nothing to lose for us however loads to win for. So let’s go for all of it out,” mentioned Stimac on the pre-match press convention. “We can not management the exterior components. We will solely management our performances on the particular person degree and as a workforce. The one factor for us to do is to present our greatest for 90 minutes when the primary whistle sounds.”
Accompanying the Croatian within the press convention was goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, who delivered one of many performances of his life, making 11 saves as India had held Qatar 0-0 in their very own den within the World Cup Qualifiers in 2019.
“Hopefully I’ve much less work (this time),” he chuckled. “Most factors with the least work doable is a goalkeeper’s dream. I would like the gamers in entrance of me to take pleasure in, get on the scoresheet and provides us the win.”
Qatar’s formidability doesn’t want a lot clarification. After internet hosting the blockbuster World Cup 12 months in the past, the Maroons have had a very good yr thus far below a extremely skilled head coach like Carlos Queiroz, who has managed the likes of Iran, Portugal, South Africa, Colombia, Egypt and Actual Madrid on the membership degree.
Whereas their latest type was a bit regarding, with two attracts and two losses (together with 0-4 to Iran) in 4 friendlies since September, Qatar flexed their muscle tissues within the 8-1 drubbing of Afghanistan to begin the Asian Qualifiers with a bang in Al-Rayyan. 4 of these targets got here from the boots of their document top-scorer Almoez Ali, who was the MVP on the 2019 Asian Cup.
Whereas that is the senior Qatar workforce’s first go to to India, coach Queiroz is right here for the second time. He was the Iran coach once they gained 3-0 in Bengaluru within the World Cup Qualifiers in 2015.
Stimac spoke in regards to the significance of being constant when competing at a match as large because the World Cup Qualifiers, which was one thing India lacked final day out. Following that draw with Qatar, India have been held 1-1 by each Bangladesh and Afghanistan, which finally hampered the Blue Tiger’s bid to progress to Spherical 3.
Nevertheless, Stimac reiterated that this yr has been probably the most constant one for India below his tenure.
“Once you play high-level video games consecutively with out shedding, dealing with Kyrgyzstan, Kuwait thrice, Lebanon twice, Iraq and also you don’t lose matches and hold clear sheets, it’s fairly evident that you’re constant,” he mentioned.
“I mentioned to our gamers instantly after the Kuwait recreation within the dressing room that the most effective factor is to neglect this recreation instantly. Save your vitality from celebrating, being over-confident and moving into euphoria. No, neglect it. Let’s get making ready for the Qatar recreation. That’s the one means ahead,” added Stimac.
India vs Qatar: Match will begin at 7 pm IST on 21 November
India vs Qatar LIVE streaming: The match will likely be streamed on JioCinema. The telecast will likely be out there on Sports18, Sports18 1 and Sports18 3.
Goalkeepers: Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, Amrinder Singh, Vishal Kaith.
Defenders: Sandesh Jhingan, Mehtab Singh, Lalchungnunga, Rahul Bheke, Nikhil Poojary, Akash Mishra, Roshan Singh Naorem, Subhasish Bose.
Midfielders: Suresh Singh Wangjam, Anirudh Thapa, Lalengmawia Apuia, Brandon Fernandes, Rohit Kumar, Sahal Abdul Samad, Liston Colaco, Naorem Mahesh Singh, Udanta Singh.
Forwards: Sunil Chhetri, Lallianzuala Chhangte, Manvir Singh, Ishan Pandita, Rahul KP.
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