scorecardIndia vs Qatar: How can the Sunil Chhetri-less Indian team progress to the third round of FIFA World Cup 2026 qualifiers?
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India vs Qatar: How can the Sunil Chhetri-less Indian team progress to the third round of FIFA World Cup 2026 qualifiers?

India vs Qatar: How can the Sunil Chhetri-less Indian team progress to the third round of FIFA World Cup 2026 qualifiers?
Sports3 min read
The Indian men's football team faces a do-or-die encounter with reigning Asian champions Qatar in their final Group A match of the FIFA World Cup 2026 AFC qualifiers. This decisive clash will take place at the Jassim Bin Hamad Stadium in Doha on Tuesday, and the stakes couldn't be higher for India.

Compounding the challenge, India will be without their talismanic striker Sunil Chhetri, who retired from international football following a goalless draw against Kuwait last week. With Chhetri's departure, Gurpreet Singh Sandhu will step up to captain the team in Doha.

For India, the outcome of the match against Qatar will be crucial in keeping their hopes of advancing to the FIFA World Cup 2026 alive.
How can India qualify for the third round of FIFA World Cup 2026 qualifiers?
To progress to the third round of the qualifiers, India needs to secure a top-two finish in Group A. Current standings show Qatar sitting comfortably at the top with 13 points, having already secured a place in the next round. India, with five points from as many games, is second, holding a narrow lead over Afghanistan based on goal difference. Kuwait trails closely with four points.

In the final round of fixtures, India, Afghanistan and Kuwait all have a shot at claiming the second spot. While India faces the formidable task of beating Qatar, Kuwait will host Afghanistan in a parallel match that also carries significant implications.

For the Indian team, the clearest path to the next round is a win against Qatar, which would raise their points tally to eight. However, achieving this would be a colossal challenge given India’s position at 121st in the FIFA rankings compared to Qatar's 34th.

Afghanistan could also reach eight points if they secure a victory over Kuwait, but they would need to win by at least eight goals to overcome India’s goal difference—a scenario that is highly improbable.

A defeat against Qatar would extinguish India’s chances of advancing, directly relegating them to the third round of the AFC Asian Cup 2027 qualifiers. This would shift their focus from World Cup qualification to continental competition.

A draw against Qatar would take India’s points tally to six. In this case, they would need the Kuwait vs Afghanistan match to also end in a draw to maintain their second-place position based on goal difference. A win for either Afghanistan or Kuwait would see them surpass India in the standings, thus taking the second spot.

It is important to note that securing a place in the third round of qualifiers would not guarantee India a direct spot in the FIFA World Cup 2026. However, it would provide Igor Stimac's squad multiple chances to qualify, while also ensuring direct entry to the AFC Asian Cup 2027 in Saudi Arabia.
Where to watch Qatar vs India live streaming?
The Qatar vs India football match will kick off at 9:15 PM IST. It won’t be telecast on Indian television, but will be available for live streaming on the FanCode Application.
India squad for the Qatar game
Manager Igor Stimac has readied the following 22-man squad for the crucial clash against Qatar:

Goalkeepers: Gurpreet Singh Sandhu (captain), Amrinder Singh, Vishal Kaith

Defenders: Anwar Ali, Jay Gupta, Mehtab Singh, Narender, Nikhil Poojary, Rahul Bheke

Midfielders: Anirudh Thapa, Brandon Fernandes, Edmund Lalrindika, Jeakson Singh Thounaojam, Lallianzuala Chhangte, Liston Colaco, Mahesh Singh Naorem, Nandhakumar Sekar, Sahal Abdul Samad, Suresh Singh Wangjam

Forwards: Manvir Singh, Rahim Ali, Vikram Partap Singh, David Lalhlansanga

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