The Indian Football Team will aim for nothing less than three points as they face Group A leaders Qatar at the Jassim Bin Hamad Stadium in Ar-Rayyan for their final game in the second round of the FIFA World Cup and AFC Asian Cup Joint Qualifiers on Tuesday.

The upcoming fixture holds immense significance, as a victory against Qatar could pave the way for the Blue Tigers to secure their first-ever qualification to the third round, marking a historic milestone in Indian football. Meanwhile, the Maroons have already secured their place in the next round and remain the only unbeaten team in the group.

Also Read: What India need to qualify to the third round?

The reigning Asian champions have opted for a young squad for their June fixtures. The Blue Tigers secured a draw against Kuwait in the previous game, while Qatar also played out a goalless draw against Afghanistan, intensifying the battle for the second spot leading up to the final fixture.

With Sunil Chhetri retiring after the Kuwait game, Igor Stimac’s men must now find a way to fill the void up front and secure a victory to ensure their progression to the third round, unless Afghanistan beat Kuwait by a big margin. A draw could also be enough for India if the Kuwait-Afghanistan game ends in a stalemate, but a defeat would end their hopes of qualification to the third round.

FIFA Rankings

Qatar: 34

India: 121

Qatar are currently in excellent form, having secured 13 out of 15 possible points from the group-stage fixtures. With four wins and a draw, the Maroons sit at the summit of the table, confirming their place in the third round. Marquez’s men scored a whopping 16 goals while conceding only two in their five matches in the qualifiers. Qatar are currently unbeaten in their last 10 outings since the 2-1 defeat to Jordan in January.

The Blue Tigers, on the other hand, are winless in their last seven matches, which has seen them drop significantly in the FIFA rankings. They now face an uphill task against the much higher-ranked Qatar side, who, despite fielding a younger squad, will pose a significant threat to Stiamc's side.

Form Guide

Qatar: DWWWW

Qatar remain unbeaten in their last ten matches, which includes their AFC Asian Cup triumph in January on home soil. They have announced a younger squad for their final two matches against Afghanistan and India. Despite dominating the game against Afghanistan the other day, Qatar failed to break the deadlock, a problem they will surely look to address against India.

India: DLDLL

India have struggled in recent matches, including failing to secure a win against much lower-ranked Afghanistan over two legs. The Blue Tigers will need to overcome their winless streak of seven matches to advance in the qualifiers. Their last win was back in November.

India will also miss the presence of Sunil Chhetri upfront. Young Vikram Pratap Singh, who missed out the game against Kuwait, could lead the line for the Blue Tigers against Qatar.

Key Battles

Moustafa Tarek Mashaal vs Suresh Singh Wangjam: The battle in the midfield, where the outcome of the game is often decided, is to determine who reigns supreme in the game. Singh, known for his tireless work in the middle of the park, will face off against Tarek. The 23-year-old Qatar midfielder possesses immense quality to push forward and will aim to apply pressure to the Indian backline. Tarek previously scored against India in the reverse fixture. The Bengaluru FC midfielder will need to deliver a strong performance to outmatch Tarek on Tuesday.

Homam Ahmed vs Lallianzuala Chhangte: In the absence of Chhetri, all goalscoring and creating tasks will fall on Chhangte's shoulders. The Mumbai City FC player seeks to challenge the Qatar defence with his rapid speed and nimble footwork on counterattacks. However, he will encounter 24-year-old Ahmed, who aims to disrupt Chhangte's runs and apply pressure on the Indian right flank with his overlapping runs.

Ahmed Al Rawi vs. Anwar Ali:  Another battle worth noting is between Ahmed Al Rawi and Anwar Ali. Al Rawi is set to lead Qatar's frontline. The 20-year-old is determined to prove his worth, having featured in four qualifier matches so far and secured one goal. Anwar Ali, who performed well against Kuwait, will be tasked with containing the Qatar striker.

Match Details

Teams: Qatar vs India  

Date: June 11, 2024  

Venue: Jassim bin Hamad Stadium, Ar-Rayyan  

Time: 9:15 PM IST  

Live Streaming: FanCode