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The Indian football team will face Afghanistan in what will be an important 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifier match on 14th November in Dushanbe, Afghanistan. The game will prove to be a stern test for the squad due to the playing conditions. The match will be played on an astroturf which will be the least of the worries for the team. Tough weather conditions for the Blue Tigers will be a bigger challenge as the temperature is expected to be below zero degrees.
India’s performance in 2022 World Cup Qualifiers so far
In their first game of the qualifiers, India was defeated 2-1 by Oman. The game that was played in early September saw India take the lead against their opponents. A 24th minute Sunil Chhetri strike was cancelled as Oman equalised in the 82nd minute. Adding to the disappointment, Al Mandhar Al Alawi scored his 2nd goal of the night in the 90th minute, handing India a disappointing defeat.
Five days later, India travelled to Doha to play against Qatar who was going to be their toughest opponents of the campaign. The Blue Tigers were the underdogs going into this game and earned a well-deserved draw against the 2022 World Cup hosts. Passionate defending and goal-keeping brilliance from Gurpreet Singh ensured the hosts didn’t score a single goal on the night.
On the 15th of October, India hosted Bangladesh. In the game that featured the two neighbouring countries, the Bengal Tigers went ahead in the 42nd minute by a goal from Saad Uddin. As the game neared the full-time, tensions started growing around the stadium as the Blue Tigers were headed for their 2nd defeat. A thunderous header from Adil Khan in the 88th minute relieved the tension as India drew the game.
Head to Head
India has played 8 games against Afghanistan. The Blue Tigers have won 6 of those, drawing one game and losing just once. The duo last faced off on 3rd Jan 2016 in the South Asian Football Federation (SAFF) Championship. India was victorious in that game, winning 2-1. Their only defeat against the Afghans came in 2013, in the SAFF championships as Afghanistan won 2-0.
India has a chance of qualifying for the next rounds of the World Cup Qualifiers should they make it to the top 2 of the table from the remaining 4 games. The top 2 teams also get a direct entry in the AFC cup.
|Afghanistan vs India
|14th November 2019
|Oman vs India
|19th November 2019
|India vs Qatar
|23rd March 2020
|Bangladesh vs India
|4th June 2020
Where to watch
The game will be available to stream on Hotstar, Star Sports and Jio TV. (TBC)