2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers: India face a tricky testLast updated on Jul 19, 2019, 12:17 am
The Indian men's football team will start its preparations for the upcoming 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers. They are scheduled to take place from September onwards.
The draw for the Qualifiers has been released and India face a tricky test.
Notably, India failed to win a single game in the recently concluded Intercontinental Cup under coach Igor Stimac.
India pitted against Oman, Afghanistan, Qatar and Bangladesh
Wednesday's draw in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia saw India get pitted in Group E.
The Indian team, which is ranked 101st in the world, will come up against the likes of AFC Asian Cup champions Qatar (55), Gulf heavyweights Oman (86), Afghanistan (149) and Bangladesh (183).
The format will see teams featuring in a round-robin format with home and away games.
India in a tough group
How did India perform in 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers?
India will be hoping to get things right this time around and achieve the impossible. In 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers, the side had finished bottom after the second round. Back then they had faced the likes of Iran, Turkmenistan, Oman, and Guam.
Save the dates: India's list of games
The Blue Tigers face a tough start to their campaign with Oman (home) on September 5 and Qatar (away) on September 10.
This could set the tone for the rest of the matches.
They take on Bangladesh at home on October 15.
In November, India play twice away against Afghanistan and Oman (November 14 and 19).
India's next matches are in March and June.
India need to finish in top two
Qatar are the heavyweights in this group and are destined to take first place.
If India have to qualify for the next round, then they need to stay ahead of Oman and finish second.
Also, India cannot take Afghanistan and Bangladesh lightly.
One will hope that coach Stimac, who earlier guided Croatia, can use all his experience and help India.