New Delhi: India’s national football team is all set to clash with World Cup 2022’s hosts Qatar in the FIFA World Cup 2026 AFC qualifiers in Odisha’s Kalinga Stadium tomorrow (21 November).
The Blue Tigers started their qualifiers journey with a bang by defeating Kuwait 1-0 in a thrilling contest that was played between the two sides at Jaber Al-Ahmad International Stadium last Thursday.
𝗪𝗛𝗘𝗡 @manvir_singh07 𝗖𝗔𝗠𝗘 𝗖𝗔𝗟𝗟𝗜𝗡𝗚💙🇮🇳
— Indian Football Team (@IndianFootball) November 17, 2023
However, Qatar is a way stronger side on paper and it will take a collective effort from the men in blue to upset them and register a victory in the second round of the World Cup qualifiers.
The live-action between the two teams will be streamed live on the leading digital platform Jio Cinema and televised on Sports 18 Channel.
Quatar’s Dominating Victory over Afghanistan
Speaking of Qatar, the maroon team started their journey on a good note by outclassing Afghanistan with a thumping 8-1 victory in Khalifa International Stadium on 16 November.
Even Against India, they will start off as red-hot favorites and will do anything it takes to continue their winning streak by defeating India with a huge margin to march into the third round of the FIFA World Cup 2026 qualifiers.
On the other hand, India will have to play the game of their lives and at least hold Qatar on a draw if winning the game becomes a huge task.
Determined to do exactly the same, the Blue team was seen sweating it out while practicing passionately in Odisa Football Academy ahead of their awaited clash with Quatar’s football team.
Check it out here:
— Odisha Sports (@sports_odisha) November 18, 2023
Although the initial victory in the qualifiers has boosted India’s spirit and self-belief, they are still concerned about the unavailability of game-changers like Anwar Ali, Ashique Kuruniyan, and Jeakson Singh.
However, the good news for India is that head coach Igor Stimac has a master plan that will allow the players to play to their strengths.
India’s ideal lineup against Qatar
While the Coach of Qatar is known for using a 4-3-3 system against weaker teams, India’s Igor Stimac prefers his time-tested 4-2-3-2 strategy which lets all the players stick to their strength and play to their fullest.
Ideally, Mahesh Naorem should position himself on the left opposite of Manvir Singh and Sahal Abdul should start from the center of the three players assisting line for captain Sunil Chettri.
Akash Mishra and Nikhil Pujary should go for a Fullback (FB) in the offensive backfield so their raid down the flacks can come to the team’s aid in case India fails to utilize Chhangte’s speed and agility.
Mehtab Singh and Sandesh Jhingan should hold the responsibility of anchoring the backline.
India Vs Qatar FIFA World Cup qualifier Playing 11 Predictions:
India’s XI: Sunil Chhetri (c) Nikhil Poojary, Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, Sandesh Jhingan, Rahul Bheke, Akash Mishra, Apuia, Anirudh Thapa, Sahal Abdul Samad, Naorem Mahesh Singh and Manvir Singh.
Qatar’s XI: Al Sheeb,Ali, Hassan, Khoukhi, Al Rawi, Haddadi, Hatem, Boudiaf, Al Ahraq, Al Haydos (c) Mohammad,