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How Indian football team can still qualify for World Cup Qualifiers Third round after defeat vs Afghanistan

Indian football team FIFA World Cup Qualifiers Third round Afghanistan Qatar Kuwait 2024

It went from bad to worse, from Abha to Guwahati, fortune took a nose dive rather than jumping back-up as Indian football team suffered a humiliating defeat against Afghanistan football team in the 2nd leg of the World Cup Qualifier.

The 2nd leg of the India vs Afghanistan FIFA World Cup qualifier match was played at the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium in Guwahati. Team India, under the leadership of head coach Igor Stimac, arrived in Guwahati after a frustrating draw against Afghanistan in the 1st leg played in Abha, Saudi Arabia on 22nd of March.

Days changed, date changed in calender, but the Indian football team once again put-up a really mediocre performance. India captain and legend Sunil Chhetri gave India the lead in the first-half at the 38th minute of the match from the penalty spot.

Afghanistan found its way back in the match in the 2nd half when Rahmat Akbari scored for Afghanistan at the 70th minute, moments after India subbed-off captain Sunil Chhetri.

And when it seemed like everything was heading towards a draw, one mistake from Indian goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu inside his own box, resulted in a 89th minute penalty for Afghanistan. Sharif Mukhammad eventually converted from the spot and gave Afghanistan the win and all 3 points.

This defeat left each and every Indian football fans embarrassed as despite it being a home match for India, Afghanistan was much better throughout the match. Fans let their anger heard to the team and the head coach after the match finished.

FIFA World Cup Qualifiers Asia Group A Points Table

In other news, the only positive for the Indian football team and the fans on a rather embarrassing night was that Qatar beating Kuwait, which means India still has a chance to qualify for the third round.

Qatar is confirmed to finish at the top of the table after winning all 4 of their matches. Team India is still 2nd in the group on the basis of goal difference, having 4 points from as many matches. Afghanistan also now have 4 points from 4 matches, but currently sits 3rd in the group. Kuwait is 4th with only 3 points from 4 matches.

Qatar - 12 Points - 4 Matches Played
India - 04 Points - 4 Matches Played
Afghanistan - 04 Points - 4 Matches Played
Kuwait - 03 Points - 4 Matches Played

How can Indian football team still qualify for World Cup qualifiers third round?

There is still a slight chance for Indian team to qualify for the third round of the FIFA World Cup qualifiers. But, they have to play much better than what everyone saw against Afghanistan in these two matches. 

Scenario 1: For Indian football team to qualify for the third round of the FIFA World Cup qualifiers, the Blue Tigers will have to beat Kuwait in June. At the same time, hope that Afghanistan loses to Qatar and also Kuwait. In that case, India will have 7 points while if Kuwait beats Afghanistan, they will have 6 points. In case Afghanistan win one of the two matches, Team India must hope they don't lose by big margin or Afghanistan don't win by big goal difference.

Scenario 2: This is the most unlikeliest of ways Indian football team can qualify for FIFA World Cup qualifiers third round. In this scenario, if India loses their match against Kuwait in June, they must beat Qatar and also hope Kuwait loses their match against Afghanistan, while also hope Afghanistan don't beat Kuwait by big margin. In that case, India will have 7 points, Afghanistan will have 7 points, Kuwait will have 6 points. But beating Qatar won't be a cake walk for Team India.

Scenario 3: In case India only manages to draw the match vs Kuwait, they will have to beat Qatar in their last match in the 2nd round. If India beats Qatar, they don't need to worry about the result between Afghanistan and Kuwait as India will have 8 points and the winning team from Kuwait vs Afghanistan can reach at maximum 7 points, unless Afghanistan do the unthinkable and beat Qatar themselves.

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