2026 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers – Can high-flying team India stun Asian powerhouse Qatar in their backyard?


India’s World Cup 2026 qualifiers campaign is set to take the next step when they face Qatar in a crucial Round 2 qualifiers match on Tuesday (November 21) at Bhubaneswar’s Kalinga Stadium. In the earlier game, the Blue Tigers pulled off an important victory away from home in Kuwait City. Now India faces a stronger challenge as they host Qatar who are referred to as one of Asia’s best teams.

Ranked 61st in the world, Qatar is 41 places above India (102nd) in the FIFA World Rankings. But, it doesn’t tell everything you need to know as the Maroons are going through a tough patch of form in recent times where they are finding it hard to get the wins. Thus India should use this as a prospect to do well and take maximum points from this fixture. Scroll below to read about all the game details.

At the time of writing this India is placed in the second position of the group table right behind Qatar due to a lesser goal difference. Kuwait is in third position and Afghanistan at the bottom of the table.

Head-To-Head Guide

Matches Played – 3

India Wins – 0

Qatar Wins – 2

Matches Draw – 1

The Team’s Form Guide

India : WLLDD

Qatar : WLDDL

Predicted Starting Lineups

2026 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers - Can high-flying team India stun Asian powerhouse Qatar in their backyard? LINEUP111700517714423 edited

Possible Substitutes – Liston Colaco, Anirudh Thapa, Rohit Kumar, Udanta Singh, Mehtab Singh.

2026 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers - Can high-flying team India stun Asian powerhouse Qatar in their backyard? LINEUP111700517441968 edited

Possible Substitutes – Yusuf Abdurisag, Mohammed Muntari, Bassam Al-Rawi, Ahmed Fathi.

Opposition Players To Watch Out For?

Although there are many top-quality players in the Qatar team, we have selected the two best players who will stand out from the rest with their performances. Both of them are in hot form and will cause a threat to the Indian backline anytime during the game. Just for context, Almoez scored four goals in the last game while his compatriot Akram gave three assists to his teammates against Afghanistan.

What Did The Coaches And Players Say?

Igor Stimac – “It’s a game, where there is nothing to lose for us but a lot to win for. So let’s go for it all out.”

2026 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers - Can high-flying team India stun Asian powerhouse Qatar in their backyard? 58156569 edited

“We cannot control the external factors. We can only control our performances at the individual level and as a team. The only thing for us to do is to give our best for 90 minutes when the first whistle sounds.”

Carlos Queiroz – “Happy to be in India, we are excited about this match and I realize the difficulty and significance of it for the Indian national team, especially being on their home ground,”

2026 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers - Can high-flying team India stun Asian powerhouse Qatar in their backyard? 76492699 edited

“We are evolving day by day as a team, having a good opportunity to showcase an excellent image of the squad. Our goal is to be the best on the field, as it gives us more chances to score and win.”

IFTWC’s Match Predictions

India will take inspiration from their famous goalless draw against the Asian champions Qatar four years ago in Doha when they face them on Tuesday in the 2026 FIFA World Cup second-round AFC qualifiers match. India surprised the football fraternity when they soaked up waves of attacks to hold Qatar 0-0 on September 10, 2019. 4 years have passed on since then and India has also improved a lot, and that’s quite evident by all the recent results & performances. Can India surprise Qatar again?

Their confidence boosted after the 1-0 away win against Kuwait on November 16, India will hope to give a tough fight to Qatar, though the fancied visiting side will start as firm favorites. A draw will be as valuable as a win for India whose sole intention would be to finish 2nd in the group and qualify for Round Three of AFC’s 2026 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers, and also by default for the 2027 Asian Cup.

Match Details and Telecast News

Match Info : Round 2 Joint Qualifiers for 2026 FIFA World Cup, and 2027 AFC Asian Cup

Match Kick-Off Time : 7:00 PM (IST)

Teams : India vs Qatar

Date : Tuesday, 21st November, 2023

Venue : Kalinga Stadium, Bhubaneswar

Live Telecast : Sports 18 (1) and Sports 18 (3)

Live Streaming : Jio Cinema App

Follow IFTWC for all the Latest Updates on Indian Football.

Liven Bose
Liven Bose
A die-hard Mohun Bagan supporter and Indian Football fan from Kolkata who dreams of seeing glorious and successful days ahead.

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