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Tuesday, April 16, 2024

India wants to win the FIFA World Cup qualifier versus Afghanistan by three points


<p>The Indian football team, encouraged by the return of Anwar Ali and Jeakson Singh, will resume its pursuit of a first-ever spot in the third round of FIFA World Cup qualifiers on Thursday when it takes on a depleted Afghanistan.</p>
<p><img decoding=”async” class=”alignnone wp-image-533206″ src=”https://www.theindiaprint.com/wp-content/uploads/2024/03/theindiaprint.com-india-wants-to-win-the-fifa-world-cup-qualifier-versus-afghanistan-by-three-points.jpg” alt=”theindiaprint.com india wants to win the fifa world cup qualifier versus afghanistan by three points” width=”991″ height=”662″ title=”India wants to win the FIFA World Cup qualifier versus Afghanistan by three points 6″></p>
<p>India experienced lengthy injury layoffs recently, but with midfield general Jeakson and center-back Anwar back in the lineup, the Blue Tigers will be optimistic about their prospects of defeating the lower-ranked opponents in the second-round preliminary joint qualifying encounter.</p>
<p>India is now ranked second in Group A with three points after two games, including one victory.</p>
<p>With six points from two victories, reigning Asian champion Qatar top the standings, followed by Kuwait with one victory. Afghanistan is ranked bottom after losing their first two games.</p>
<p>Igor Stimac’s squad has a great chance to go further in the qualifying cycle after India defeated Kuwait on the road. This is something the 117th-ranked team has never done before.</p>
<p>India can collect nine points by winning their next matches (both home and away) against the 158th-ranked Afghanistan. The Blue Tigers also have a good possibility of moving up to second place in the rankings, provided Qatar wins its next two games against Kuwait.</p>
<p>In their first qualifying match, India overcame Kuwait (1-0) in Kuwait City; however, they were defeated by Qatar (0-3) in Bhubaneswar.</p>
<p>India and Afghanistan have been frequent opponents since their first encounter in 1949, and their regional rivalry has persisted even after Afghanistan’s 2016 exit from SAFF.</p>
<p>The competition persisted throughout the qualifiers for the World Cup, Asian Cup, and other regional and invitational competitions, with India always coming out on top.</p>
<p>Even yet, the Afghans have always shown to be a formidable foe, persevering through to the very end.</p>
<p>Beyond Manvir Singh, who scored a goal in the team’s victory against Kuwait, Sunil Chhetri, who is still going strong at 39, is the most knowledgeable member of this Indian team when it comes to Afghanistan.</p>
<p>Chhetri has an excellent record versus the neighbors, having scored four goals in eight games, including a fantastic free-kick goal in Kolkata in 2022.</p>
<p>According to Chhetri, “they have gotten better every time we’ve seen them.”</p>
<p>The games were easy to play, but they advanced gradually. Additionally, the rivalry developed since they were in the same area.</p>
<p>As a result, the games became rather tight. Over the last ten or so years, Afghanistan and India have both progressed. They have benefited greatly from having guys that play outside,” he said.</p>
<p>Even if Chhetri is still his most important player, Stimac should be as happy that Anwar and Jeakson are back.</p>
<p>Over the last two years, Jeakson has been a key member of the Blue Tigers squad. He has appeared in 17 straight games, starting in the AFC Asian Cup Qualifiers in June 2022 and ending in the King’s Cup in Thailand last September.</p>
<p>Stimac’s assessment of him as one of the squad’s major losses for the Asian Cup in Qatar serves as a barometer for his significance.</p>
<p>India is also the game’s favorite because of the absence of a few important Afghanistan players, who have been at odds with the Afghanistan Football Federation (AFF) ever since the players accused the organization of corruption, including match-fixing.</p>
<p>As the second qualifying round got underway, tensions between the Afghan players and the AFF began to escalate.</p>
<p>For the match against Mongolia, which the Lions of Khorasan won to go to the second round, the squad had just a few first-team players due to the boycott of up to eighteen players during the qualifiers against Kuwait and Qatar.</p>
<p>However, players like Omid Musawi, Balal Arezou, and Zohib Islam Amiri will try to create issues for India.</p>


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