Here is how India can qualify for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
The fan following of the FIFA World Cup is very high. For a while, there have been many talks about India’s chances of qualifying for this penultimate tournament. With Qatar hosting the World Cup in three years time, India have already started their World Cup Qualifying campaign.
In the first game of the filtering process, the Blue Tigers fail to overcome Oman, losing 2-1 in Guwahati. A goal from Sunil Chhetri in the first half was cancelled out by two Oman goals in the second half.
However, India will need to be at their best in the forthcoming league games against Bangladesh, Afghanistan, and Qatar. They have already played at home against Oman, but they will play an away game against the Gulf country. Additionally, they will play home and away game against the other three.
NUMBER OF WORLD CUP PLACES FOR ASIAN FOOTBALL FEDERATION
There are totally 47 Asian nations featuring in the World Cup Qualifiers. FIFA have allocated 4.5 places for Asian Football Federation (AFC). Four teams are likely to qualify to the next round, although five remains a possibility. Top four teams can directly book tickets to Qatar. The fifth side will have to overcome the fourth and fifth round.
Let’s take a look at the Qualification process for the Asian sides, including India.
Total teams to take part in the World Cup Qualifiers is 46 (excluding Qatar). India currently sits at 14th place in the AFC.
First Round (February – March 2019) – The first round of the World Cup Qualifiers will see 12 nations taking part ranked from 35 to 46 in the AFC. Each team will draw against an opponent. Home and away legs to take place. 6 teams (winners on aggregate score) qualify to the next round. India need not play this round because of its superior ranking.
Second Round (April 2019- April 2020) – Six teams from the first round and other 34 other teams comprise this round. 40 teams are split into eight groups. Out of five teams from each group, table toppers from all groups qualify to the next round. Additionally, four best second-placed sides qualify as well. Each team will play the other four in a round-robin manner. 3 points are awarded for a victory and one for a draw. India finished last in the group which consisted of Guam, Turkmenistan, Oman, and Iran last time. India will be hoping to perform better this time. Leading the group will be a tougher task, but second place is a possibility for India.
Third Round (September 2020 – September 2021) – If India manages to reach this round, it would be considered as a fantastic achievement. In this round, all twelve teams will be separated into two groups, six teams per group. The top two will automatically qualify for the World Cup, while the third-placed sides from both groups will stand a chance. But, the third-placed sides will have to play two more rounds to gain qualification to the World Cup. Since the groups will consist of the likes of Australia, New Zealand, Iran, South Korea, and Saudi Arabia, it will be a tougher task for India to finish in the top three.
Fourth Round (October 2021) – The third-placed sides from two groups from the third round will go head-to-head in this round. Home and away legs will take place. The winner will be decided on the aggregate score. The winner from the Asian Football Federation (AFC) will have to play another round.
Fifth Round (November 2021) – The winner of the fourth-round will play the inter-federation playoff against a team from other confederation (CONCACAF, CONMEBOL or OFC). The opponent is selected by draws. The aggregate scores from this tie will determine the winner, who will play the World Cup in Qatar.
India’s chances of qualifying for the 2022 World Cup?
India has very minimal chances of qualifying for the 2022 World Cup. If manage to break into the third round of the World Cup Qualifiers, it should be considered as an achievement.