India rescued a point against Afghanistan on Thursday on a cold night in Dushanbe, Tajikistan after substitute Seiminlen Doungel found a late equaliser.
The 1-1 draw meant India is now fourth in Group E, with three points from four matches. The Blue Tigers will be on the road again as they take on Oman on November 19 in Muscat.
Here's how the current qualification scenario looks like for India:
What is India's position in the group?
With all teams having played four matches so far, India is fourth in Group E. Qatar leads with 10 points, followed by Oman with nine. Afghanistan is third with four points while Bangladesh is at the bottom with one point.
Here's how Group E looks like:
What have India's results been in the World Cup qualification?
In October, India drew once again as it played out a 1-1 draw with Bangladesh in Kolkata. Nearly a month later, points were shared again following another 1-1 draw, this time with Afghanistan on November 14.
The Blue Tigers are without a win in the second round of the qualifiers. Bangladesh is the only other team in the group without a win.
How can India qualify to the next round?
Group toppers of all eight groups will progress to the third round along with four best runners-up. In case of Qatar topping its group, the fifth-best runner up will join seven group winners. This is because Qatar has qualified for the 2022 World Cup on virtue of being the host nation.
As things stand, Qatar is dominating Group E. Thus, for India to qualify, it has to finish second by a greater margin than runners-up of three other groups as only the best five second-placed sides will go further.
Whom does India face next?
India's next qualifier is on November 19 against Oman, which is ranked 84th in the world currently. It will face India on the back of a comfortable 4-1 win against Bangladesh. India, however, won't be in the best of spirits after a sub-par performance against Afghanistan, and travelling almost 5000 kms to play within a span of five days.
After facing Oman, India will have three more matches in the qualification round -- two at home and one away. On March 26, India will take on Qatar, while on June 4 it will take a trip to Bangladesh. Its final World Cup qualification game will be against Afghanistan on June 9 on home soil.
What are the odds of India's making it through?
India's chances to qualify to the third round aren't over but the odds look bleak because of the gap between India and the top two teams of its group -- Qatar and Oman. As things stand, they are seven and six points ahead of India respectively.
Also, as only the four best runners-up will make it through, the competition will be tougher for Igor Stimac's side.
Currently, here's how the top two of each group looks like:
India will therefore have to ensure maximum points from its remaining fixtures and also hope its opponents drop points to be in contention for progression.