FIFA World Cup 2022 Asian Qualifiers: India grouped with Qatar and Oman in Group E

The Indian football team has been grouped with FIFA 2022 World Cup host Qatar in Group E of the Asian Qualifiers for the 2022 World Cup and the 2023 AFC Asian Cup.

The Indian football team will begin its Asian Qualifiers campaign for the 2022 World Cup and the 2023 AFC Asian Cup on September 5.   -  REUTERS

The Indian men's football team has been grouped alongside FIFA 2022 World Cup host Qatar and Oman in Group E for the second round of the Asian Qualifiers for the 2022 World Cup and the 2023 AFC Asian Cup. The draw ceremony was held at the AFC House in Kuala Lumpur on Wednesday.

Along with Qatar and Oman, India will also play neighbours Bangladesh and Afghanistan in Group E. India will begin its campaign at home against Oman on September 5, which will be followed by an away match against Qatar on September 10.

Full schedule of India's matches

September 5 - India vs Oman

September 10 - Qatar vs India

October 15 - India vs Bangladesh

November 14 - Afghanistan vs India

November 19 - Oman vs India

March  26 - India vs Qatar

June 4 - Bangladesh vs India

June  9 - India vs Afghanistan

 

Commenting on the draw, India coach Igor Stimac said: “It will be an enormous challenge for your young team. We have been drawn into a very tough group.”

“We need to respect everyone – not only just teams from Pot 1, and Pot 2, but even teams from Pot 3, and Pot 4 too. The Intercontinental Cup showed to all how strange a game football us. The two teams which are playing the final (Tajikistan, and DPR Korea) are the lowest FIFA ranked teams in the tournament. That shows that everyone can beat everyone,” he continued.

“I will teach the team to respect the opposition, but when we step on to the pitch, we will do everything to win. That is the way I am going to prepare my team. We are just at the beginning of our journey. I hope that it will be a long one,” he added.

The 40 Asian nations have been split into eight groups of five teams each and a total of 12 teams, the eight group winners and the four best runners-up, will then advance to the final round of qualifying for the 2022 World Cup and the 2023 Asian Cup.

The Indian football team will automatically seal a berth in the final round of qualifying if it finishes second in Group E, behind Qatar which is already assured a spot in the 2022 World Cup as the host.

The 12 teams that advance will then be slotted into two groups of six teams each in a double round-robin format. The four best teams in the final round of qualifying will then secure a spot at the World Cup, while a fifth team will go to the intercontinental play‑offs.

Group A: China, Syria, Philippines, Maldives, Guam.
Group B: Australia, Jordan, Chinese Tapei, Kuati and Nepal.
Group C: Iran, Iraq, Bahrain, Hong Kong, Cambodia
Group D: Saudi Arabia, Uzbekistan, Palestine, Yemen, Singapore
Group E: Bangladesh, Oman, India, Afghanistan, Qatar 
Group F: Japan, Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, Myanmar, Mongolia
Group G: UAE, Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia
Group H: South Korea, Lebanon, DPR Korea, Turkmenistan, Sri Lanka

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