How India qualify for the FIFA World Cup 2026 after Afghanistan draws with Qatar, following Sunil Chhetri’s last match? – Sportstar

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India and Kuwait played out a goalless draw in what was Sunil Chhetri’s last match of his international career.

Even Afghanistan held Qatar to a 0-0 draw which has made India’s chances of qualifying slimmer.

India will travel and play Qatar in its last match of second round of FIFA World Cup 2026 qualifiers.


The next edition of the FIFA World Cup will be the largest version of the tournament, expanding from 32 to 48 teams. The longer tournament, with more number of matches, will also allow confederations to have more representation in the premier international tournament.

For Asia, naturally, that paves the way for relatively weaker nations to earn a spot in the World Cup.

How can India qualify for the FIFA World Cup?

India will have to finish in the top two in the second and third rounds of the qualifiers to seal a spot in the FIFA World Cup 2026.

Group A standings in second round:

Positions Teams Matches Won Drawn Lost GF GA GD Points
1 Qatar 5 4 1 0 16 2 14 12
2 India 5 1 2 2 2 5 -3 5
3 Afghanistan 5 1 2 2 3 13 -10 5
4 Kuwait 5 1 1 2 5 6 -1 4

How can India qualify for the third of FIFA World Cup Qualifiers?

The Blue Tigers are currently second on the points table one point ahead of Afghanistan but has a game in hand.

Scenario 1 – If India wins: If India beats Qatar, it will end up with eight points. If Afghanistan loses to Kuwait, India will go through.

Scenario 2 – If India draws: If India draws its final match against Qatar, it will end up with six points. In this case, Afghanistan will have to draw against Kuwait and it will go down to goal difference.

Here is how the qualification process works:

Round 2 – 18 teams from 36 – The top two teams from each group of second round will qualify in round three and also seals a spot for the AFC Asian Cup.

Round 3 – 6 teams qualify for the World Cup – The teams are drawn into three groups of six teams each, with teams in each group playing against each other on a home-and-away basis. The top two teams from each group seal a spot in the FIFA World Cup 2026.

Round 4 – 2 teams qualify for the World Cup – The remaining teams from the third round are drawn into two groups of three teams each. The teams will play each other in a one-off game at a neutral venue. The winners from each group will qualify for the World Cup and the runners-up will enter Round 5.

Round 5 – 1 team into an inter-confederation play-off – The teams will play two legs on a home-and-away basis with the winner qualifying for the inter-confederation play-off.

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