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Indian football team’s litmus test against strong Qatar

Indian football team’s preparations have not been very good and in such a situation, it will be tested hard in the World Cup and Asian Qualifiers match against Asian champions Qatar today. In this match, the Indian team will try to take inspiration from the match played against Qatar in September 2019. India then held a higher ranking Qatar to a goalless draw. This is considered to be the best result for India in recent times. India have to play their home match in the capital of Qatar as the Group E matches, which were postponed last year due to the Kovid-19 pandemic, are now being held at one venue. India did not perform well after the draw against Qatar. Qatar, on the other hand, will enter this match with full confidence. They beat Luxembourg 1–0 and Azerbaijan 2–1 in friendly matches played in March, while holding Ireland to a 1–1 draw. India are entering this match after a crushing 0-6 defeat to UAE in a friendly match in March. Not only this, India could not prepare well because due to Kovid-19, it had to cancel its national camp in early May. The Indian team reached here on May 19 but the players did not get the facilities as they expected. Coach Igor Stimac expressed his disappointment on this and said that these are not ideal preparations for the World Cup qualifiers. The positive side for India is that they can field their strong team in this match as all their key players are fit. The charismatic striker Sunil Chhetri missed the 2019 match against Qatar as he was down with fever. His return will definitely boost the morale of the Indian team. Chhetri also missed two international friendly matches in March as he was recovering from the COVID-19 infection. But Qatar’s team clearly looks strong on paper. He is 58th in the FIFA rankings while India is at 105th position. Chhetri said Qatar is one of the top teams in Asia. He recently achieved good results against European and South American teams. Last time we got points against him, which has boosted the morale of the team. We know that this time they will leave no stone unturned and we too have to unite and fight them. India are fourth in Group E with three points from five matches. He has been out of the race for a place in the World Cup but is still in the race for a place in the Asian Cup to be held in 2023. Qatar has won five out of six matches in these qualifiers. He has two strong strikers in the form of Alamoz Ali and Hasan Al Haydos and he will go on the field with the goal of winning this time.

Indian squad: Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, Amarinder Singh, Dheeraj Singh, Pritam Kotal, Rahul Bheke, Narendra Gehlot, Chinglensana Singh, Sandesh Jhingan, Adil Khan, Akash Mishra, Subhasish Bose, Udanta Singh, Brandon Fernandes, Liston Colaco, Rollins Borges, Glenn Martins, Anirudh Thapa, Prannoy Halder, Suresh Singh, Lalengmawia Ralte, Abdul Sahal, Yasir Mohammad, Lallianzuala Chhangte, Bipin Singh, Ashiq Kuruniyan, Ishan Pandita, Sunil Chhetri, Manveer Singh. The match will start at 10.30 pm Indian time.