The Indian football team is all set to play a practice match against the Philippines ahead of their World Cup 2022 and Asian Cup 2023 qualifiers. The qualifiers of both competitions will take place in Qatar in the first week of June.
The Indian team has already landed in Doha to play their remaining matches of World Cup 2022 qualifying games. India is currently in the fourth position in their group with three points. They have not won a single match, losing two and drawing three. They will resume their campaign on June 3 against host nation Qatar, followed by Bangladesh and Afghanistan on June 7 and June 15, respectively. Courtesy of results in previous qualifiers, India is out of contention to book a place in the next round of qualifiers for the World Cup 2022.
Igor Stimac’s men have already started training in Qatar and will be playing the match against Philippines later this week. The team had a hard time in March when they faced Oman and UAE in Dubai in friendlies. The team got battered 6-0 by UAE. The practise match against the Philippines will be a great opportunity for Stimac to pick the best 11 and will give the players much-needed game time before they get ready to play Qatar. Stimac will receive a big boost for this set of games as Indian captain Sunil Chhetri is back in the squad.
Qatar is not playing any practice match ahead of their qualifying games. Felix Sanches’ side started training on May 18 in Doha. Apart from Qatar (qualify automatically as hosts), a total of 4.5 slots (4 direct slots and 1 inter-confederation play-off slot) in the final tournament are available for AFC teams.
The qualification process involves four rounds, where the first two rounds double as the qualification for the 2023 AFC Asian Cup. Despite qualifying as hosts, Qatar is participating in these two rounds to seek Asian Cup qualification.