The pandemic has changed the complexion of various tournaments in different sports across the globe. The qualification process for World Cup 2022 is also set to be tweaked for Asian teams. India will be playing the remaining games of the qualification process in Qatar instead of having home and away legs.
Along with World Cup 2022 Qualifiers, Asian Football Confederation (AFC) has also confirmed on Friday confirmed the venues for each group in Asia’s World Cup Qualifiers. Doha, Qatar, China, Kuwait, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Japan, and Korea Republic are the venues finalised for eight groups in World Cup 2022 Qualifiers.
India last played a World Cup qualifier against Oman in November 2019. Since then, the Indian team is yet to play a competitive game due to the pandemic. AFC had planned to resume action in September last year, but those plans were postponed until March. The governing body of Asian football eventually decided to play all qualifiers in June later this year.
The Indian team will gear up for qualifiers with two friendlies against UAE and Oman in the upcoming international break at the end of March. India will need a miracle to make sure that they qualify for the World Cup 2022. They have managed to take only three points from matches in Group E, so it is unlikely that they will qualify for the main event.
Despite having the next to no chance of qualifying for the World Cup, India does have an incentive to do well in the next few qualifiers. Finishing third in the group will make sure that they will qualify for the 2023 AFC Asian Cup qualifiers.