Image Source : PTI India and Kuwait played a goalless draw

The Indian football team is looking for a dream entry into the FIFA World Cup. Ever since not playing in their only opportunity in the 1950 FIFA World Cup, the Blue Tigers have never qualified for the prestigious tournament. Do they have a chance this time around?

India have a chance to qualify for the FIFA World Cup 2026 in the USA, Mexico and Canada but their chances as very slim, especially after their goalless draw against Kuwait a few days ago, which was also Sunil Chhetri’s final International match in the Indian colours. 

India are still mostly self-dependent to reaching the third round

Currently, 36 teams are playing in the second round of FIFA World Cup 2026 Asian Qualifiers. The top 2 teams from each group will reach into the third round from where there is a direct entry into the upcoming FIFA World Cup. In Group A, Qatar are ranked 1st, followed by India in second.

India are still self-dependent to reach into the third round despite a disappointing 0-0 draw against Kuwait. The Blue Tigers face the 34th-ranked Qatar in their last match of the second round, while Kuwait will lock horns against Afghanistan, both of who are still in contention for a spot.

India have five points with a Goal difference of -3, while third-placed Afghanistan have five points with a GD of -10. Kuwait are ranked fourth and last with four points and a GD of -1.

Scenarios for India to qualify for the third round

1 – If India manages to beat Qatar, they will all but qualify for the third round of the Qualifiers. They currently have five points, equal to what Afghanistan have. A win will take the Blue Tigers to eight points, while if the Afghans beat Kuwait, they will also reach eight. But India currently have a Goal difference of -3, while Afghanistan have a GD of -10. Afghanistan will need a big win to leapfrog India.

2 – If India manages to draw the game with Qatar, they can still qualify. But in this case, the Blue Tigers will need the Afghanistan vs Kuwait game to also end in a draw.


A total of eight teams from Asia, plus a potential ninth will qualify for the main round of the World Cup. Here’s the qualification scenario from the third round onwards.

Qualification scenario for FIFA World Cup 2026 from the third round

Round 3: The 18 teams will reach into the third round, where there are direct entries for the main World Cup round. The third round will see 18 teams placed in three groups of six each. The teams will play against each other twice, on a home-and-away basis. The top two teams from each group will confirm a ticket to the FIFA World Cup 2026.

Round 4: The third and fourth-placed teams in the three groups of round three will go into the fourth round. These six teams will be pitted in two groups of three each. The two group winners will then qualify for the global tournament.

Round 5 – 1 team into inter-confederation play-off: After Asian eight teams have qualified for the showpiece event in 2026, there will be another potential spot available for Asia.

The runners-up of the two groups will play against each other twice, on a home-and-away basis, and the winner will then make it to the inter-confederation play-off. Here six teams will play for the last two spots in the FIFA World Cup.

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