Does India realistically have chances of qualifying for the FIFA World Cup 2022 ?
India have an estimated population of about 1.37 Billion as of July 2019 based on United Nations estimates. India ranks number 2 in the list of countries by population. The country as a whole has a population density of 460 people per square kilometer, which ranks 27th in the world.
OKAY! You might be thinking what all these stats and figures are to do with India’s chances of making to the FIFA World Cup.
Well these stats and figures are to show and question ourselves that being 2nd most populated country in the World and can’t even have at least 20 World Class Players to compete at an International level. This is maybe down to the amount of support kid gets growing up in a country where Cricket is seen as a religion by many and football seen as an unpromising career. We have still seen efforts by AIFF to build interest in youth of our country. The Indian Super League(ISL) being officially launched on 21 October 2013 by IMG-Reliance, Star Sports and the All India Football Federation(AIFF) was huge boost to football in our country. Efforts are to be clearly seen by AIFF to build a team which can be competitive at World Stage. On 15 May 2019, the All India Football Federation announced Igor Stimac as the country’s head coach. Igor Stimac wants to emphasize on India’s technical abilities and he has got some time before India kicks off their second round of FIFA WC Qualifiers on 5th of September 2019 against Oman.
Here is the breakdown of what India requires to qualify for the FIFA WC 2022 to be held in Qatar.
India gets a group which is comparatively easy and would be among favorites to progress forward from this round. India are drawn in Group E with –
Qatar (FIFA ranking – 55)
Oman (FIFA ranking – 86)
Afghanistan (FIFA ranking – 149)
Bangladesh (FIFA ranking – 183) and
India being ranked 101 in the world can hope of securing enough points to be first in the group or at least be in four best group runners-up.
The qualification structure is as follows –
- First round: 12 teams (ranked 35–46) play home-and-away over two legs. The six winners advance to the second round.
With first round done and dusted all focus shifted to second round which gets underway on 5th of September 2019.
- Second round: 40 teams (ranked 1–34 (including Qatar as the host) and six first round winners) were divided into eight groups of five teams to play home-and-away round-robin matches. The eight group winners and the four best group runners-up advance to the third round of FIFA World Cup qualification as well as qualify for the 2023 AFC Asian Cup.
- Third round: The 12 teams which have advanced from the second round will be divided into two groups of six teams to play home-and-away round-robin matches. The top two teams of each group will qualify for the World Cup, and the third-placed teams will play against each other over two legs. The winner will advance to the inter-confederations play-offs, playing a team from a confederation to be determined.
With India getting easier group on paper and Igor got time to implement his tactics and techniques can we seriously start to think of a trip to Qatar in 2022. Yes peeps, still a long way to go but road looks and seems possible. Mark your calendars and get ready to #BackTheBlue !!!
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