World Cup Qualifiers 2022: On June 3, the Indian national team will resume their World Cup 2022 qualifying campaign against Qatar, with Bangladesh following on June 7 and Afghanistan following on June 15.
India’s qualifying campaign began with a slim 2-1 loss at home to Oman, followed by a landmark goalless draw in Doha against Asian champions Qatar. The Blue Tigers drew 1-1 with Bangladesh and Afghanistan in their third and fourth matches but lost 1-0 to Oman away from home in their fifth match.
Though India has little chance of progressing to the next round of World Cup qualifications, there is still a lot to play for in the remaining three games. India will automatically qualify for the third round of the Asian Cup 2023 qualifiers if they rank at least third.
With Qatar and Oman battling it out for the top two slots, Afghanistan, India, and Bangladesh are battling it out for the third position. This will guarantee a direct spot in the Asian Cup Qualification third round in 2023.
World Cup Qualifiers 2022: India can finish in third place by defeating Bangladesh and Afghanistan
India’s best chance of finishing third is to win both of their games. India will reach 12 points if they win both of their matches. They will defeat both Bangladesh and Afghanistan in the process, the Blue Tigers will be assured of third place.
India will finish on 10 points if they replicate their performance against Qatar and win the remaining two matches. Even if Afghanistan wins both of their remaining games against Bangladesh and Oman, they will likely finish fourth. India currently has a better goal differential. If India loses to Qatar and wins the remaining two games, the Afghans will have to drop points against either Bangladesh or Oman. Bangladesh has no hope of finishing third in this event.
India would win against Afghanistan if they draw their first two matches. The team of Anoush Dastgir must also lose one of their first two games. If Bangladesh wins both of their games, they will finish level on points with India. Goal difference will be used to determine the winner. Currently, India has a vastly superior goal differential.
If India loses to both Qatar and Bangladesh through beating Afghanistan, the Lions of Khorasan will have to draw with Bangladesh. And lose/draw with Oman. Bangladesh will also have to lose or win against Oman.
India cannot afford to lose against Afghanistan for it would make life difficult for Sunil Chhetri and his teammates. Even though they win their first two games, they must hope that the Afghans do not gain more than two points in those games. With a tie against Afghanistan, India will have a three-point advantage.