Kolkata shall host the FIFA World Cup Qualifiers in the iconic Salt Lake Stadium once again, after a long span of eight years; while Guwahati will open its Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium on 5th September to host the first of India’s two home matches for the FIFA World Cup 2020 qualifiers. Sunil Chhetri led ‘Blue Tigers’ have been placed in Group E, along with Oman, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and AFC Asian Cup winners Qatar.
Kicking off its hope for participation in World Cup 2020, India is all set to face Oman on 5th September, despite its hitherto unimpressive performance against the same. In the previous matches against Oman, India had won once, apart from a string of four losses and three draws, with the teams’ last faceoff in 2018 has ended in a 0-0 draw.
Be that as it may, India will follow up its upcoming match against Oman with another against Qatar. Qatar’s contemporary records show exceptional performance, with the Gulf nation having won their first AFC Asian Cup title this January.
India is also expected to take advantage of home conditions in their tie against Bangladesh, scheduled to be held at the iconic Salt Lake Stadium in Kolkata on October 15. With the ‘Mecca of Indian Football’ hosting the national team after a span of 8 long years, spirits are running high among fans already.
The last time the Indian team had played on this field was a friendly match against Malaysia November 16, 2011, which had ended in a 3-2 win for the ‘Blue Tigers.’
After Bangladesh, India will play against Afganistan on November 14 to wrap up their first four matches in the qualifiers. While India is expected to perform well in the upcoming matches, a monumental effort of Igot Stimac and his men’s part is being anticipated if they wish to finish at the top two or qualify for the next round.