2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers: India vs Qatar, Preview and Prediction
The Indian football team will be looking to recover from their gut-wrenching loss to Oman when they take on Qatar in their second Group E game tomorrow. Led by Sunil Chhetri, the Indian team have their task cut out against a much more fancied opponent.
Chhetri cited India's inability to keep possession of the ball in the second half of the game against Oman as one of the major reasons for their defeat, but also revealed that they would work on those mistakes ahead of their next encounter.
Coach Igor Stimac, although impressed with his team's performance in the first half of the game against Oman, was ultimately disappointed with the result and will be looking for a much better performance from the Blue Tigers in their second game.
One of the key takeaways from India's first game was the way in which they kept pace with Oman for large parts of the encounter. The Indian team created many opportunities over the course of the game, and were only outmuscled in the final few minutes.
If they can maintain a similar intensity for the entirety of their encounter against Qatar, they will have a great shot at pulling off an upset. However, the Indian defenders will have to be on their toes as the likes of Almoez Ali and Hassan Al-Haydos can wreak havoc.
The midfield for India, which was largely successful in the game against Oman, will hold the key once again. A lot will depend on how Anirudh Thapa and Rowllin Borges perform in the centre of the park, moving the ball forward and creating opportunities for their team.
Chhetri will lead the attack once again and will receive support from Udanta Singh and Ashique Kuruniyan, who looked dangerous in the opening game. It will also be interesting to see if the likes of Sahal Abdul Samad and Lallianzuala Chhangte receive more time on the field in this crucial game.
While beating Qatar on their home turf remains a huge task for India, there is no reason for them not to feel optimistic entering this clash, particularly after their spirited display against Oman.
Probable starting XI: Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, Subhasish Bose, Adil Khan, Sandesh Jhingan, Rahul Bheke, Rowllin Borges, Anirudh Thapa, Udanta Singh, Brandon Fernandes, Ashique Kuruniyan, Sunil Chhetri