Afghanistan v India match prediction, preview and where to watch | FIFA World Cup 2022 Qualifier
The Indian National Football Team heads into a crucial week in Group E of the FIFA World Cup 2022 Second Round Qualifying, with two difficult away trips to Afghanistan and Oman coming up in the next week. The Blue Tigers currently sit in fourth place in the five-team group, with two points from three games, following last month's disappointing 1-1 draw against Bangladesh at the Salt Lake Stadium in Kolkata.
The last away trip was a famous one for Indian Football, as a Sunil Chhetri-less India managed to take away a point off Asian Champions Qatar, in a hard-fought goalless draw.
Head coach Igor Stimac knows, though, that for India to keep their faint hopes of qualification for the third round alive, nothing short of six points from the next two games will suffice.
It starts on Thursday against Afghanistan at Dushanbe. Igor Stimac has named a 26-man squad for the trip, with the likes of Dheeraj Singh Moirangthem and Nishu Kumar being called up.
On Monday, the Blue Tigers went through a training session at the HTC Sports Academy in New Delhi on artificial turf, in preparation for the match which will be played in the Tajik capital of Dushanbe, on an artificial pitch. The team is also expected to have a training session in Dubai, en route Dushanbe.
The Afghans have a squad full of players playing abroad, largely in Europe. For Indian fans, a familiar name is Zohib Islam Amiri, a midfielder who has plied his trade for various clubs in both the I-League and ISL.
Afghanistan v India: Match Information
Date: 14th November 2019
Kickoff: 7:30 pm IST
Live Stream: Star Sports Network and Hotstar (TO BE CONFIRMED)
Venue: Central Republican Stadium, Dushanbe, Tajikistan
Afghanistan v India: Team News
With impressive starts to their respective ISL seasons, the likes of Nishu Kumar and Seiminlen Doungel have worked their way into Igor Stimac's squad, and the Croatian has a few tough calls to make. In the game against Bangladesh, the back four was really shaky, but Stimac is not expected to make any personnel changes in that area, with Sandesh Jhingan a long-term absentee, having undergone surgery on a torn Anterior Cruciate Ligament.
The midfield might be beefed up with the addition of Pronay Halder, who will give Anirudh Thapa and Sahal Abdul Samad the freedom to roam forward and get on with their creative responsibilities instead of being burdened with having to keep things tight and defend spaces in midfield.
The 26-man squad:
Goalkeepers: Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, Amrinder Singh, Dheeraj Singh Moirangthem
Defenders: Pritam Kotal, Nishu Kumar, Rahul Bheke, Anas Edathodika, Narender, Adil Khan, Sarthak Golui, Subhasish Bose, Mandar Rao Dessai
Midfielders: Udanta Singh, Jackichand Singh, Seiminlen Doungel, Raynier Fernandes, Vinit Rai, Sahal Abdul Samad, Pronay Halder, Anirudh Thapa, Lallianzuala Chhangte, Brandon Fernandes, Ashique Kuruniyan
Forwards: Sunil Chhetri, Manvir Singh, Farukh Choudhary.
Afghanistan v India: Predicted India Starting XI
Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, Rahul Bheke, Adil Khan, Anas Edathodika, Mandar Rao Desai, Pronay Halder, Anirudh Thapa, Sahal Abdul Samad, Udanta Singh, Sunil Chhetri, Ashique Kuruniyan
Afghanistan v India: Head-to-Head
India have a good record against the Afghans in the eight games the two sides have played against each other, with the only loss against their opponents being a 2-0 reverse in the 2013 SAFF Championship. The last meeting between the two sides came in the final of the SAFF Championship in 2016, in Trivandrum, with India prevailing 2-1 after extra-time thanks to goals from Chhetri and Jeje Lalpekhlua.
India wins: 6
Afghanistan wins: 1
Afghanistan v India: Form Guide
India - D-D-L
Afghanistan - L-W-L
Afghanistan v India: Prediction
With a long trip, unfamiliar conditions and an artificial turf to play on, it is not going to be easy at all for the Blue Tigers, especially against a side that is confident on 'home' soil. The Afghans beat Bangladesh 1-0 in September at the same stadium, with a solid defensive performance and it will be a massive result if the Blue Tigers were to get the win.
Prediction: Afghanistan 1-1 India