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FIFA World Cup Qualifiers 2022: India vs Afghanistan - Know your opponents

Afghanistan and Bangladesh earlier played a 1-1 draw. (Image: AFC)
Afghanistan and Bangladesh earlier played a 1-1 draw. (Image: AFC)
FEATURED WRITER

Afghanistan will face the Indian football team on Match Day 6 of the FIFA World Cup 2022/AFC Asian Cup 2023 qualifiers Round 2 at the Jassim Bin Hamad Stadium in Doha, Qatar. The teams are part of Group E of the competition.

While India can qualify for Round 3 of the Asian Cup 2023 qualifiers with a draw, Afghanistan need all three points to go through.

India are placed 3rd in Group E, while Afghanistan are 4th with the teams separated by a point. We take a brief look at the Afghanistan football team ahead of the India clash.

Afghanistan FIFA Ranking

Afghanistan have maintained their position since reaching the mid-150s in the FIFA Rankings during the upsurge in their national team performances in 2013. They are currently ranked 149.

Afghanistan team form

Afghanistan have displayed great spirit and quality in their most recent international meetings. The Lions of Khorasan have lost 1-0 and 2-1 to Qatar and Oman, respectively. Dastgir's men played out 1-1 draws with Singapore and Bangladesh. They also cruised to a 3-2 win over Singapore the previous month.

Afghanistan succumbed to a 1-2 defeat to Oman before the India game. (Image: AFC)
Afghanistan succumbed to a 1-2 defeat to Oman before the India game. (Image: AFC)

Afghanistan head coach

Anoush Dastgir is the head coach of the Afghanistan football team. Dastgir has played his professional football in the lower leagues of the Netherlands after growing up in Pakistan and India. He served as the assistant coach to Petar Segrt before taking over the reins in 2020. He had earlier managed two lower league clubs in the Netherlands' football pyramid.

Afghanistan key players

Afghanistan have both young talent and experience in the form of a string of players who play for several clubs across Europe and India. Zohib Islam Amiri is the most capped Afghanistan player. He will lead the defence for the Afghans and has a lot of experience of playing in India. He has earlier plied his trade for Indian football clubs like Dempo SC, FC Goa and Real Kashmir.

Masih Saighani has played for Aizawl FC and Chennaiyin FC in the ISL and will partner Amiri in defensive midfield. Sharif Mukhammad is yet another solid centre-back who was part of Gokulam Kerala's I-League winning campaign the previous season.

Afghanistan will depend on the pace and versatility of Farshad Noor to score the goals against India.
Afghanistan will depend on the pace and versatility of Farshad Noor to score the goals against India.

Captain Farshad Noor will pose a challenge to the Indian backline with his pace and creativity. Noor recently moved to Persib Bandung in Indonesia after playing for a few lower league clubs in the Netherlands.

Faysal Shayesteh is the midfield general of the Afghanistan football team. He will be tasked with creating goal-scoring chances for Anoush Dastgir's side. Shayesteh graduated from the FC Twente Academy and is a quick ball-player.

Afghanistan playing style

Afghanistan take the field in a 4-4-2 formation and like to make good use of the wings. They shift to a 2-3-5 shape with the ball and like to play through the middle.

They also like to utilise the corners and practice the set-piece diligently.

Afghanistan 30-man Squad

Goalkeepers: Ovays Azizi, Faizal Hamidi, Hamidullah Wakili

Defenders: David Najem, Abdul Najim Haidary, Hussain Alizada, Sharif Mukhammad, Masih Saighani, Zohib Islam Amiri

Midfielders: Milad Intezar, Zelfagar Nazary, Abassin Alikhil, Omid Popalzay, Mohammad Naeem Rahimi, Samir Samandari, Farshid Haydari, Mustafa Zazai, Fardin Hakimi, Maziyar Kouhyar, Farshad Noor, Fayzal Shayesteh, Zubayr Amiri, Jabar Sharza

Forwards: Amiruddin Sharifi, Fareed Sadat, Ahmed Omran Haydary, Noor Husin, Adam Najem, Noraollah Amiri, Hossein Zamani

Edited by S Chowdhury
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