Igor Stimac, the squad’s head coach, has led the men’s national team of India to a stunning comeback. The Blue Tigers have displayed exceptional football skill from the start of the year. And their performance has been reflected in their outcomes.
The Blue Tigers’ makeover has allowed them to win three straight championships. Gone unbeaten in all 11 of their games this calendar year, win seven of them, and draw four.
India easily defeated Myanmar and Kyrgyzstan along the way to win the Hero Tri-Nation tournament. Before defeating a tenacious Lebanon in the Hero Intercontinental Cup.
In the subsequent SAFF Championship, Kuwait and Lebanon presented a stiffer challenge for India. But the Blue Tigers were able to neutralise both Middle Eastern countries to win their ninth championship.
India’s stellar performance has propell them up to position 99 in the most recent FIFA rankings, which were reveal on July 20. More crucially, the Blue Tigers’ success versus Lebanon in previous matches has allowed them to keep their superior ranking than Lebanon. Thus, Stimac’s team has maintained its position in the Asian Football Confederation (AFC)’s 18th position.
What does this mean for India, though, and how does it help them?
Both the FIFA World Cup qualifying and the AFC Asian Cup qualification are jointly held by AFC. The AFC has been guaranteed eight seats in the FIFA World Cup 2026. This will include 48 teams for the first time. One more team will have a chance to qualify for the World Cup through a play-off event.
For both the 2027 AFC Asian Cup qualifications and the 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifiers, a total of 45 AFC member countries will participate. With its 18th-place finish in the continental ranking portion, India has now solidified its place in Pot 2. And has automatically advanced to the second round.
The nations rank between 10 and 18 will find in Pot 2. While the top nine AFC sides will be put in Pot 1. Nine of the Round 1 winners will advance to Pot 4 for the Round 2 draws. This will comprise teams ranked 19 to 27, while the lowest 18 AFC countries will compete.
India will only have to play one higher-ranked team in the qualifying round as a result of earning Pot 2. In contrast, two more teams from Pots 3 and 4 will be pair with them, giving them a worse ranking than India.
In conclusion, India’s exceptional play has not only brought them three championships. But also given them an advantageous status in the FIFA World Cup 2026 Qualifiers and the 2027 AFC Asian Cup.
They benefit from being in Pot 2 since fewer higher-ranked teams will face them. Improving their chances of winning a place in these renowned competitions.
2026 FIFA World Cup and 2027 AFC Asian Cup: Confirmed Pots from AFC Region
Pot 1: Japan, Iran, Australia, Korea Republic, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Iraq, United Arab Emirates, and Oman.
2nd Pot: Uzbekistan, China, Jordan, Bahrain, Syria, Vietnam, Palestine, Kyrgyz Republic, and India.
Pot 3: Lebanon, Tajikistan, Thailand, Korea DPR, Philippines, Malaysia, Kuwait, Turkmenistan, and Hong Kong.
Pot 4: Nine winners from Round 1 ties
What time will the drawing occur?
On July 27, 2023, the official draw ceremony for the first and second preliminary qualifying rounds of the Asian World Cup 2026 qualifiers will take place. At the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) House in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, the draw will take place at 1:30 PM IST.
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