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How can India qualify for the FIFA World Cup 2026?

By Kaif - November 20, 2023 - Last updated on Nov 20, 2023 01:32 PM
How can India qualify for the FIFA World Cup 2026?

Team India defeated Kuwait 1-0 in the first match of the second round of FIFA 2026 World Cup Qualifiers. Now it will face Qatar on home ground on 21st November. In this article, we will know how India can qualify for FIFA World Cup 2026.

India's qualifier scenario in FIFA World Cup 2026?

India men's football team made a positive start to their Round 2 campaign by defeating Kuwait in the FIFA World Cup 2026 AFC Qualifiers on Thursday. Manvir Singh scored the only goal of the match in the 75th minute as India defeated Kuwait at the Jaber Al-Ahmad International Stadium.

India have been placed in Group A of Round 2 along with Kuwait, Qatar and Afghanistan. India's next match is against Qatar on November 21 in Bhubaneswar. If India wants to qualify for the third round, they will have to finish in the top 2 of Group A at the end of Round 2.

How can India qualify for the FIFA World Cup 2026?

India faces a challenging but direct path. They are aiming for a top two finish in Group A to advance to the next stage of the World Cup qualifiers. So, a total of 18 teams will go to Round 3, the nine group winners and the respective runners-up. Securing this spot not only means advancing but also guarantees their spot at the 2027 AFC Asian Cup

In 2024, a draw will determine three groups of six teams each for the third round. The top two teams from these groups will secure a place in the main event.

In the last 2022 World Cup qualifiers, India finished third in its group, missing out on direct advancement. Qatar and Oman occupied the top two spots, progressing to the next stage.

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Image Source: Twitter

FIFA World Cup 2026 qualifiers Format

First round: Twenty teams (ranked 27–46) competed in a two-leg home-and-away competition. The ten winning teams advanced to the second round. The defeated teams remain eligible for the 2027 AFC Asian Cup qualification – play-off round (nine), as well as the AFC Solidarity Cup.

Second round: Thirty-six teams (ranked 1–26 and the ten first round winners) were arranged into nine groups of four teams each. These teams competed on a home-and-away basis. The nine group winners and runners-up advanced to the third round, earning automatic qualification for the AFC Asian Cup.

Third round: The eighteen teams that advanced from the second round were divided into three groups of six teams. Teams played against each other home and away. The top two teams from each group earned direct qualification for the FIFA World Cup, while the third and fourth placed teams advanced to the fourth round.

Fourth round: The six teams, including the third and fourth-place finishers from the third round, were divided into two groups of three teams each. Matches were played once at a neutral venue. The group winners achieved World Cup qualification, and the runners-up advanced to the fifth round.

Fifth round: In this stage, the group runners-up from the fourth round were engaged in a two-legged home-and-away competition to determine the Asian representative for Inter. -Confederation play-off.

Also Read: World Cup 2024 Host Country, Start Dates, Teams

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