India Knocked Out of 2026 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers After Loss to Qatar

The Indian men’s football team’s campaign in the 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifiers came to a disappointing end after they suffered a 2-1 defeat to reigning Asian champions Qatar in their final Group A match in Doha on Tuesday.

Despite taking the lead through Lallianzuala Chhangte’s 37th minute strike, goals from Yousef Aymen (73′) and Ahmed Al-Rawi (85′) in the second half helped the world no. 34 ranked hosts complete a comeback victory.

With just one win from six matches, India finished third in Group A and failed to progress to the third round of the Asian qualifiers. Kuwait joined group toppers Qatar in advancing to the next round after beating Afghanistan 1-0 on the final matchday.

Playing away against the Asian champions proved to be a stern test for the 121st ranked Indian team, who were put under pressure early on by the attacking prowess of the hosts. However, they took a surprise lead through Chhangte’s calm finish after a Brandon Fernandes cross.

Qatar came out stronger after the break and equalized through Aymen. Despite a few close chances for India, it was Al-Rawi who scored the decisive second goal for the hosts in the 83rd minute to seal their passage to the next round.

While India fought valiantly in the closing stages, they could not find the equalizer as their World Cup qualifying campaign ended in disappointment.

The two teams progressing from Group A – Qatar and Kuwait – now move into the third round of the Asian qualifiers for the 2026 FIFA World Cup to be jointly hosted by Canada, Mexico and the United States.

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