The Blue Tigers famously drew against the FIFA World Cup 2022 hosts three years ago.
Qatar is hosting the FIFA World Cup 2022 after years of preparations and planning. The winners of the AFC Asian Cup 2019 are now exchanging punches with some of the best teams in the world at the grand tournament. Despite the opening day 2-0 loss against Ecuador, the Qatar men’s national team is very strong and has the quality to upset anyone on their day. However, only three years ago, India held mighty Qatar to a draw.
The FIFA World Cup 2022 qualifier between India and Qatar played at the Jassim Bin Hamad Stadium in Doha on 10 September 2019 ended in a 0-0 draw. It was a massive result for Igor Stimac’s men, who were heavy underdogs in the game.
Before the match began, the general assumption was that the Indian team would suffer a huge loss. However, the Blue Tigers were in a different mood, a resilient mood to be precise. Despite the glaring difference in the strengths of the two teams, there was no winner in the match. The draw felt like a point earned than two points lost for the Blue Tigers.
A show of ‘Resilience’
Indian men’s national team knew that it was up against heavy odds against Qatar. After all, their opponents had FIFA World Cup 2022 on their minds. They took part in the qualifiers despite qualifying automatically as hosts for the tournament in order to stay sharp and prepare well.
The game was a show of fearsome attack coming up against a resilient defence. In particular, Qatar found Gurpreet Singh Sandhu on a good day. The custodian took matters into his own hands and kept the clean sheet, denying Qatar’s dangerous attackers at bay. Without the presence of legendary captain Sunil Chhetri on the field, Sandhu had the responsibility of taking the lead and he did so quite brilliantly.
Gurpreet Singh Sandhu made 11 saves during the match and earned special praise from Qatar’s star player Abdelkarim after the game. India managed to secure a fighting draw despite Qatar throwing everything it had in order to find the elusive goal.
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That performance by India remains one of the highest points under Igor Stimac even today. That sort of resolve inspires generations to come and it is used as a reference point. Many regard it as one of the best performances of all time by the Indian men’s national team.
Post the 0-0 draw against Qatar, the Indian national team earned praise on social media for their determination and discipline. Some sections of the fans also made a bold claim, suggesting it was the most memorable performance by India on the international stage in recent memory.