FIFA World Cup Qualifiers

Afghanistan qualify for Round 2 of FIFA World Cup Qualifiers

Rutvij JoshiRutvij Joshi
October 17 2023
Afghanistan Football Team
(Courtesy : Afghanistan Football Federation)

They will face India, Kuwait & Qatar in Group A

In a remarkable display of skill and determination, Afghanistan’s national football team triumphed over Mongolia, securing a spot in the second round of the FIFA World Cup 2026AFC Asian Cup 2027 joint qualifiers. The Afghan squad demonstrated their prowess on the pitch, clinching a 2-0 aggregate victory over Mongolia in Round 1, setting the stage for a highly anticipated Round 2 battle against higher ranked India, Qatar, and Kuwait.

The first leg of the Round 1 showdown took place in Dushanbe, Tajikistan, where the Afghan team hosted Mongolia. The match was a fiercely contested affair, with both sides putting up a strong defense. The pivotal moment arrived in the 60th minute when Jabar Sharza, wearing the Afghan colors, found the back of the net. His goal proved to be the decider, sealing a 1-0 victory for Afghanistan.

With the advantage of a one-goal lead, Afghanistan entered the second leg played in Ulaanbaatar at the MFF Stadium. In another closely fought contest, it was Farshad Noor who became the hero for Afghanistan. He broke the deadlock in the 71st minute, securing a 1-0 win for the Afghan team and a commanding 2-0 aggregate victory.

Chaos before the Game

The result on the field has been welcoming for Afghans , however,  Afghanistan head coach had reportedly refused to sign the team sheet and wanted to forfeit the game and hand over the game to Mangolians in the most dramatic circumstances. The players  rebelled against their coach and decided to play the game.  

Few senior players has had differences of opinion with the head coach Abdullah Al Mutairi and do not consider him as their head coach. The players did not want him on the sidelines and due to these reasons the chaos ensued if Independent reports are to be believed

Last encounter between India and Afghanistan

In the third round of AFC Asian Cup qualifiers last year, in 2022, India managed to defeat Afghanistan in a closely contested match played in Kolkata. The Afghan squad will be determined to learn from their previous encounters and bring their best performance to the upcoming Round 2, where they will face an uphill task a from India, Qatar, and Kuwait.

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