Indian Football Team

How did India fare in 1998 FIFA World Cup qualifiers?

Rutvij JoshiRutvij Joshi

November 11 2023
1998 FIFA WC Qualifiers: India

India won their first game of 1998 FIFA World Cup qualifiers

India is gearing up for their 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifiers journey, set to commence in the upcoming international break with matches against Kuwait and Qatar. Despite a history of participation in World Cup qualifiers, India has never made an appearance in any FIFA World Cup tournament.

The nation’s initial foray into World Cup qualification dates back to earlier campaigns, marking their consistent involvement in the qualifiers. India notably qualified for the 1950 World Cup; however, they withdrew from the tournament before it began, missing their chance to make a historic debut on the World Cup stage.

In this article we will see how India fare in the 1998 World Cup qualifiers

Who did India face in the 1998 FIFA World Cup qualifiers?

In the 1998 World Cup, Asia was allotted 3.5 slots for the 32 nation showdown event in France. In 1998 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers, 36 teams from Asian Football Confederations were divided into 10 groups of either three or four teams. 

India faced a challenging journey during the 1998 FIFA World Cup qualifiers. Placed in Group 10, the Indian national football team found themselves in the company of Qatar, Philippines, and Sri Lanka. The qualifiers, held in a centralized venue in Qatar, saw each team play against the others once. The group winners would then play the final round.

India were the second best side on paper but the tournament turned out to be underwhelming for the team’s liking.

How India’s 1998 qualifying campaign go?

India started their FIFA World Cup qualifiers campaign with a 2-0 victory over the Philippines, with goals from IM Vijayan and Bruno Coutinho in the 81st and 85th minutes, respectively securing all important three points

In their second game against neighbors Sri Lanka, India was expected to win the game. To the Blue Tigers’ surprise Sri Lankan Lions started the game strongly and registered the first goal in the 14th minute through Silva. India, however,  came from behind to secure a 1-1 draw against Sri Lanka, with Carlton Chapman scoring the equalizer in the 39th minute. India tried to find the winner in the second half but Sri Lanka’s defense was stiff despite attacking threats from Vijayan and Co.

However, India’s campaign took a turn for the worse in their third game, as they suffered a heavy 6 goal defeat to Qatar in Doha. This result effectively ended India’s hopes of qualifying for the World Cup, as they finished third in the group with four points, behind Qatar and Sri Lanka.

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