The Blue Tigers held the Asian champions to a goalless draw the last time the two teams met.
The Indian football team will play their remaining 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers campaign in Doha. Qatar and India will meet on June 3 at the Jassim Bin Hamad Stadium. This will be followed by matches against Bangladesh and Afghanistan at the same venue for Igor Stimac’s men.
The first of the three games will be the toughest, as India are up against the hosts of the 2022 FIFA World Cup, Qatar. Historically the two outfits have met twice and their last meeting was a one-sided affair, even though the result was a draw.
The two teams come into the fixture in contrasting form. While Qatar are looking forward to bigger things, as they attempt to play alongside the big nations at the World Cup, India are struggling to find a stable playing XI and rhythm.
Having said that, here is a deeper look at the previous meetings between the two teams and their recent form in preparation for this game:
India and Qatar have met twice before. While Qatar won the first-ever meeting between the sides, the second game was a goalless draw. The upcoming game will only be the third clash between these outfits, with the Indians yet to taste victory against the Qatari national team.
Qatar 6 – 0 India (27 September 1996)
The first match took place back in 1996 in the Asian World Cup Qualifiers. Qatar, Sri Lanka, India and Philippines were the four contesting teams in the group. India were the visitors and came away with a disappointing result after losing 6-0 to the hosts.
India managed only one victory against the Philippines and drew the other game against Sri Lanka, while Qatar won all three matches and finished at the top of the standings.
Qatar 0 – 0 India (10 September 2019)
The second meeting between the two was more recent. The reverse fixture in the World Cup Qualifiers was played again at the Jassim Bin Hamad Stadium, where India are set to play on June 3, 2021. Qatar, boasting the likes of Almoez Ali in their squad, were the favourites while India were still relatively a new project under Stimac.
The hosts dominated the entire game, had more possession of the ball and shots on goal. Qatar attempted 27 shots, while India only made two. In terms of corners, Qatar had 15 compared to India’s one. The Blue Tigers played a 4-1-4-1 formation, with an emphasis on absorbing the attacking waves from the opposition and the tactic worked.
However, Gurpreet Singh Sandhu kept the opposition at bay and kept an iconic clean-sheet. The custodian delivered one of his best performances for the national team to secure a point. Igor Stimac’s men must take the reverse fixture’s result as motivation. They should strive to replicate their performance when the two teams meet in a few days’ time.
India’s Last Five Matches
United Arab Emirates 6 – 0 India (29 March 2021)
Oman 1 – 1 India (25 March 2021)
Oman 1 – 0 India (19 November 2019)
Afghanistan 1 – 1 India (14 November 2019)
India 1 – 1 Bangladesh (15 October 2019)
As for the Blue Tigers, the odds are heavily against them. They have clearly not played enough football together as a team. The pandemic and the ISL 2020/21 campaign did not leave sufficient time for Igor Stimac to hold enough training camps with the side.
While the 1-1 draw against Oman that featured plenty of debutants was a huge positive, the 6-0 defeat to the UAE was a reality-check.
Qatar’s Last Five Matches
South Korea 2 – 1 Qatar (17 November 2020)
Qatar 5 – 0 Bangladesh (4 December 2020)
Qatar 1 – 0 Luxembourg (24 March 2021)
Qatar 2 – 1 Azerbaijan (27 March 2021)
Qatar 1 – 1 Ireland (31 March 2021)
Qatar have played more games recently and against tougher opponents, who match their level. The draw against the Republic of Ireland was positive considering the quality of their opponents, who had players from European leagues.
Victories against Bangladesh, Luxembourg and Azerbaijan suggest they are tough to deal with at their own ground.