The fixtures had to be rescheduled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a statement released by the Asian Football Confederation (AFC), the rescheduled dates for the remaining FIFA World Cup Qualifiers of India have been revealed. The Blue Tigers will face hosts Qatar at home on October 8 2020, followed by a trip to Bangladesh on November 12. Five days later, on November 17, the Indian football team will play their final qualifying game against Afghanistan at home.
“The AFC, in consultation with FIFA, has today announced the proposed match dates for the remaining matches of Round 2 in the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 and AFC Asian Cup China 2023 Asian Qualifiers, which were originally scheduled to take place in March and June 2020,” read the statement by the AFC.
Previously, India were scheduled to play their remaining three qualifying games – one in March and the other two in June. However, due to the coronavirus pandemic all major sporting events were postponed. After a two-month halt, football has gradually resumed in several countries, including Germany.
Moreover, with the Serie A, Premier League and LaLiga all returning to action in the coming weeks, the AFC in consultation with FIFA has decided on the dates for the remaining World Cup qualifying matchdays. “Matchdays 7 and 8 are now scheduled to take place on October 8 and 13, 2020 respectively, while Matchdays 9 and 10 are due to kickoff on November 12 and 17, 2020,” the statement continued.
“The latest decision has been taken with a view to completing the Preliminary Joint Qualification Round 2 by November 2020 and to commence the subsequent FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Asian Qualifiers Final Round as well as the playoff matches for the AFC Asian Cup China 2023 Round 3 Qualifiers by the March 2021 match dates in the FIFA International Calendar.”
“The AFC will continue to monitor the situation closely to ensure the safety and well-being of all teams, officials, fans and stakeholders as well as government travel and medical restrictions and will notify all parties should there be a need to reassess the match schedules due to the ever-evolving impact of the COVID-19 pandemic,” the statement from the AFC further read.
Meanwhile, India who are practically out of the race for World Cup qualification, will look to seal a place in the third round of AFC Asian Cup 2023 qualifiers. The Blue Tigers failed to win a single game in their previous qualifying games, whilst drawing against Bangladesh and Qatar. Yet, there have a good chance to qualify for the Asian Cup and that will be of the highest priority once they return to action.