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FIFA World Cup Qualifiers

Three keys to success for Kuwait against India in 2026 FIFA World Cup Qualifier

Published at :June 5, 2024 at 7:52 PM
Modified at :June 5, 2024 at 8:15 PM
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Kuwait must secure three points against the Blue Tigers who will have the home advantage.

The Kuwait football team are gearing up to play a vital 2026 FIFA World Cup Qualifying (second round) fixture against India at the Salt Lake Stadium in Kolkata on Thursday, 6 June 2024.

The Blue Tigers are looking to secure a second place in Group A of the qualifiers that will ensure a berth in the third round of the AFC regional qualifiers and the 2027 AFC Asian Cup in Saudi Arabia.

As it stands, India sit in second place with four points from four fixtures, while Kuwait are bottom in fourth place with three points. With Qatar all set to finish as group winners, the race for the second spot is heating up. Winning is also vital for Al Azraq.

However, defeating India in their own backyard is a challenging task. The upcoming clash is also set to be the final time Indian legend Sunil Chhetri will feature for the national team, resulting in high emotions. Amidst all of the chaos, the Kuwait football team must focus on the following three important factors to succeed and grab the three points:

Defend in a low block

Kuwait mustn’t allow space behind the backline for Indian wingers to exploit. Players like Lallianzuala Chhangte, Vikram Partap Singh, Liston Colaco, and more can hurt any opposition with their pace, if they can make darting runs behind the defensive line. Defending in a low block and hitting India on the counter-attack can bring Kuwait success.

Indian attackers have struggled in the past to unlock tight defences, as evidenced by their disappointing results against Afghanistan earlier in the 2026 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers.

Avoid giving away free-kicks or penalties

Sunil Chhetri is going to feature either as a starter or from the bench. He is lethal from the penalty spot and can also score from direct free-kicks. Kuwait must prepare for such scenarios and not give away any cheap free-kicks in dangerous areas. 

The last time India scored a goal in Group A of the 2026 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers (second round) was from a Chhetri penalty conversion. The Indian team particularly struggles to score from open play and limiting the fouls in the final third can negatively impact India’s chances of scoring.

Target Indian defence with high press and crosses

Kuwait must be pragmatic while attacking the Indian defence, which will be under pressure to keep a clean-sheet. Under Igor Stimac, the Indian defenders try to build a move from the back—in line with how modern tacticians want their teams to play.

Playing out from the back is a double-edged sword. If it works it can lead to larger spaces in midfield, but if the ball gets intercepted in the defensive third, it usually leads to scoring opportunities and in most cases goals.

The Kuwait forwards need to press high and try to initiate turnovers in India’s half. Furthermore, Indian defenders tend to go to sleep during defensive corners and free-kick situations. Piling on numbers in the box during dead-ball situations can lead to more scoring chances and success.

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