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FIFA World Cup Qualifiers

India vs Kuwait: Three key battles that could decide World Cup Qualifier

Published at :June 4, 2024 at 1:42 PM
Modified at :June 4, 2024 at 1:42 PM
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(Courtesy : Getty Images/AIFF)

Waseem


India will face tough competition from the Blue Wave.

Indian men’s football team is set to play two highly crucial 2026 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers (second round) fixtures against Kuwait and Qatar in June. The first of those fixtures will be played on 6 June at the Salt Lake Stadium in Kolkata against a Kuwait side that is directly competing against the Blue Tigers for the second spot that ensures qualification into the third round of the qualifiers of the AFC region and the 2027 AFC Asian Cup in Saudi Arabia.

The upcoming fixture with Kuwait is building up to be one of the most important matches in recent memory as it will be the final time Indian football fans will witness Sunil Chhetri playing for the national team. The hype is building with every passing day as both national teams are putting in the hard work in their preparations for the match on Thursday.

Plenty of quality individuals will be on the pitch for both teams, competing against each other to guide their respective teams to victory and three points. Looking at both squads, here is a look at three key battles that will play a major role in deciding the outcome:

Lallianzuala Chhangte vs Mohsen Ghareeb

India vs Kuwait: Three key battles that could decide World Cup Qualifier.
Lallianzuala Chhangte in training. (Image Source: AIFF)

Lallianzuala Chhangte had a decent 2023-24 Indian Super League (ISL) campaign. He scored 10 goals and provided six assists for Mumbai City FC, helping them to the ISL Trophy after winning the playoffs. He will be looking to carry the form into the pivotal FIFA World Cup Qualifiers against Kuwait and Qatar.

Mohsen Ghareeb of Kuwait played in the previous fixture between the two sides and looked decent. He will be tasked with stopping Chhangte from scoring or setting up his teammates for goalscoring opportunities if given the start in the left-back position.

Sunil Chhetri vs Hassan Al-Enezi

Family was shocked but understood that I'm fighting my own battles inside, says Sunil Chhetri
Sunil Chhetri in action. (Image Source: AIFF)

Sunil Chhetri is definitely going to feature for India given that it is the last time he will play for the national team. The legendary Indian goalscorer is a serious threat inside the box and loves to get on the end of crosses. He can also hurt any team in dead-ball situations and loves to convert penalties too.

Hassan Al-Enezi is a mainstay in Kuwait’s defensive line. The young centre-back is one of the national team’s most consistent performers and would plan to limit Chhetri in his last dance with the Blue Tigers.

Anwar Ali vs Yousef Nasser

India vs Kuwait: Three key battles that can decide World Cup Qualifier
Anwar Ali in training.

Anwar Ali is usually sensible in possession and keeps a close watch on opposition attackers. However, he can find it challenging to contain forwards that rely on strength and physicality to make room for themselves. Considering this equation, the defender’s clash with Yousef Nasser will be interesting to watch.

The forward is likely to lead the forward line for Kuwait in the upcoming FIFA World Cup Qualifier fixture. He captained the side against Qatar in the previous qualifier where the side narrowly lost by a 2-1 scoreline. He will be hungry to score against the Blue Tigers and allow his team to qualify for the next round.

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