The Reds are second in the Group E standings after collecting nine points from four games.
Oman is back to the winning ways in the FIFA World Cup 2022 Qualifiers after securing a thumping 4-1 victory over Bangladesh ahead of their game against India. The Reds will now welcome the Blue Tigers in Muscat against whom they opened their qualifying campaign with a 2-1 away victory. India are up against a tough challenge when they come visiting in Muscat for their fifth game in Group E of the second round of qualifiers.
Buoyed by an attacking minded tactician in Erwin Koeman, Oman will hope to use the home advantage and collect three points against India, whom they have already defeated earlier. If Oman are to win their next game in the qualifiers, it will firmly put them in the driving seat to qualify into the final qualifying round.
Oman are on the up, and their recent run of results goes to show their growing stature in Asian football. In the Group E alone, they have won three of their four fixtures, barring the hard-fought defeat against Qatar. As already mentioned above, Oman secured all three points in the reverse fixture against India played in Guwahati back in September. Their most recent 4-1 home victory against Bangladesh presents a daunting task to Igor Stimac and co.
About The Team
Oman is currently in the second position in Group E of the Qualifiers
As per the current FIFA Rankings, Oman are placed in the 84th place and are nearing their best-ever rank of 50. Erwin Koeman’s appointment after their AFC Asian Cup exit has rejuvenated the side. The Dutch tactician has got the side playing mesmerising attacking football, reminiscent of the Dutch style that puts emphasis on attacking from the wings.
They won the Airmarine Cup earlier this year, ahead of teams like Afghanistan, Singapore and Malaysia. Oman have never qualified for the World Cup and will hope to continue their impressive run of form, enabling them to finally realise the ultimate dream of playing on the biggest stage in football.
Koeman has been a revelation for the Oman football team
Erwin Koeman succeeded Pim Verbeek after the exit from AFC Asian Cup by Iran, earlier this year. Since taking charge of the national team, the Dutchman has instilled a new wave of energy in the squad. His tactics have been well-received and enforced by the players who are relishing the attacking mindset of their boss.
The 58-year-old has been in-charge for eight games since taking over, out of which he has secured six victories with the other two being a draw and a defeat. His managerial career has seen him not only manage outfits like Feynoord and the Hungarian national team, but he was also assistant to Ronald Koeman for Southampton and Everton back in the Premier League.
Players To Watch
Ahmed Mubarak Kano
The skipper is the heart and soul of the team and the most reliable figure in the center of the park for Oman. The 34-year-old is a box-to-box midfielder and plays a central role in both attacking and defensive fronts for his team. He is a workhorse in the heart of the midfield who not only orchestrates the attacking moves, but also loves to make late runs into the box to pounce on crosses and cutbacks.
Ali Al-Habsi has prior experience of playing in the Premier League
Ali Al-Habsi has Premier League experience under his belt from his spells at teams like Bolton Wanderers and Wigan Athletic. He is currently plying his trade at the EFL Championship outfit, West Bromwich Albion. The veteran goalkeeper is an experienced figure between the sticks and will be tough for the Indian attackers to breach.
The 37-year-old has amassed 126 appearances for the national team and will be hoping to finally guide the team into the World Cup before he hangs his boots.
Rabia Said Al-Mandahar
Rabia Said Al-Mandahar was the difference when Oman visited India and defeated the Blue Tigers in their own backyard thanks to his brace. The attacking winger has been in scintillating form and continued his scoring exploits against Qatar and Bangladesh as well.
The 24-year-old will be the main threat going into the next fixture too. He is pacy, and loves to exploit the wider channels, causing plenty of problems to the opposition defence. Al-Mandahar is particularly dangerous when cutting in from the left-wing.
What To Expect
Erwin Koeman will have his team firing on all cylinders and go for all three points from the kick-off. The home advantage will play in their favor and a victory will put them in a very strong position to secure qualification into the final round. One can expect Oman to be on the top of their attacking game, and Igor Stimac’s men must pull off a miraculous performance similar to their feat in Qatar to gain anything from the game.