Igor Stimac, the coach of the Indian football team, expresses his confidence a on the team ahead of the India vs Qatar FIFA World Cup Qualifier game.
The Asian champions Qatar might have pumped in 8 goals past Afghanistan nets but India Football team coach Igor Stimac is not afraid of Qatar challenge. On November 21, India will meet Qatar in their next FIFA World Cup Qualifiers at the Kalinga Stadium. The Blue Tigers defeated Kuwait 1-0 away from home in their first game. And even though Stimac is aware of the threat Qatar pose, he has asked Sunil Chhetri & Co to show their quality in India vs Qatar game.
“The first and bigger part was accomplished by winning against Kuwait. Now I want the boys not to take any pressure and show their quality against Qatar,” said Stimac speaking to AIFF.
Qatar beat Afghanistan 8-1 to begin their FIFA World Cup Qualification campaign in spectacular fashion. They are the odds-on favourite to be one of the two Group A teams to advance to the third round.
Can India do it again?
Four years ago, in a 2022 World Cup Qualifiers match against Qatar, a tenacious India held the Asian football powerhouse to a goalless draw in Doha. Igor Stimac, India’s head coach, led the team from the sidelines.
The Croatian will be on the bench again in India vs Qatar in another World Cup qualifiers match on Tuesday. This time in the United States, Canada, and Mexico for the 2026 edition.
Igor Stimac would undoubtedly be significantly more confident on the pitch than they were at the start of the season in India vs Qatar game. The thrilling victory over Kuwait transformed the entire scenario.
Sunil Chhetri and his team are now subject to high expectations. While a victory is what the Blue Tigers would be playing for in India vs Qatar match, Igor Stimac admitted that it will be a difficult affair.
“We have analysed Qatar from every angle and position and know very well what they are capable of in terms of speed and strength. Their defensive and offensive positions are immaculate, which they demonstrated against Afghanistan by scoring eight goals. They could well have scored eight more. It is going to be very difficult and I just want the boys to enjoy their game in the next match.” Stimac added.
Ashique Kuruniyan, Anwar Ali, and Jeakson Singh will continue to be unavailable for India. However, it appears like Igor Stimac has found the ideal lineup that plays to each player’s talents.
“Our main worry was the impact on the quality of the starting XI owing to the injuries. Losing the likes of Anwar (Ali), Ashique (Kuruniyan) and Jeakson (Singh) was a big blow for us as they were the young players who brought energy and quality to this side. But we were able to get over that crisis against Kuwait by sheer hard work and also by having a good pool of players for the national team that helped us find the right replacements,” he concluded.