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HomeSportHow can India qualify for FIFA World Cup 2026? Check here as...

How can India qualify for FIFA World Cup 2026? Check here as Blue Tigers gear up for Chhetri’s final game

India, the sleeping giants of football, are dreaming to make an entry into the FIFA World Cup 2026. The Blue Tigers are currently playing in the second round of the FIFA World Cup 2026 AFC qualifiers and have a crucial clash against Kuwait, which will be the farewell match of the legendary Sunil Chhetri.

The two teams square off at the Salt Lake Stadium in Kolkata. However unlikely it might sound, India have a chance to make it to the main edition of the tournament, especially after the increase in the number of participants, up from 32 to 48.

India one step away from the third round of qualification
India are placed in Group A of the Asian Qualifiers alongside Qatar, Kuwait and Afghanistan. The Chettri-led team has only one win in their four outings so far, which came in November 2023 against Kuwait. They occupy the second place in the group.

If India beat Kuwait like they did last year, they have all the chances to make it to the third round of the AFC Qualifiers, from where there is a direct entry into the FIFA World Cup 2026.

What is the Asian teams’ qualification scenario for FIFA World Cup 2026?
Eight teams from Asia will directly qualify for the FIFA World Cup 2026. Currently, 36 teams are playing in the second round of the AFC Qualifiers.

Round 2 – 18 teams to qualify from 36: The second round sees 36 teams placed in nine groups of four each. The top two teams from each group will qualify for the third round.

Round 3 – 6 teams to qualify from 18: The third round will see 18 teams placed in three groups of six each. The teams will play against each other twice, on a home-and-away basis. The top two teams from each group will confirm a ticket to the FIFA World Cup 2026.

Round 4 – 2 from 6 qualify: The third and fourth-placed teams in the three groups of round three will go into the fourth round. These six teams will be pitted in two groups of three each. The two group winners will then qualify for the global tournament.

Round 5 – 1 team into inter-confederation play-off: After Asian eight teams have qualified for the showpiece event in 2026, there will be another potential spot available for Asia.

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