The Indian national football team will play their second match for the FIFA World Cup's qualifying round when they take on Qatar in Doha on Tuesday.
After leading for most of the game against Oman, the Blue Tigers conceded two late goals to lose their opening encounter of the qualifiers. However, their first half performance in that game will give hope for a better performance against the strongest team in their group, Qatar.
The Qataris have defeated all the Asian Teams that they have faced in 2019 including Iraq, UAE, Japan, Saudi Arabia, South Korea among others. They also managed a draw against South American side Paraguay. However, they are not unbeatable.
Here are three reasons why the Blue Tigers can upset the World Cup host nation and the winners of the AFC Asian Cup in their own backyard....
3. Faith and Self-belief on a high
It is a known fact that on their day, any team can beat any opponent no matter what the ranking or odds.
The same can be said about the Indian football team, who performed exceptionally well against Oman before once again losing concentration in the final minutes.
However, coach Igor Stimac will take heart in explaining to his team that they now need to start closing out games as they have the quality to do so.
Expect a fiery Indian side against Qatar on Tuesday as Indian fans too will turn out in the stadium after filling out their share of ticket sales in record time.
2. Improvement in ball possession
As seen in the match against Oman, India conceded goals due to individual errors and not because the opposition caused havoc in their box.
One brilliant change to notice in Stimac's Indian team was the way they held possession of the ball, especially in the first half as Anirudh Thapa and co ran circles around Oman's players.
Against Qatar, this team has to increase their quality on the ball once again and ensure they complete almost all of their intended passes in order to avoid any counter-attacks from a speedy opponent.
1. Positive changes intended by Igor Stimac
One thing to notice for the match against Qatar will be Stimac's starting XI for the game. Speaking after the loss against Oman, Stimac specifically mentioned that he will change things for this game against Qatar.
He said, "As soon as the Oman match ended, we shifted our focus immediately to the next match. Qatar are the strongest team in the group and playing them will not be easy. However, it's a great opportunity to learn from."
The Croatian coach also mentioned, "Obviously, we have to change 4-5 players. We'll see how everyone is feeling. There is no reason to fear and we shall look to score goals and play good football."