3 Things to Look Forward to as India Travel to Take on Afghanistan in World Cup Qualifier

The Indian football team will take on Afghanistan in their next 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifier in Dushanbe, Tajikistan on November 14.

The Blue Tigers come into this game on the back of a disappointing draw against Bangladesh and will be looking to claim three crucial points on the road.

Here are three things to look out for from this clash.....

3. India hold a historic head-to-head advantage

India have a decent record against the Afghans in the eight games that the two countries have played against each other, with the only loss being a 2-0 defeat in the 2013 SAFF Championship. 

The last meeting between the two sides came in the final of the SAFF Championship in 2016, in Trivandrum, with India prevailing 2-1 after extra-time thanks to goals from Sunil Chhetri and Jeje Lalpekhlua.

In the eight matches that they have played against each other, India have won six games, drawn one and lost one over the years.

2. Predicted XI and injury updates

India's predicted starting XI:

Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, Rahul Bheke, Adil Khan, Anas Edathodika, Mandar Rao Desai, Pronay Halder, Anirudh Thapa, Sahal Abdul Samad, Udanta Singh, Sunil Chhetri, Ashique Kuruniyan

Nishu Kumar and Seiminlen Doungel have worked their way into Igor Stimac's squad. Sandesh Jhingan is still out after having undergone surgery on a torn Anterior Cruciate Ligament.

Anirudh Thapa and Sahal Abdul Samad are expected to dictate terms in midfield against the Afghans.

1. India need to do everything to win

On Monday, the Blue Tigers went through a training session at the HTC Sports Academy in New Delhi on artificial turf, in preparation for the match which will be played in the Tajik capital of Dushanbe, on an artificial pitch. The team is also expected to have a training session in Dubai, en route Dushanbe.

The Afghans have a squad full of players playing abroad, largely in Europe. Zohib Islam Amiri will be the danger man against India as he has plied his trade for various clubs in both the I-League and ISL.

Head coach Igor Stimac knows that for India, nothing short of six points from the next two games will be enough to keep the Blue Tigers in contention to make it to the next round of World Cup, 2022 qualifiers.