Robbery in Qatar | Qatar vs India | FIFA World Cup 2026 Qualifiers Review |


Last match of the world cup qualifying campaign, the first one after Sunil Chettri era and it started with nothing other than heartbreak. India, who were on the verge of qualifying for the world cup got robbed of a place in the next round as a serious referee blunder costed India a demoralising defeat on the away soil.

India, playing their after first match after captain, leader, legend Sunil Chettri’s retirement from international football, started the match with high hopes. Victory against a strong Qatari side at their home will be nothing short of a miracle.

Igor Stimac named his 11 by changing his approach for the match as he shifted to a 3-4-1-2 formation with 3 man backline comprising of  Anwar Ali, Rahul Bheke and Mehtab Singh, Suresh and Jeakson were handed the role of destroying Qatar attacks through the middle as Manvir and Jay Gupta joined them as right and left wing backs respectively. Brandon Fernandes was handed the creator’s role at the middle of the park as Rahim Ali and Lallianzuala Chhangte lead the line for India.

India, unexpectedly started the match on a high note as they started attacking on the Qatar goal right from the get go. Qatar also launched attacks on Indian goal but the defensive trio of Anwar, Rahul and Mehtab were strong and determined enough to withstand Qatari attackers. Manvir and Chhangte started attacking through the right flank using their pace, Brandon Fernandes who was acting as the anchor started to find gaps in the Qatar defense but none of the passes could bore any fruit as Rahim Ali missed many sitters. The first real big chance of the match fell to Manvir Singh, who failed to capitalize on the chance.

In the 37th minute of the game, a brilliant through pass from Brandon found onrushing Chhangte who calmly slotted it past goalkeeper. India led 1-0. First open play goal of the calendar year finally came as India heads to the lemon break maintaining the lead over Qatar.

With the expectations from India getting high after their superb first half display, India started the second half with much filled confidence in them. They kept on coming at Qatar, one after another. If India could have maintained their defensive solidity, the dreams of qualifying for the world cup would remain alive. But, alas! God had other plans. Qatar launched a attack and the header was saved by Gurpreet and the consequent ball went out of play but no whistle came from referee but all of the Indian players stopped for a moment and in the meantime, Qatari players brought the ball back in play and scored the goal, against which Indian players protested, but the South Korean referee after discussing with his assistants ruled the goal as valid. Huge controversies and protests ride but they were of no use by then.

After that goal, India were somewhat taken out of the game and after that Jay Gupta went out injured and India were down to 10 men on field and Qatar number 10, Alrawi beats Gurpreet with a beautiful curler to the bottom left corner. The dreams of qualifying for the world cup that rose after defeating the Kuwait away from home finally ended in a heartbreak again as India again gets eliminated from the preliminary stages of Qualification.

With this defeat, many positives as well as negatives have caught the eye but it’s the final result that matters at last and India, they set on for a another journey in hope of qualifying for the world cup in 2030.

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