India left reeling by Afghanistan as World Cup hopes begin to fade again

Expanded 2026 World Cup finals have given hope to Igor Stimac’s side but the Lions of Khorasan had other ideas

Perhaps the one positive for India from their shock 2-1 home defeat by Afghanistan in 2026 World Cup qualification is that the team have risen far enough for shock defeats to be a thing. It’s not much of a comfort, however, and once solid-looking dreams of getting to the final stages on the road to the World Cup for the first time are starting to hang by delicate threads of Assam silk.

On Thursday, fans in that state’s biggest city, Guwahati, were confident of a comfortable win against Afghanistan, a team ranked 158 in the world. The 0-0 draw between the two five days earlier in the south-west corner of Saudi Arabia, rather than in Kabul, was surely a blip. Qatar were streaking ahead in Group A of qualification, leaving India and Kuwait to fight for the second spot that also brings a place in the final 18 that will fight it out for Asia’s increased World Cup allocation of eight. India had four points from the first three games and could have moved four points clear of third with two games to go.

Continue reading…

You may also like...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *