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FIFA WC Qualifier: India to face Kuwait at favored Salt Lake Stadium in Kolkata

India is gearing up for FIFA World Cup Qualifier against Kuwait at Kolkata’s Salt Lake Stadium on June 6. This match, their fourth encounter in a year, holds importance as it could secure India’s spot in the third round of FIFA World Cup Qualifiers and direct qualification for the AFC Asian Cup 2027.

Currently, Qatar leads the group with four wins, while India, Afghanistan, and Kuwait are closely contending for the second spot. Despite a defeat to Afghanistan in March, India holds second place due to a superior goal difference (-3) compared to Afghanistan’s (-10). A victory against Kuwait would eliminate them from contention and bolster India’s position.

The Salt Lake Stadium has been favorable for India, with notable wins in the AFC Asian Cup Qualifiers in 2022. Historically, India hasn’t lost at this venue since 2006. In recent encounters, India has performed well against Kuwait, including a penalty shootout victory in the SAFF Championship final in July 2023 and a 1-0 win in Kuwait City in November 2023.

However, India is currently on a six-game winless streak and has dropped to 121st in the FIFA Rankings. Conversely, Kuwait has also struggled, losing all four of their matches in 2024 and slipping to 139th in the rankings. Despite this, Indian captain Sunil Chhetri, set to play his last national game, acknowledges Kuwait’s technical prowess.

Kuwait’s squad, mainly from their top domestic clubs, will miss winger Shabaib Al-Khaldi but features key players like Khalid El Ebrahim, Ahmed Al-Dhefiri, Sultan El-Enezi, Eid Al-Rasheedi, and Mobarak Al-Faneeni. India aims to capitalize on their home advantage and secure a pivotal win.

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Last Updated: 18th Jun 2024