Extra Time Web Desk: Sunil Chhetri and his young and energetic Indian team are set to face the mighty Asian Champions Qatar in the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Qualifiers at the Jasim bin Hamad Stadium in Doha on Thursday. It is also the preliminary qualifier for the AFC Asian Cup China 2023. Blue Tigers make up for lost time as they insist on the lush green. The last time India played against Asian champions Qatar, it ended goalless – one of the most significant results achieved in recent times in Indian football.
“The situation was different then. Now the situation is different,” said goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, who captained India that day, apart from putting up an inspiring performance. “We went to Doha after a long camp. The pace was exceptionally high despite the loss against Oman in the previous match. In the last few days in Doha, we have prepared ourselves apart from getting ready not only for Qatar but for two other matches.
Indian skipper Sunil Chhetri is aware that Qatar is all guns blazing after the two sides lost points in the previous encounter.
“Qatar is one of the top teams in Asia. He has had some decent results against top European and South American teams in recent times. The last time we took a point against him, we got more confidence as a team. We understand that they will take out all guns blazing at us, and we need to stick together as a team,” Chhetri said.
For the record, Qatar has won 21 of the 35 matches they have played since 2018, with six draws and eight losses, and is currently at the top of Group E with 15 points from six matches.
Head coach Igor Stimac is tireless. He understands the importance of these three matches and is aware of the commitment of his boys. “I repeat, they are all good professionals, and I don’t have much work to do to keep them motivated,” he says. “The boys are working hard on the training pitch with full commitment. They know they are representing their country, and they will do everything possible to protect the colors of India.”
Team news said midfielder Rollin Borges suffered a hamstring injury, and doubts remain. The rest fought hard to reach the final 23.
With inputs from AIFF Media
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