India vs Afghanistan Live FIFA World Cup Qualifier: Scores, Updates, Commentary, News

India vs Afghanistan is always an interesting football encounter, but what’s at stake here makes it even more meaningful. For India to keep in their own hands their very real chance of qualifying to the third round of FIFA World Cup Qualifying a min here is mandatory. That would mean they go into their next FIFA World Cup Qualifier against Kuwait at home with fate in their control.

A win against Afghanistan would put them at seven points, and assuming Kuwait lose to Qatar (which considering the relative strength of the two is the most realistic possibility) that would give India a four-point lead. Even if Kuwait were to beat Afghanistan twice (again, the most realistic outcome on paper), India would walk into the Salt Lake stadium in June knowing that beating Kuwait (like they did away in the first FIFA World Cup Qualifier) would do the trick.

Over and above the fact of qualifying for round 3, which also brings with it automatic qualification for the next AFC Asian Cup, Igor Stimac in yesterday’s pre-match press conference said he would “leave” if India were to not make it.

It’s been five years since the Stimac era began for the NT, but rarely have they played under so much pressure. And rarely have they looked so out of sort: it’s been 532 minutes since India last scored a goal. To break that nine-hour drought, a lot still remains on the 39-year-old shoulders of Sunil Chhetri. Whether the youngsters on the wings can get enough service through to him holds the key – and whether Stimac trusts playmaker extraordinaire Brandon Fernandes to start the game.

We will have the live blog running right here, with updates increasing in frequency as the match draws closer.

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