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India squad for 2026 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers

India will take on Kuwait and Qatar in the first two games of the 2026 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers. Check out here India squad for 2026 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers.

Last updated: 15.11.2023
India squad for 2026 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers

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Head coach Igor Stimac announced a 26-member squad of the Indian Men’s national team set to participate in Round 2 of the 2026 FIFA World Cup & 2027 AFC Asian Cup joint qualifiers starting from Thursday, 16 November 2023. The Blue Tigers will begin their journey by facing Kuwait in Kuwait City on the first day before returning to India to take on Asian champions Qatar in Bhubaneswar on November 21, 2023. Afghanistan is the other opponent in the group coming from Round 1 of the qualifiers.    

India traveled to Dubai on November 8, 2023 for a preparatory camp for this all-important qualifier, the second under the Croatian manager. This will be the tenth participation for India in the FIFA World Cup qualifiers but the team has never made it to the third round of the qualifiers in its history. Also, these are the last set of games Igor Stimac’s side is getting before the AFC Asian Cup 2023 to be played in January 2024 in Qatar. There are no friendly games planned before that tournament.  



India had a terrific start to 2023 winning three competitions – The tri-Nations Cup, Intercontinental Cup and the SAFF Championship on the spin on home soil and for the first time in a calendar year. They were unbeaten for 11 matches, including eight wins, in that period and kept a clean sheet in eight of them. However, their honeymoon run ended with a 1-0 loss to Lebanon in the King’s Cup hosted by Thailand after a 2-2 draw with Iraq. India’s owe on foreign land continued when they lost 4-2 to Malaysia in the Merdeka Cup despite their second-half efforts to come back in the match. The game was overshadowed by incompetent referee decisions denying the Blue Tigers a clear goal and also dire pitch conditions. India are winless in the last six matches, excluding shootout victories, which will be a big worry for Igor Stimac ahead of the World Cup qualifiers.           


Goalkeepers: Amrinder Singh (Odisha FC), Gurpreet Singh Sandhu (Bengaluru FC), Vishal Kaith (Mohun Bagan SG)

Defenders: Akash Mishra (Mumbai City FC), Lalchungnunga (East Bengal FC), Mehtab Singh (Mumbai City FC), Nikhil Poojary (Hyderabad FC), Rahul Bheke (Mumbai City FC), Roshan Singh Naorem (Bengaluru FC), Sandesh Jhingan (FC Goa), Subhasish Bose (Mohun Bagan SG)

Midfielders: Anirudh Thapa (Mohun Bagan SG), Brandon Fernandes (FC Goa), Apuia (Mumbai City FC), Liston Colaco (Mohun Bagan SG), Mahesh Singh Naorem (East Bengal FC), Rohit Kumar (Bengaluru FC), Sahal Abdul Samad, Suresh Singh Wangjam, Udanta Singh Kumam

Forwards: Ishan Pandita, Lallianzuala Chhangte, Manvir Singh, Rahul KP, Sunil Chhetri

Head Coach: Igor Stimac


The national team has been dealt with two massive injury blows in Jeakson Singh and Anwar Ali. Both are set to be out for a month sustaining the injuries while playing for their club sides. After a reported fall-out with the manager, midfielder Apuia Ralte has been included in the final squad for India after a long time. The former NorthEast United player has put up a string of excellent performances both in ISL and the AFC Champions League with Mumbai City FC. Bengaluru FC’s Roshan Singh has also made his return to the national team. From the provisional squad, Glan Martins, Nandhakumar Sekar and Vikram Partap Singh did not make the cut.   


Kuwait vs India - 16 November 2023 (10:00 PM)

India vs Qatar - 21 November 2023 (07:00 PM)  


India is facing Kuwait for the third time this year having met twice in the 2023 SAFF Championship including the final. The Blue Tigers won a dramatic penalty shootout in the encounter back in July and also won the only other visit to the Middle Eastern nation back in 2004. Hosts of the upcoming Asian Cup, Qatar is the next tie India will engage themselves in four days later. All of the three clashes with The Maroons have come in the FIFA World Cup qualifiers, including for the 2022 edition, but this will be the first home meeting for the Blue Tigers. 

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