At their debut on the world stage, the Indian team has shown a few glimpses of quality and even notched up their first goal against Colombia courtesy of a strike via Jeakson Singh. Despite that strike, India went on to lose 2-1.
As things stand currently, India are bottom of Group A with no points. The young Blue Tigers need a win against Ghana to stand a chance of qualifying for the Round of 16. There is also a need for other results to go in their favour if they are to finish in the top two positions in the group.
India need a swing of +4 against Ghana
A 3-0 loss against the US means that India have a goal difference of -4 and will find it hard to close the gap to the South Americans and the Africans.
As Colombia play US, India will hope that the Americans can rack up a big victory against Los Cafeteros. With both Ghana and Colombia on a goal difference of 0, India will need to overcome this gap, one that they can achieve by scoring three goals without reply against Ghana.
Should the three teams end up level on three points, the head-to-head criteria will mean that each team will have a win against the other two and it will come down to goal difference.
Lucky third-placed team
The format of the World Cup is such that the top four-ranked third-placed teams also qualify for the Round of 16. Currently, those four spots are occupied by Ghana, Niger (both on three points), Iraq and Costa Rica (one point). Iraq and Honduras, fourth and sixth in the third-placed teams table, have yet to play their second game and will do so today.
India will most definitely need a win on the final day to sneak in to those places and yet may not reach the Round of 16 if the other teams rack up more than three points. The permutations and combinations in a four-team group mean that even a side with four points to their name could finish third.
It may seem a long stretch for this team to still qualify, but as long as there’s a mathematical chance, Luis Norton de Matos and his boys will be advised to go for it.