Indian men’s national football team need just a draw from their final game against Afghanistan in the 2022 Fifa World Cup qualifiers, to be assured of a place in the third round of AFC Asian Cup qualifiers after Oman defeated Afghanistan 2-1 in Doha on Friday.

India are already out of contention to progress further in the World Cup qualifying campaign.

Sitting in fourth place, Afghanistan needed a victory to leapfrog India into third place. However, their recent defeat means they will now have to beat the Blue Tigers in the final World Cup qualifying game on Tuesday.

India now can seal their place in the third round of the AFC Asian Cup qualifiers if they avoid defeat on Thursday by finishing third in their group, a definite improvement over the fifth-place finish during the last campaign.

Group E as it stands

Pos Teamvte Pld W D L GD Pts
1  Qatar 8 7 1 0 +17 22
2  Oman  7 5 0 2 +7 15
3  India 7 1 3 3 −1 6
4  Afghanistan  7 1 2 4 −10 5
5  Bangladesh  7 0 2 5 −13 2

Abdullah Fawaz opened the scoring for second-placed Oman in the 14th minute but Afghanistan’s response was instant as they equalised nine minutes later through Omid Popalzay. However, Fawawz found the back of the net again six minutes into the second half to give Oman the lead again which they managed to hold on and cement the second spot in Group E.

The win means Oman are now in pole position to qualify for the next stage of World Cup qualifiers among second-placed teams and thereby also make the cut for the 2023 AFC Asian Cup.

Meanwhile it’s bad news for Afghanistan who are not among the top fourth-placed teams in the World Cup qualifiers and hence a failure to win against India would send them to the playoffs just to get into the third round of Asian Cup qualifiers.