Indian football team slides to 121st in FIFA ranking after defeat to Afghanistan

Indian football lose vs Afghanistan

The Indian men’s football team’s FIFA ranking took a significant hit, sliding down to the 121st position. This downward trajectory in the rankings came after a disappointing performance against Afghanistan in the FIFA World Cup 2026 qualifiers. The match, highly anticipated by fans and players alike, ended in a 2-1 defeat for India, marking a setback in their qualification journey for the World Cup. Held at the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium in Guwahati, the match saw Sunil Chhetri, India’s talisman and captain fantastic, making his 150th international appearance. Chhetri, known for his lethal finishing and leadership on the field, scored the opening goal in the 38th minute, giving India an early lead. This goal, Chhetri’s 94th international strike, momentarily filled the home crowd with jubilation and hope.

However, the joy was short-lived as Afghanistan mounted a stunning comeback in the second half. Rahmat Akbari’s equalizer in the 70th minute followed by Sharif Muhammad’s penalty in the dying minutes of the game turned the tide in favor of the visitors. The Afghan team’s resilience and strategic gameplay paid off, leaving the Indian side and fans in shock and disappointment. This loss not only affected India’s standing in the group stage of the World Cup qualifiers but also had a direct impact on their FIFA ranking. Dropping four spots to the 121st position, this ranking reflects India’s worst in recent years, underscoring the need for introspection and strategic changes within the team and its management.

The defeat to Afghanistan and the consequent slide in the FIFA rankings serve as a wake-up call for the Indian football team. As they prepare for their final two matches of the second round FIFA World Cup 2026 qualifying campaign against Kuwait and Qatar in June, the team will need to regroup, reassess their strategies, and come back stronger. The road ahead is challenging, but with determination and the right approach, the Blue Tigers can aspire to climb back up the rankings and keep their World Cup dreams alive.

Published By:

Saurabh Kumar

Published On:

Apr 4, 2024

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