AFC has recently announced that the matches FIFA World Cup Qualifiers, scheduled later for this year, will be rescheduled to next year due to the current Covid-19 situation in many countries. India were set to host Qatar and Afghanistan and travel to Bangladesh to complete their set of matches.
The Indian football team’s aspirations of playing in the 2022 FIFA World Cup are all but over, even though their chances of making it to the 2023 AFC Asian Cup are bright. The remaining matches of the group stages were previously supposed to get over by now, but the pandemic had postponed all sports activities throughout the world. While the remaining matches were re-scheduled to October-November later this year, the recent spike in Covid-19 cases has made it impossible to stage them. As reported by the Asian Football Confederation (AFC), the matches will be further pushed back to 2021 considering the pandemic situation in many Asian countries.
“In light of the current COVID-19 situation in many countries, FIFA and the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) have jointly decided that the upcoming qualifying matches for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 and AFC Asian Cup China 2023, originally scheduled to take place during the international match windows in October and November 2020, will be rescheduled to 2021,” read a statement from the AFC.
“With the aim of protecting the health and safety of all participants, FIFA and the AFC will continue to work together to closely monitor the situation in the region and to identify new dates for the respective qualifying matches. Further details on the new dates for the next round of qualifying matches for the FIFA World Cup 2022 and the AFC Asian Cup 2023 will be announced in due course,” added the statement.
India is currently placed at the fourth position in Group E with three points from five matches, having failed to win a single match in the qualifiers so far. Qatar leads the group with 13 points from as many matches with four wins to their name.