Qatar has a FIFA World Ranking of 59, followed by India at 99 and Kuwait at 137.
The AFC second round of the 2026 FIFA World Cup qualification draw has placed the Indian men's football team in Group A, where they will face formidable opponents Qatar and Kuwait, as well as the winner of the match between Afghanistan and Mongolia. This momentous draw was held at the AFC House in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
India's national team has shown promise in recent times, with significant victories such as their triumph against Kuwait in the SAFF Championship final. Additionally, they displayed their mettle by securing a draw against the 2019 AFC Asian Cup champions, Qatar, during the previous World Cup qualifying campaign.
Under the guidance of head coach Igor Stimac, the Indian team is gearing up to kickstart their qualifying campaign later this year, with matches scheduled to run until June 2024. In Group A, Qatar stands as the top-ranked team with a FIFA World Ranking of 59, followed by India at 99 and Kuwait at 137.
The AFC's second round of 2026 FIFA World Cup qualification will see a total of 36 teams competing, divided into nine groups of four teams each. The matches will be played in a home and away round-robin format. At the end of this stage, the top two teams from each group will progress to the third round of qualification and secure their spots in the 2027 Asian Cup. The remaining teams will advance to the third round of the Asian Cup qualification.
Among the 36 participating teams, 26 have received byes to this round, while the remaining 10 teams will be determined based on the results of the first-round matches, which are yet to take place.
Group A: Qatar, India, Kuwait, Afghanistan/Mongolia.
Group B: Japan, Syria, North Korea, Myanmar/Macau.
Group C: South Korea, China, Thailand, Singapore/Guam.
Group D: Oman, Kyrgyz Republic, Malaysia, Chinese Taipei/Timor-Leste.
Group E: Iran, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Hong Kong China/Bhutan.
Group F: Iraq, Vietnam, Philippines, Indonesia/Brunei.
Group G: Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Tajikistan, Cambodia/Pakistan.
Group H: UAE, Bahrain, Yemen/Sri Lanka, Nepal/Laos.
Group I: Australia, Palestine, Lebanon, Maldives/Bangladesh.