India vs Afghanistan: All that you want to know

India ahead of Afghanistan clash in Saudi Arabia
India ahead of Afghanistan clash in Saudi Arabia (PC: AIFF/X)

India will be back in action at the Damac Stadium, Saudi Arabia when they take on Afghanistan in the FIFA World Cup Qualifiers. The home clash is in Guwahati on March 26.

Winning both these games will help India inch closer to history, as they have never qualified for the third round of the World Cup Qualifiers before!


India 117. Afghanistan 158

Head-to-Head Record

Teams have faced each other 11 times. India have won seven times and Afghanistan once. Three matches ended in draws.

Afghanistan’s only win came in the final of the SAFF Championship, 2013 when they defeated India 2-0. They last met in the AFC Asian Cup qualification match in 2022 where India won 2-1. In 2019, both World Cup qualification games ended in 1-1 draws.

Form Guide


Igor Stimac and his boys registered a historic away win over Kuwait in the first game, while they suffered a 3-0 defeat against Qatar at home in their second game. After that, they had a disappointing AFC Asian Cup campaign with three losses in the group stage! So, India will look to get back to winning ways in these upcoming fixtures.


For Ashley Westwood’s army, the going is not great either! After winning both legs in the first round of the World Cup Qualifiers, they suffered heavy back-to-back defeats against Qatar (1-8) and Kuwait (0-4).

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Afghanistan players in practice session
Afghanistan players in practice session {Credit: Afghanistan Football Federation Twitter/X)



Goalkeepers: Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, Amrinder Singh, Vishal Kaith.

Defenders: Akash Mishra, Mehtab Singh, Rahul Bheke, Nikhil Poojary, Subhasish Bose, Anwar Ali, Amey Ranawade, Jay Gupta.

Midfielders: Anirudh Thapa, Brandon Fernandes, Liston Colaco, Mahesh Singh Naorem, Sahal Abdul Samad, Suresh Singh Wangjam, Jeakson Singh Thounaojam, Deepak Tangri, Lalengmawia Ralte, Imran Khan.

Forwards: Sunil Chhetri, Lallianzuala Chhangte, Manvir Singh, Vikram Partap Singh.

Under Stimac’s supervision, India have been trying to get used to the conditions in Saudi Arabia and they are expected to be ready for the challenge. Sahal Abdul Samad has reportedly sustained a Hamstring injury and he might not be seen in action.

That could be a huge blow as Samad is an integral part of the playing XI. A few new faces like Jay Gupta, Amey Ranawade and Vikram Partap Singh were included in the squad by the Croatian coach. So, it will be interesting to see whether these players get a chance!


Goalkeepers: Ovays Azizi, Faisal Khil, Faisal Ahmad Hamidi.

Defenders: Zohib Islam Amiri, Mosawer Ahadi, Mahboob Hanifi, Habibulla  Askar, Amid Arezou, Sharif Mukhammad, Zelfagar Nzary.

Midfielders: Mustafa Azadzoy, Taufee Skandari, Jamshed Asekzai, Omid Popalzay, Jabar Sharza, Rahmat Akbari, Yama Sherzad, Siar Sadat.

Forwards: Omid Musawi, Balal Arezou, Ramien Safi, Sayeed Reza Hussaini, Fareed Sadat, Amin Nabizada.

Eighteen players are staging a boycott against the Afghanistan Football Federation (AFF), accusing the body of indulging in corruption, including match-fixing. Hence, many new faces have been considered by the former Bengaluru FC coach, Ashley Westwood.

Sixteen players have been added to the squad who play in the lower divisions of various European leagues. The 16-year-old winger, Amin Nabizada, deserves special mention. He impressed at Watford reserves with seven goals and previously showcased his talent at Brentford.

India in training in Saudi Arabia
India in training in Saudi Arabia (PC: AIFF/X)

PC Quotes

Igor Stimac: “Ashley knows most of our boys quite well and has been preparing his team for us since the Asian Cup. We are sure they will be a much better side than what we have seen in their opening games.”

Sunil Chhetri: “They will play like a unit, they will be aggressive, they will know exactly what they have to do because that’s how Ashley Westwood is. But I think it’s more about us. We are here right in the corner of Saudi Arabia and we really have to bounce back after what happened in the Asian Cup. It’s not going to be easy.”

The Indian skipper has played eight matches against Afghanistan and scored four goals.

Players to watch out for

India: Anwar Ali, Lallianzuala Chhangte, Vikram Partap Singh.

Afghanistan: Amin Nabizada, Sharif Mukhammad, Omid Popalzay.

Kick-off time and Where to Watch:

12:30 AM IST, March 22

Live Streaming: On FanCode

Live Telecast: On DD Sports TV channel

Also Read: Attack in mind, defence worries India against Afghanistan

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