Indian football team has never participated in the FIFA World Cup till now as India’s World Cup qualification scenario has been a matter of debate in the last few decades.
Over the years Indian football has seen its ups and downs but representing the country on football’s bigger stage hasn’t happened as India seems to be lacking much behind its contemporaries.
Indian Super League and I-league have managed to elevate the level of football in the nation but the hierarchy has struggled to find the right combination. Proper training has been facilitated for all the Indian players and the management has also arranged some matches against higher ranked opponents in the last couple of years.
India returned empty handed every time they faced quality opponents in the World Cup qualifiers and they need to shrug off the difficulties as it takes a lot to find eleven odd players from a country of a billion people.
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So how many times India qualified for the World Cup? Let’s find it out.
How many times India qualified for the World Cup: Indian Football team in World Cup Qualifiers
|2002||First Round Qualifier|
|2006||Second Round Qualifier|
|2010||First Round Qualifier|
|2014||Second Round Qualifier|
|2018||Second Round Qualifier|
|2022||Second Round Qualifier|
Indian football team did manage to qualify for the 1950 World Cup as the other three teams Indonesia, Myanmar and the Philippines decided to withdraw from the World Cup qualifiers and India had the chance to compete in the competition.
But due to the financial crunch, the All India Football Federation couldn’t manage to send the Blue Tigers to Brazil. Despite being one of the most prominent sides back at that time India have not been very regular in the World Cup qualifiers. Another point appeared to be that the Indian players used to play barefoot football and FIFA won’t have allowed them without proper kits and boots.
The Indian team dominated Asia and won gold in the Asian Games in 1951 and 1962 and also had to taste a defeat in the final of the AFC Asian Cup against Israel. Indian football fans have been deprived of World Cup action but with the focus entirely on developing the structure and players, the moment could come very soon.
Indian football team made themselves available for the 1986 Mexico World Cup but couldn’t get past the hurdles and had to be satisfied with a second place finish just behind Indonesia. The men in blue didn’t take part in the 1990 World Cup qualifiers but came back for the 1994 World Cup qualifiers.
It turned out to be a disappointing outing for the Indian team as they were pitted against Bahrain, South Korea, Lebanon and Hong Kong. Barring a win against Hong Kong they failed to show any intent in the qualification campaigns.
In the 1998 World Cup qualifiers, the Blue Tigers faced Qatar, Sri Lanka and the Philippines in the qualifying round and the outcome was pretty the same as they couldn’t get past these sides and India finished
In 2002 the World Cup was held in Asia as Japan and South Korea jointly hosted the World Cup. India finished third as they were against Brunei, Yemen and the United Arab Emirates in that group and again faltered to make it to the World Cup finals.
In 2006, India were given a chance in the second round of qualifiers as they had Japan, Oman and Singapore alongside them and they again occupied the third spot and crashed out of the qualifiers.
A new seeding rule took place in the 2010 World Cup and the Indian national football team had to beat mighty Lebanon in the first round of the World cup qualifiers. But the Indian side was badly thrashed 6-3 and the Blue Tigers failed to grind it out once again.
In the 2014 Brazil World Cup Qualifiers, they faced United Arab Emirates in the second round of qualifiers and had a tough time on the pitch as they failed to make it count. In the two legged affairs, they lost 5-2 in aggregate and had another chance wasted for their qualification.
In 2018 Indian team defeated Nepal in the first round to advance to the second qualifying round. They were grouped with Oman, Guam, Iran and Turkmenistan and they managed just one win against Guam and didn’t do justice to their potential.
The road to the 2022 Qatar World Cup campaign also fell flat as the Indian national team Finished third in the campaign behind Qatar and Oman which was also the joint qualifiers for the 2023 AFC Asian Cup qualifiers.
What is the current FIFA ranking of the Indian football team?
India is placed 104th on the FIFA ranking currently.
Has India qualified for the 2022 FIFA World Cup?
India has failed to qualify for the 2022 World Cup which is set to be held in Qatar.