2026 FIFA WC qualifiers: Video of fans chanting Vande Mataram surfaces after India's 0-3 defeat to Qatar
India displayed resilience but endured a 0-3 defeat against the dominant Asian champions Qatar in their second match of the 2026 FIFA World Cup second-round qualifiers on Tuesday.
India displayed resilience but faced a 0-3 defeat against the formidable Asian champions Qatar in their second match of the 2026 FIFA World Cup second-round qualifiers on Tuesday. Despite Qatar's dominance throughout the 90 minutes at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar, their margin of victory could have been larger if not for missed opportunities. The visiting team secured goals from Moustafa Tarek Mashal in the 4th minute, Almeoz Ali in the 47th, and Yusuf Adurisag in the 86th.
India, hoping to draw inspiration from their memorable 0-0 stalemate against the same opponents four years ago, struggled to generate scoring opportunities. Although they had a couple of chances towards the end of the first half, they were unable to capitalize on them.
Under Igor Stimac's guidance, the team remains in the running for a second-place finish in Group A, with a chance to qualify for the third round, following their 1-0 victory over Kuwait in an away match on November 16.
Following the clash several videos of Indian fans rooting for the Blue Tigers with chants of Vande Mataram went viral on X. Here's a look at some of the viral videos:
During the clash, the Indian defence faced an early setback, conceding a goal in the fourth minute of the match.
Following a corner, three Qatar players executed precise passes within the Indian box, eluding any contact from the home side defenders. Moustafa Tarek Mashal capitalized on the situation, delivering a low right-footed shot that left goalkeeper Amrinder Singh, selected by Igor Stimac in place of Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, helpless.
Despite Qatar's dominance, Akram Afif missed three scoring opportunities, allowing India to go into halftime with just a one-goal deficit. Afif was off target in the second minute, facing only the Indian goalkeeper. His inaccuracies continued in the 14th, 22nd, and 26th minutes, failing to find the target on each occasion.
Amrinder denied Mashal's attempt at a free header, keeping India in the game despite the early setback.
Facing adversity, India sought opportunities on the counter, and they had two promising chances, with the second one offering the chance to level the score. Udanta Singh and Anirudh Thapa displayed a neat exchange of one-touch passes, but Lalengmawia Ralte couldn't guide his shot accurately from the edge of the box.
In the final moments of the first half, Thapa had another chance to equalize, finding himself with only Qatar goalkeeper Meshaal Barsham to beat after a defensive error. However, Thapa's shot lacked power, missing the post by a considerable margin.
Any hopes of a first-half fightback from India were thwarted as Qatar extended their lead early in the second half (47th minute) through prolific striker Almeoz Ali, who had previously scored four goals in Qatar's 8-1 victory over Afghanistan.
In the 63rd minute, Thapa was substituted, and Sahal Abdul Samad took his place. Shortly after the substitution, Suresh Singh delivered an excellent pass to find Samad inside the Qatar box. However, Samad's left-footed shot, two minutes later, veered wide of the far post.
As the match entered the 86th minute, Qatar solidified their lead with a goal from Yusuf Adurisag, who headed home after connecting with a cross from Mohammed Albayati, making it 3-0.
Looking ahead, India is scheduled to face Afghanistan in their 2026 World Cup qualifiers match at the neutral venue of Dushanbe, Tajikistan, on March 21 next year.