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Sunday, July 21, 2024

Bhubaneswar, Guwahati to host India’s first two World Cup Qualifiers


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New Delhi: The All India Football Federation announced on Saturday Bhubaneswar and Guwahati as the venues for the first two home matches of India in the FIFA World Cup 2026 and AFC Asian Cup 2027 Preliminary Joint Qualification Round 2.

India have been drawn in Group A of the Asian qualifiers, alongside Qatar, Kuwait, and the winners of the preliminary joint qualification round 1 fixture between Afghanistan and Mongolia.

The Blue Tigers will open their campaign against Kuwait with an away fixture on November 16, 2023, before hosting reigning AFC Asian Cup champions Qatar at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar on November 21, 2023, the All India Football Federation sources said.

The following year, India will play back-to-back matches against Afghanistan or Mongolia, starting with the away fixture on March 21, 2024, and then returning home to the Indira Gandhi Stadium in Guwahati, where they will play the second leg of the fixture on March 26, 2024.

AIFF Secretary General Dr. Shaji Prabhakaran said after the announcement, “We would like to congratulate the Football Association of Odisha and the Assam Football Association on successfully bidding for the hosting rights of the aforementioned matches and wish them all the success in delivering the said matches at a world-class level with the support of the respective state governments.”

The hosts for India’s home leg against Kuwait on June 6, 2024, will be confirmed at a later date.

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