The India national football team will lock horns with Afghanistan in their third match of the FIFA World Cup 2026 qualifiers second round campaign at Damac Stadium in Khamis Mushait, Saudi Arabia. 

The Group A IND vs AFG match will start at 12:30 AM Indian Standard Time (IST) on Friday, March 22.

Led by their talismanic captain Sunil Chhetri, India will look to bounce back after succumbing to a 0-3 defeat against two-time Asian champions Qatar in their previous FIFA World Cup 2026 AFC qualifying game at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar in November.

Earlier, the Igor Stimac-coached Blue Tigers started their FIFA World Cup 2026 AFC qualifying campaign with an impressive 1-0 win over hosts Kuwait at the Jaber Al-Ahmad International Stadium.

With three points from two matches, India are currently placed third in the Group A standings.

After a disappointing AFC Asian Cup 2023 campaign, India have dropped to 117th in the FIFA men’s rankings.

On the other hand, the Afghanistan national football team has lost both their matches in the ongoing FIFA World Cup 2026 AFC qualifiers.

Afghanistan began their FIFA World Cup 2026 qualifiers campaign with a 1-8 thrashing against Qatar before losing 0-4 to Kuwait.

Currently placed 158th in the FIFA men’s rankings, Afghanistan are languishing at the bottom of the Group A standings.

The top two teams from the group will qualify for the third qualifying round of the FIFA World Cup 2026 to be held in three North American countries: Canada, Mexico, and the United States. They will also earn a direct entry in the AFC Asian Cup 2027 to be held in Saudi Arabia.

India’s national football team squad vs Afghanistan

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

India vs Afghanistan football head-to-head

India have a dominant head-to-head record against Afghanistan in international football. The Blue Tigers have won seven of the 11 matches while Afghanistan have registered just a solitary victory. As many as three matches have ended in draws.

The last time these two sides met, India beat Afghanistan 2-1 in an AFC Asian Cup 2023 qualifiers match at the Salt Lake Stadium in Kolkata in June 2022. Sunil Chhetri and Sahal Abdul Samad were on the scoresheet for the Blue Tigers.

Where to watch India vs Afghanistan FIFA World Cup 2026 qualifiers live 

Live streaming of the India vs Afghanistan FIFA World Cup 2026 qualifiers second round match will be available on the FanCode app and website in India.

The India vs Afghanistan FIFA World Cup 2026 qualifiers match will be telecast live on DD Sports.

Photo credit: Alamy