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India get tough draw for 2018 FIFA WC qualifiers

India get tough draw for 2018 FIFA WC qualifiers
Indian football team has been drawn in a tough group alongside top Asian nation Iran, Oman, Turkmenistan and Guam for the second phase of qualifying for the 2018 FIFA World Cup. The draw took place on Tuesday in Kuala Lumpur.

Iran is the top-ranked team in the Asian Football Confederation at 40th in FIFA charts, while Oman is ranked 97 in Group D. India, courtesy their 26-place jump to 147 in the latest world rankings, were placed in Pot 3. India had made the leap after defeating Nepal 2-0 on aggregate in the first round of qualifiers for the showpiece event in Russia.

India will play the four teams at home and away. The Asian qualifying competition begins on June 11, 2015 and runs until March 29, 2016. The countries that finish top of the eight groups and the four best second-placed teams will progress to the third and final qualification phase for the World Cup in Russia.

They will also qualify for the 2019 Asian Cup in the UAE.India play their first match at home against Oman on June 11, while the second game is slated for June 16 away against Guam. National team coach Stephen Constantine said all the matches would be extremely difficult. “One doesn’t need to explain the strength of Iran and Oman.

Iran are the highest ranked Asian country while Oman are a very strong side. Regardless of the FIFA rankings, I am aware of the difficulties of playing against Turkmenistan and Guam. Guam, in fact, have made tremendous progress in the last two years under a fellow English coach. It’s a tough draw but it’s always better to be in the draw than out of it, and we will do all what is possible to get a result,” he said.

India’s matches
June 11, 2015: India vs Oman
June 16: Guam vs India
September 8: India vs Iran
October 8: Turkmenistan vs India
October 13: Oman vs India
November 12: India vs Guam
March 24: Iran vs India
March 29: India vs Turkmenistan

PTI

PTI

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