Stellar Performances Propel India to Top 100 FIFA World Rankings

Zürich: India has made a remarkable comeback in the FIFA Men’s World Rankings, securing a spot in the top 100 teams. Following an impressive performance in June, including five wins and two draws in tournaments such as the Intercontinental Cup and the SAFF Championship, the Indian national team gained 4.24 ranking points. This achievement places them at the 100th position globally and 18th in the Asian Football Confederation (AFC).

The rise in rankings is of great significance for India, as it affects the upcoming draw for the World Cup qualifiers. With Lebanon losing one ranking point due to their defeat against India in the Intercontinental Cup final, India is expected to be placed in Pot 2 during the draw, while Lebanon drops to Pot 3. This positioning provides India with a favourable advantage and potentially avoids facing stronger teams in the qualifiers.

The crucial 2-0 victory over Lebanon in the Intercontinental Cup final, with goals from Sunil Chhetri and Lallianzuala Chhangte, greatly influenced India’s ranking. Prior to these matches, it was emphasized that India needed to win all scheduled games against Lebanon, and they have successfully achieved this so far under the guidance of coach Igor Stimac.

Advantage of Pot 2 in World Cup Qualifiers Draw

Being in Pot 2 for the World Cup qualifiers draw signifies that India would be the lowest-ranked team in this pot. Consequently, they would avoid facing any other teams from Pot 2 during the qualifiers. In simple terms, this means that India would not have to contend with eight of the seventeen higher-ranked Asian nations in the second round of qualifiers.

The second round of World Cup qualifiers will consist of nine groups, each comprising four teams. Two teams from each group will advance to the third round. If India remains in Pot 2, they would be considered the favourites to progress to the next round based on rankings. The top two teams from each group in the third round of qualifiers, which will consist of three groups of six teams each, will directly qualify for the 2026 FIFA World Cup in the USA, Canada, and Mexico. Additional playoffs will determine the fate of other teams.

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