Bhubaneswar to host India’s FIFA World Cup 2026 qualifiers

Bhubaneswar to host India's initial two home matches in the FIFA World Cup 2026 Preliminary Joint Qualification Round 2.

Bhubaneswar: The All India Football Federation (AIFF) has officially designated Bhubaneswar and Guwahati as the host cities for India’s initial two home matches in the FIFA World Cup 2026 and AFC Asian Cup 2027 Preliminary Joint Qualification Round 2. This announcement underscores India’s commitment to international football and the enthusiastic support it receives from football aficionados across the nation.

India finds itself in Group A of the Asian qualifiers, sharing the group with formidable opponents, including Qatar, Kuwait, and the victors of the Preliminary Joint Qualification Round 1, featuring Afghanistan and Mongolia.

The Blue Tigers will embark on their journey with an away fixture in Kuwait on November 16, 2023, followed by a highly anticipated home clash against reigning AFC Asian Cup champions Qatar. The match against Qatar will take place at the iconic Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar on November 21.

In the subsequent year, India is slated to face back-to-back encounters with either Afghanistan or Mongolia. The first leg will be an away fixture on March 21, 2024, while the return match will be hosted at the Indira Gandhi Stadium in Guwahati on March 26, 2024.

AIFF Secretary General Shaji Prabhakaran expressed his congratulations to the Football Association of Odisha and Assam Football Association for successfully securing the hosting rights for these crucial matches. He also extended his best wishes for the flawless execution of these fixtures, with support from the respective state governments.

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