The Indian men's football team will begin their quest for qualification to the 2026 FIFA World Cup as they take on Kuwait in the second round of qualifiers here on Thursday.
The Blue Tigers have never advanced to the third round of AFC's FIFA World Cup qualifiers but a changed format coupled with their impressive show in 2023, gives Igor Stimac's side a chance to create history. But a solid start to the campaign will be key given the close competition in Group A.
India are the higher-ranked team in this fixture but Kuwait proved in the SAFF Championship that they can go toe-to-toe with the Blue Tigers after the two sides played out two draws in the competition.
Sunil Chhetri and Co prevailed over Kuwait in the final on penalties but will face a different kind of challenge with Kuwait enjoying the home advantage.
India vs Kuwait: Why is the encounter important?
India are placed in Group A alongside Asian champions Qatar, Kuwait and Afghanistan with the top two from the group progressing to the third round of the FIFA World Cup qualifiers. The top two teams from each group will also secure qualification for the 2027 AFC Asian Cup.
Qatar's presence means India should realistically look to grab second place in the group, for which a victory over Kuwait is a must.
India vs Kuwait: When and where will the match take place?
The high-stakes game will kick-off at 10:00 PM IST on Thursday at the Jaber al-Ahmad International Stadium.
India vs Kuwait: How to watch the football match in India?
The FIFA World Cup 2026 qualifying match will be live-streamed on the Sony LIV app and website.
Subscription-based mobile app FanCode, available on both Android and iOS, will also stream the match.
India vs Kuwait: Playing XI
India (Probable XI): Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, Naorem Mahesh Singh, Sunil Chhetri, Lallianzuala Chhangte, Nikhil Poojary, Akash Mishra, Sandesh Jhingan, Rohit Kumar, Suresh Singh Wangjam, Sahal Abdul Samad, Mehtab Singh
Kuwait (Probable XI): Abd Al Rahman Kameel, Abdullah Al Fahad, Mubarak Al Faneni, Fahad Al Hajeri, Shabaib Al Khaldi, Mohammad Daham, Mohsen Falah, Hamad Al Harbi, Reda Hani, Athbi Shehab, Faisal Zaid Al Harbi