The India national football team has participated in nine editions of FIFA World Cup qualifications. The Indian Men's Football Team experienced their first taste of World Cup Qualifying matches in 1985 for the 1986 FIFA World Cup. Their debut match in the qualifying round resulted in a 2-1 loss against Indonesia. So far, India has played 48 World Cup qualifiers and won 10 games. Their most successful campaign was the 2002 World Cup Qualifiers, where the Blue Tigers earned 11 points in six games.
Raman Vijayan and Bruno Coutinho scored two goals in the last 10 minutes of the match in Doha, Qatar. Vijayan scored in the 81st minute and Coutinho in the 85th minute. Bhaichung Bhutia was replaced by Gurinder Gill in the 28th minute. Raman Vijayan was the other replacement in the Indian team. He replaced Basudeb Mondal in the 62nd minute and scored in the 81st minute to give his team the lead. Despite winning the match, their 1-1 draw against Sri Lanka and a 0-6 loss to Qatar knocked India out of the contention.
India defeated the United Arab Emirates in the first match of the group. Jules Alberto Dias scored the winner for India. He scored in the 72nd to clinch the victory. Deepak Mondal, Mahesh Gawli, Renedi Singh, Joe Paul Anchery, and Bhaichung Bhutia started in that match. In the next match, India drew 1-1 with Yemen, and UAE also avenged it by winning 1-0 at home. India drew 3-3 with Yemen in the return fixture once again. In the end, they beat Brunei in two consecutive matches but could not do anything. Yemen were second and India was third on the points table in terms of goal difference. None advanced to the next round.
This is India's biggest win in the World Cup qualifiers. Dias scored the first goal in the 12th minute. IM Vijayan then extended the lead in the 24th minute. Bhaichung Bhutia increased the lead by 3 in the 36th minute, and Ancheri scored the fourth goal in the 61st minute. Hakim Abdul put the cherry on the top by scoring the fifth goal in the 80th minute.
India were in a tough group with Japan, Oman, and Singapore. In the first match of the qualifying round, India defeated Singapore. India won the match at the Fatorda Stadium in Goa after Renedy Singh scored the winner in the 50th minute. In their next match in Kochi, they lost 1-5 to Oman and 7-0 to Japan. Japan won the return match also by 4-0. They won the return match 0-2 against Singapore again and drew goalless against Oman. India conceded 18 goals in six matches which was enough to knock them out.
It was a big success for the Indian team to restrict The World Cup host country Qatar to a goalless draw. Qatar were the Champions of the 2019 AFC Asian Cup. So, It was a big deal for a team like India to get a point from that match. India were coming into the match after losing 2-1 to Oman. They also drew against Bangladesh and Afghanistan in that phase. It was these results that knocked them out of the fight for a place in the third round. However, India's defense restricted Qatar from scoring. Goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu's goalkeeping amazed the fans as he won the man of the match award by saving 11 inevitable goals in that match.