The Indian Football team takes on Nepal in the 1st Round return leg of the 2018 World Cup preliminary qualification. India will not only look to win but also try to climb up to a possible 133rd rank in FIFA rankings. India find themselves playing the preliminary qualification because of the poor Asian ankings(36). However, a two-leg aggregate win over Nepal will help India be part of the 34 teams in the next stage.
Round 1: India gets two goal advantage
Playing at home, India bagged the win thanks to a second half brace from captain Sunil Chhetri. The hosts won the match 2-0 with much of an advantage going into the second round of the preliminary qualifiers. After an average first half that failed to produce a goal, India looked purposeful after the break and took the lead in the 53rd minute and doubled their lead shortly therafter. Post these two goals there were frequent attempts by Nepal, but the Indian football team held on to a 2-0 lead to seal victory in the first round.
All to play for in Round 2:
A win against the neighbours will not only guarantee entry to next round but will also help India climb to 133rd rank in FIFA rankings- 40 places up from their current 173rd spot.
There is more, the Indian football team will also qualify for the Second round of the 2019 Asian Cup. Coach Stephen Constantine will be keen to capitalize on the opportunity that will land India a favourable draw and opportunities to play the next round. Nepal host India in the Second Round on 17th March, 2015.