India will face Qatar in the Asian qualifiers for the 2022 FIFA World Cup on Thursday. The match at the Jassim Bin Hamad Stadium will be a stern test for Sunil Chhetri and company as they face the Group E leaders.
The last time both sides clashed, the Blue Tigers held Qatar in a goalless draw, one of the best results the side has seen in recent times. However, Igor Stimac’s team has since seen a slump in form. India is out of the reckoning for a Qatar 2022 berth and the wait to be a part of the World Cup goes on.
However, India have been invited to the FIFA World Cup before. In 1950, when the federation held the first tournament post World War II, India was invited but didn’t participate.
Many teams had withdrawn from the 1950 World Cup due to international sanctions and the destruction the war had caused. After Scotland, France, and Czechoslovakia pulled out, the tournament got reduced to 13 teams. There was no participation from Asia and so All India Football Federation (AIFF), after talks with Brazil’s football federation, decided to send the Indian team to the FIFA event. However, the Indian team never showed up.
As per Indiatime reports, FIFA asked the Indian team to compulsorily wear shoes for the World Cup. A majority of the Indian team played barefooted and also represented the country in the 1948 Olympics. The demand by FIFA did not sit well with the AIFF and hence the team did not participate.