Sunil Chhetri equals IM Vijayan’s ‘winning’ record in India’s World Cup qualifiers


Sunil Chhetri is now just one goal away from being the highest Indian goalscorer in a winning cause in World Cup qualifiers…

Legendary Indian striker IM Vijayan is currently the highest Indian goalscorer in a winning cause in World Cup qualifiers.

Vijayan, who served the Indian national team for 14 years, appeared in three editions of the World Cup qualifiers (1994, 1998 and 2002) and scored in all three editions where India had won. Four of Vijayan’s goals have, crucially, come in winning causes. 

Current Blue Tigers Sunil Chhetri is second on the list with two goals. Both of his goals came against Nepal in a 2018 World Cup qualifying play-off game in which India had won 2-0.

India still have two matches left against Bangladesh and Afghanistan in the 2022 World Cup qualifiers and Chhetri has a very good chance of surpassing his predecessor Vijayan in this list.

Other than Chhetri, former India internationals Bikash Panji, Jules Alberto and Jo Paul Ancheri also have two goals to their names.

India are yet to register a win in the ongoing 2022 World Cup qualifiers. The last time they won a match in the qualifiers was in November 2015 against Guam in Bengaluru in a 2018 World Cup qualifying game. Robin Singh scored the winner in that tie.

Bhaichung Bhutia, Sunil Chhetri, I.M Vijayan

Top 5 goalscorers in matches which India have won in World Cup Qualifiers

Player Goals Editions
I.M Vijayan 4 1994 (2), 1998, 2002
Sunil Chhetri 4 2018 (2), 2022 (2)
Jo Paul Ancheri 2 2002 (2)
Bikash Panji 2 1986 (2)
Juler Alberto 2 2002

India started their 2022 World Cup qualifying run with a narrow 2-1 defeat at the hands of Oman at home, followed by a historic goalless draw against Asian champions Qatar in Doha.

In their third and fourth matches, the Blue Tigers managed 1-1 draws against both Bangladesh and Afghanistan and then they suffered a 1-0 defeat against Oman away from home. In their sixth match, India went down 0-1 against Qatar in Doha on June 3.

How are India doing in the 2022 World Cup qualifiers?

In their remaining two matches of the group stage, India face Bangladesh On June 7 and then Afghanistan on June 15. All the matches of India’s group are hosted by Qatar.

Igor Stimac, India practice

Current group standings

Teams Matches W D L GD PTS
Qatar 7 6 1 0 +16 19
Oman 5 4 0 1 +7 12
Afghanistan 6 1 2 3 -9 5
India 6 0 3 3 -3 3
Bangladesh 6 0 2 4 -11 2

What happens if India finish fourth or fifth?

If India finish fourth then also they can qualify for the Asian Cup qualifying third round if they finish amongst the four best fourth-placed teams across all groups. The remaining four fourth-placed teams will advance to the Asian Cup qualifying play-off round.

If India finish fifth in the table, then they will have to participate in the Asian Cup Qualifying play-off round. 

Further reading

India’s top goalscorers in World Cup Qualifiers

How to watch Bangladesh vs India

How many points do India need to finish third

How many matches have India won in WCQ



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