Pre-world cup qualifier 2018: India vs Oman – Match Preview

Sudipta / 10 June 2015

India is going to host Oman in Bangalore in the second round of first world cup pre-qualifier of 2018 in Kanteerava stadium on June 11 following their first round victory over Nepal 2-0 on aggregate, whereas the gulf country Oman will lock horns with India following their 2-1 international friendly loss to Syria. As it will be the first qualifier game for both teams we will analyse the tactical aspect before going into match to be held on Thursday.

                             FIFA Ranking: Oman 101, India 141

                                        Head to Head record

                                        Total match played: 4

                                         Wins: India 1, Oman 2

                                                   Draw: 1

                                       Goal: India 6, Oman 11



The Red Warriors have adhered short passing style under the French coach and midfielders provide the ball to the strikers and even they add flare to the attack with their incisive runs. The full-backs come in attack to create space for forwards.  


The Blue Tigers like Oman play the game of keeping the ball on ground. But, as of now with new coach at helm they will adopt a new style of play mixing the passing and aerial ball, and that will depend on match situations. British coach who has previous experience with the Indian team has a knack of playing pressing football where two wingers from left and right flank will be assisted by midfield. And the strikers will not have dearth of ball supply to keep the opposition goalie busy.



It was evident during the 2015 Asia Cup that Oman can’t endure physical play. As I mention they enjoy playing passing football, so they got frustrated when opposition ploy long ball against their passing football. During the Asia Cup Australia bruised Oman with their rough physical play. On the other hand they looked comfortable against South Korea, whose style of play is no different from Oman. Though, they lost the match to South Korea 1-0. Eventually they were ousted from the continental tournament as they finish third behind eventual winner Australia and South Korea.


Under the new British coach Stephen Constantine a young team will play their third match following their world cup pre qualifier win over Nepal. During the pre qualifier India managed to win only at home, as they were held to a scoreless draw in the second leg in Nepal. Along with that this team has not much experience of playing together, so they can find it difficult against the Asia Cup playing team Oman. Meanwhile, India do not have much experience of playing international friendly that could also be a problem against the much organised team Oman under the tutelage of high profile French coach Paul le Guen.  



The Oman coach Paul le Guen usually employs 4-3-3 formation, but during the 2015 Asian Cup he adopted much 4-2-3-1 formation. So, which formation he would deploy for the India match will have to be seen.


As it was seen during the Nepal match, India adopted traditional 4-4-2 formation. Stephen Constantine, who is known as “St Jude of football” for choosing less glamorous job in football, said “The 4-4-2″ is the mother of all formations. So for me the system is not as important as the players in the system.”

Key players:


Abdul Aziz Al Muqbali: The 26 year old striker is the only man to have scored a goal in Asia cup which was a disappointing journey for the Gulf nation. This man is a potent threat to India. The Indian defense should be wary about this man.

Ahmed “Kano” Mubarak: The 30 year old defensive midfielder is the most experienced player in the Oman’s squad with 122 appearances keeps the things in control. He can add flare in attack if required and has skill to score from set-piece.   

Ali Al Habsi: One can’t ignore former Wigan Athletics custodian Ali Al Habsi will take care of the goal for Oman against India. He will be the man to beat if India really wants to earn the full point from the match.   


Sunil Chhetri: The thirty year old Indian striker who scored a brace in India’s victory over Nepal in Guwahati leg. He could be real weapon for India to snatch away the match from Oman as his incisive runs in the box and defense rattling shot will keep the Oman defense in check.

Subrata Paul: The Indian custodian had bad I-League session with Salgoacar FC, though he will be first choice for the match instead of Gurpreet Singh Sandhu of Stabeak FC as he is known for his reflex action skills.       

Sandesh Jhingan: The young defender from Punjab has earned a lot of accolades during his ISL sojourn with Kerala Blasters. He impressed football pundits with his hard tackling and marking ability. India coach Stephen Constantine awarded him debut against Nepal. His understanding with newly appointed caption Arnab Mandal at the defense cordon will be crucial for India.


Paul le Guen: The 51 year old French man has been in charge Omanis National football team since 2011. His best achievement with Oman till now is masterminding Oman’s Asia Cup qualification in 2015 after a eight years of dismal run.

The former Ranger and Paris Saint Germaine gaffer also was the Cameroon during the 2010 world cup. In 2014 Oman finished fourth in the Gulf cup under his tutelage.  

Stephen Constantine: Unlike Paul le Guen, this British has distinction of coaching the football team of lower ranked football nations. Because of his knack of handling lesser known team in football world he is known as “St Jude of football.”  Before joining AIFF for the second time after a three year stint from 2002 to 2005, he had been managing Rwanda, lifting the African nation to an outstanding FIFA ranking of 68.   

Kanteerava stadium: India coach Stephen Constantine chooses this stadium specially for this match, citing weather conditions and modern facilities available at the Bangalore FC home ground. On the other hand Oman coach was found not happy with the ground, he said “Team manager Mohammed Al Alawi had visited the Sree Kanteerava stadium ground recently found the surface uneven and bumpy, and that worries me.”    

As seen during BFC I-League match the stadium was full, so it is expected that the home fans will once again fill everyone corner of the stadium to support their national team. So, hot and humid conditions in Bangalore will not be a problem for Omanis team as they are also accustomed with conditions but the roaring will be.

Predicted Eleven


Goal-Keeper: Ali Al Habsi(c)

Defense: Al-Busaidi,  Al Musalami, Salam Amur, Ali Salim

Midfield: Eid Mohammed, Ahmed Kano

Forward: Raed Ibrahim, Al Hosini, Qasim Said, Al Muqbali


Goal-Keeper: Subrata Paul

Defense: Sandesh Jhingan, Arnab Mondal (c), Dhanachandra Singh, Gurwindar Singh

Midfield: Jackichand Singh, Kavin Lobo, Eugeneson Lyngdoh, C.K. Vineeth    

Forward: Sunil Chhetri, Robin Singh



Time & Date: IST 19:00 & Thursday, June 11 

Channel: Sony Six


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