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No, Indian Football Team Has Not Qualified for 2026 FIFA World Cup Yet

Both images are unrelated. Indian football team has played only one match in the World Cup Qualifiers till now.

3 min read
No, Indian Football Team Has Not Qualified for 2026 FIFA World Cup Yet
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A collage of two images is being shared on social media platforms with users claiming that Indian football team has qualified for the 2026 FIFA World Cup.

  • While the first image shows a recreation of a newspaper, the other shows the Indian team posing for a picture.

An archive of the post can be found here.

(Source: Facebook/Screenshot)

The post had around 24,000 likes on Facebook at the time this report was being written.

(Archives of similar claims can be found here, here, and here.)

What is the truth?: The viral claim is false. Indian football team has not yet qualified for the World Cup.

  • The first image was taken in October 2019, when India was playing against Bangladesh in Kolkata during the 2022 World Cup and 2023 AFC Asian Cup qualifying football match.

  • The second one could be traced back to at least June 2022.


Has India qualified for the World Cup?: No, not yet. India is currently playing in the second round of the Qualifiers and has to finish in the top two in their group to qualify for the third round.

  • India is placed alongside Kuwait, Afghanistan, and Qatar in a group. The Indian team defeated Kuwait in an away game by 1-0 on 17 November and is scheduled to play against Qatar on Tuesday, 21 November.

  • The qualifications to the 2026 FIFA World Cup will only commence from the third round.

Where's the first image from?: We performed a reverse image search on the first image and came across the same one uploaded on a stock image website named 'Getty Images'.

  • The image was uploaded in 2019 and its caption mentioned that Indian supporters were seen waving a banner during the 2022 World Cup and 2023 AFC Asian qualifying football match.

  • The match took place between India and Bangladesh at the Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan in West Bengal's Kolkata on 15 October 2019.

The image was created on 15 October 2019.

(Source: Getty Images/Screenshot)

About the second image: A Google Lens search directed us to a report published in June 2022 that carried the same image.

  • It said that the Indian team qualified for the finals of 2023 AFC Asian Cup. The team defeated Hong Kong by 4-0 in Kolkata to finish on the top of the standings in Group D.

  • The image was attributed to All India Football Federation (AIFF).

The report was last updated on 15 June 2022.

(Source: The Quint/Screenshot)

Further, Team WebQoof found the same image uploaded on the official Facebook handle of Indian Football Team.

Conclusion: It is clear that two old and unrelated images are being shared on the internet to falsely claim that the Indian football team has qualified for the World Cup.

(Not convinced of a post or information you came across online and want it verified? Send us the details on WhatsApp at 9540511818, or e-mail it to us at and we'll fact-check it for you. You can also read all our fact-checked stories here.)

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Topics:  FIFA   Fact Check   Indian Football Team 

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