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Igor Stimac sacked from Indian football team's coaching role after end of FIFA World Cup 2026 dreams

India's FIFA World Cup 2026 dream ended after their defeat against Qatar in the second-round qualifiers. The Blue Tigers were posied to enter into the third round of the qualifiers for the first time but they fell short at the end.

Edited By: Varun Malik @varunm0212 New Delhi Updated on: June 17, 2024 20:47 IST
Igor Stimac.
Image Source : GETTY Igor Stimac.

The All Indian Football Federation on Monday sacked the current Indian head coach Igor Stimach from his post after India's FIFA World Cup dream ended. 

"Noting the disappointing outcome of the Senior Men’s National Team’s FIFA World Cup 2026 qualification campaign, the members unanimously agreed that a new Head Coach would be best placed to take the team forward," said AIFF in an official statement.

"A notice of termination has been issued to Mr. Stimac by the AIFF Secretariat, and he stands relieved of his obligations with immediate effect," it added.

The Indian men's team had a chance to create history by reaching into the third round of the qualifiers for the first time in its history. But a goalless draw against Kuwait and a defeat against Qatar pushed the Blue Tigers down from second place to third. 

The Indians needed a win in their final match against Qatar. They had never beaten them and had never scored a goal against the Asian powerhouse. But Lallianzuala Chhangte's 37th-minute goal injected hope into the Indian camp. But the AFC Asian Cup champions stormed back. They scored a controversial 73rd-minute goal when Yousef Aymen netted a ball that seemingly went out of play. Ahmed Al-Raw then scored the winner in the 85th minute. Notably, India were stunned by Afghanistan as the Blue Tigers went down to the lower-ranked side by 2-1.

Stimac took charge as the Indian men's team coach on May 15 2019, helping the team win several trophies in his tenure. The Blue Tigers won two SAFF Championships, one Intercontinental Cup and a Tri-Nations Series under Stimac. He is also the first Indian coach to win three trophies in the same year. This was achieved when the Blue Tigers won the SAFF Championship, Tri-Nations Series and the Intercontinental Cup in 2023.

Stimac had said that he would part ways with the Indian team if he failed to take them into the third round of the Qualifiers. Stimac and his support staff members were handed extensions last year. If the Blue Tigers would have reached the next round of the Qualifiers, his contract would have been extended till 2028.

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