India sacks football head coach after World Cup hopes dashed

Stimac was appointed coach in 2019.

Igor Stimac with former Indian footballer Sunil Chettri / X/stimac_igor

New Delhi, India- India's head coach Igor Stimac has been sacked after the team's poor performance in World Cup qualifiers, the football federation said June 17.

India's 2-1 defeat to Qatar earlier this month dashed their dreams of reaching the third round of the Asian qualifiers for the World Cup for the first time. India ended third in the group, behind Kuwait and Qatar.

"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," the All India Football Federation (AIFF) said in a statement.

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

After India's defeat to Qatar, Stimac condemned what he called an "irregular" goal.

India had scored in the first half and were on course for a footballing landmark until Youssef Ayman equalised in the 73rd minute.

The goal was hugely controversial, with some television replays appearing to show that the ball had gone out of play just beforehand. India's players, some of whom had stopped in the belief the ball had gone out, vehemently protested.

But with VAR technology not in use, the goal stood. Asian champions Qatar, who had already qualified for the next round, scored the winner five minutes before the end to seal India's fate.










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