Pakistan face stiff test in qualifier against Tajikistan | The Express Tribune


Pakistan will take on Tajikistan in the 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifiers round two match at Jinnah Stadium on Tuesday.

This will be Pakistan’s second match in the second round after they played Saudi Arabia in their away leg on November 16 in which they lost 4-0 after a solid effort put together by the team.

The second round of the World Cup qualifiers is also serving as the qualifying round for the Asian Cup and the Pakistan Head Coach Stephen Constantine has been clear about his expectations from a team that has been brave against Cambodia in the first round and then Roberto Mancini’s Saudi Arabia.

Constantine feels that the country will focus on qualifying for Asian Cup, but the World Cup qualifiers are going to help build the side.

Pakistan has faced Tajikistan twice before

Pakistan’s former national team midfielder Muhammad Adil said that it will be a closer competition against Tajikistan.

“I feel if we go with the same spirit that we showed against Saudi Arabia we can even win this match,” Adil told The Express Tribune.

“We can lose too, it’ll be 50/50 but not with a great margin.

We must keep it in mind that Tajikistan has sports culture that supports football, their club-level football is very competitive as well. They are a good team.”

The Green Shirts made history in October when they won their first World Cup qualifiers. They defeated Cambodia 1-0 on aggregate, playing a goalless draw in the away leg and then they won home leg courtesy the winner by Harun Hamid.

Constantine and Tajikistan Coach Petar Šegrt hello press conferences in Islamabad on Monday while the teams had their training sessions as well.

As for the crowds, Adil is predicting a bigger one than the one that came to watch the Cambodia match.

“I think there will be more people at the stadium than what we saw against Cambodia. I know many who are traveling from all over the country just to watch this match,” he said.

The former FC Dordoi player added that the Paakistan Football Federation Normalisation Committee helping Pakistani team greatly.

“The NC is taking great steps to ensure Pakistan plays international games and we play they well. I do think that they will have friendlies before the next fixture that is in March,” said Adil.

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