The Qatar World Cup is now less than a fortnight away. The entire football fraternity around the world is getting ready for the month-long bonanza that will take over the beautiful game. It’s the dream of every footballer on earth to represent their country in a World Cup.
The tournament, which is held every four years, is traditionally recognized as the most important football competition in the world. However, due to the timing of this year’s World Cup, some major football players will not be able to make that dream a reality.
With the Qatar World Cup happening in the midst of the European league football season, players are under more pressure than ever before in the history of any of the World Cup editions.
Not just to head into the competition in form, but also to be fit enough to play at the highest level for their nations.
1 – Unfortunately, some well-known stars have suffered injuries due to the hectic, never-ending schedule before the World Cup. The latest victim to it has been this year’s Ballon d’Or runner-up, Sadio Mane.
The Senegalese captain, who played such a huge role to help them qualify for the World Cup, suffered a leg injury that is most likely to keep him out of the tournament.
That is absolutely gutting news for Mane and the entire nation of Senegal, who had hoped for their captain would help them get past their group which also involves the Netherlands, hosts Qatar and Ecuador.
But Mane is just one of the many big names in football that will have to watch the World Cup from home.
France are one of the prominent national teams to have faced the most damning wrath of this unrelenting league schedule, losing some key players before the World Cup.
2 – One of those players is midfielder Paul Pogba – who scored in their 4-2 win over Croatia in the 2018 FIFA World Cup final.
He was also prolific in the entire tournament, helping them control games and add an edge to the attack. Pogba has failed to recover from a knee injury and is unlikely to be picked in the final squad.
3 – N’Golo Kante, their midfield machine, has also been ruled out of the World Cup.
The Chelsea star has been suffering with injury issues all through 2022 and recently underwent surgery on a hamstring injury – ruling him out until 2023.
The Premier League players have faced the hardest brunt of the exhausting schedule, with many suffering gutting injuries before the tournament.
4 – Chelsea defender Reece James, who was expected to be a shoo-in for the right-back role for England in the competition, is set to miss it.
The right back also suffered a knee injury last month and had to undergo surgery. He will not be able to recover in time for the World Cup and is gutted to miss his first chance at playing in the World Cup.
5 – Chelsea’s other full-back, Ben Chilwell, is also going to miss the competition after suffering another injury last week.
6 – Liverpool forward Diogo Jota, who has made himself a key player for Portugal in recent years, also saw his World Cup dreams crushed.
It would’ve been his first edition too, but a serious calf injury that he picked up for the Reds last month has ended his hopes of travelling to Qatar for the tournament.
7 – Germany will also miss some key players for the World Cup, after seeing forward Timo Werner ruled out of the competition following an ankle injury diagnosis earlier this month.
8 – The Leo Messi-led Argentina side will miss hard-working midfielder Giovanni Lo Celso for the tournament after the midfielder fell victim to the schedule by suffering a nasty hamstring injury that ruled him out of the World Cup.
9 – Louis van Gaal’s Netherlands side are going to be without influential midfielder Gini Wijnaldum, who suffered a fractured tibia in training for AS Roma in September and is expected to be out for a few more months.
10 – Mexico, who are often a breath of fresh with their fearless, aggressive side, are going to miss a key forward in Sevilla forward Jesus Corona. The influential no.9 has been ruled out of the World Cup with an ankle injury.
Players who could still miss
There are also some players who might not be available for their country’s opening World Cup games and could miss the entire tournament if unable to regain fitness quickly.
Among these are Belgium’s highest goal-scorer Romelu Lukaku, who suffered a hamstring injury earlier this month.
Germany midfielder Marco Reus is also in a race against time to recover from an ankle injury.
They are also likely to be without talented midfielder Florian Wirtz, who scored 10 goals and provided 14 assists last season. The German midfielder picked up a nasty knee injury and is unlikely to recover before the World Cup.
Juventus star Dusan Vlahovic serves a similar worry for Serbia, while Argentina might not get the services of Paulo Dybala either.
Uruguay, who will be dark horses, are likely to be without their bullish defender Ronald Araujo. He suffered a calf injury in the previous September international break, undergoing surgery for it. While he’s pushing to play in the competition, Araujo is unlikely to regain utmost fitness in time for the matches.
Netherlands’ forward Memphis Depay is also working hard to be available for the World Cup, as is experienced Portugal defender Pepe and Japan star Takehiro Tomiyasu.
In no previous edition of the World Cup have so many big footballing names been out with injury issues.
That’s because the competition takes place in the summer break when players are normally fit and ready after the end of a league season.
The injury pile-up is further evidence that hosting a World Cup in November makes no sense whatsoever.