World Cup 2022: Injuries prevent several national team stars from participating in the World Cup in Qatar
- Muhammad Hamdar
- BBC News
The European Championship games only stopped in the last week before kick-off in the first World Cup game on November 20th. Fans anxiously watched their favorite players, fearing injuries that could keep them out of the World Cup. This concern was also reflected on the players’ faces when they sustained injuries on the pitch. However, caution could not prevent the damage as reports confirmed the injury and non-participation of more than one key and essential player in the competing teams.
Until the end of last week, the national players taking part in the World Cup and their teams played tricky and intense games. Some of them were decisive and important, such as those that took place as part of qualifying from the Champions League groups, or in the intense competition for the first places in the list of local tournaments.
While some assumed that the continuation of the tournaments would spare the teams the preparatory training camps for the World Cup because the players would be physically fit before the start of the finals in Qatar, others expressed the fear that the players would suffer injuries as a result prevent them from participating in the World Cup.
However, the lack of time caused by the coincidence of the date of this edition of the World Cup with winter prevented a decision to stop the local tournaments at least a month before they started.
Who are the main faces that kept injuries away from the World Cup in Qatar?
In France, the Moroccan international forward was due to play his final game with his Marseille side against Monaco before entering World Cup action. However, he was badly injured during the game and left the field with the injury, so the next day the news of his non-participation with Morocco in the Qatar World Cup broke.
A few days before Sunday’s game, Harith posted a picture of the Moroccan national team on Twitter, expressing his pride at belonging to the ranks of the “Atlas Lions”.
In addition to defender Persnel Kimpembe, other stars such as French midfielders Ngolo Kante and Paul Pogba have also been cursed with injuries before the World Cup.
Liverpool’s Portuguese striker Diogo Jota and Portugal left winger Pedro Neto are absent.
And it has been confirmed that Chelsea right-back Reece James is absent from the England national team, Germany international and Leipzig striker Timo Werner and German Dortmund midfielder Marco Reus.
Key names also set to miss the World Cup include Argentinian Giovanni Lo Celso, Brazilian midfielder Artur Melo and Aston Villa defender Diego Carlos. Alongside Mexico international and Spanish club Sevilla, striker Jesus Manuel Corona and Dutchman Jorginho Wijnaldum.
Wait until the last moment
Sporting News has published a list of players whose health is monitored day by day and some of them are still included in the list of players participating in the World Cup, including star Sadio Mane, current Bayern Munich striker and former Liverpool.
There is also anticipation for Belgium striker Romlu Lukaku and French magazine ‘L’Equipe’ quoted Belgium coach Roberto Martinez as saying Lukaku will be part of the team if he decides to play in the group stage before 1, “He will not be with us.” He added that the final decision now rests with the medical staff.
The same applies to Belgian full-back Thomas Meunier.
And it was announced that Angel Di Maria – who previously said it would be his last World Cup appearance – would return to training, according to Sporting News. The latter was injured in early October, raising questions about the fate of his participation.
Although his name has been included in the national team list, there is still no confirmed information on the status of Juventus forward Argentine star Paulo Dybala after he was injured on October 9. There were initial reports that he would not be able to play at the World Cup in Qatar.
And while Reuters confirmed that France midfielder Boubacar Camara did not take part, Sporting News reported that the medical team is closely following him and may announce that he will join his national team’s players. The site also mentioned that Ronaldo Araujo, the heart of the Uruguayan defense and Barcelona team, could take part with his national team if he recovers.
How will the absence of these players play out?
There is no information yet on the coaches’ plans to replace the missing key players as the World Cup may not be without injuries either.
The France national team may be hardest hit by their players’ injuries as coach Didier Deschamps will suffer from the absence of three key players in midfield, Pogba, Kante and Kamara, in addition to the loss of efforts from Paris Saint-Germain defender Kimpembe.
While Portugal will miss their main striker, Diogo Jota, and the efforts of another striker, Pedro Neto.
The absence of Sadio Mane, Africa’s Player of the Year 2022, will hamper the Senegalese national team’s offense, especially in the opening games of the group stage.
There is no doubt that Argentina national team’s attacking line will be affected if it is confirmed that Dybala will not participate or that Di Maria will not be ready, in addition to the absence of midfielder Giovanni do Celso.
And the Argentina captain, legend Lionel Messi, who also revealed it was his last World Cup appearance, is aiming for the only title he hasn’t won in his football career to date.
But fans following the injured stars will surely miss seeing their favorite players in action.
A busy football year
In addition to the World Cup games being scheduled for winter 2022, the corona epidemic was a pressure factor for the players due to the large number of games in a relatively short time.
The suspension of most of the tournaments for a long time due to the epidemic and their resumption in 2021 represented the first pressure factor as the schedule was full and there was a rush to finish the tournaments and complete the postponed games before the 2020 European Nations Cup, after it was postponed to summer 2021.
The players did not take a long summer break and had to rejoin their teams due to the upcoming European Championship and the intensification of the number of games ahead of the World Cup in November 2022.
The most important professional players in top European teams usually expect at least three championships, the domestic championship and the cup, in addition to a European competition.
As a result, due to the change in schedule and the lack of time between games, this year has been packed with games, sometimes at a rate of two games per week. Which may have also put physical and psychological pressure on the players.
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