Seven players who could miss Qatar 2022, from Son Heung-min to Ben Chilwell
The FIFA World Cup 2022 in Qatar is now less than three weeks away, with the host nation clash against Ecuador set to kick off the tournament on Sunday, November 20.
There will be only one week between the last matches the players will take part in and the start of the tournament, the first edition of the World Cup to be held in the Middle East, which means that any player who suffers an injury late may miss out on the competition in Qatar.
With managers expected to start announcing their squad selections next week ahead of the November 14 deadline, some stars who have already suffered injuries face a race to get fit in time for the tournament to start.
I looked at the chances of some key players who are desperate to get back to fitness in time for the start of the competition.
Son Heung-min – South Korea
South Korean star Son Heung-min suffered a fractured eye socket in the first half of the crucial period 2-1 victory in Marseille in the final round of Champions League fixtures on Tuesday night, and is expected to require surgery in order to fix the problem.
A statement released by the club on Wednesday evening read: “We can confirm that Son will undergo surgery to stabilize a fracture around his left eye. After the operation, Son will start his rehabilitation with our medical staff and we will update the supporters in due course. A report from the Daily mail suggested that Son could be temporarily fitted with a face mask to allow him to continue playing with the injury,
The 30-year-old is the talisman of a South Korean squad made up mostly of domestic players, and he will be sorely missed if he didn’t recover in time for the tournament, leaving the burden of goals on the shoulders of Wolves striker. Hwang Hee-chan and leadership responsibility with Napoli defender Kim Min-jae.
Even though Son isn’t fit for the start of the tournament, his star power means he’s likely to be selected by manager Paulo Bento even though there’s a chance he could play the final game of the stage. groups.
2022 World Cup group stage draw
- Group A: Qatar, Ecuador, Senegal, Netherlands
- Group B: England, Iran, United States, Wales
- Group C: Argentina, Saudi Arabia, Mexico, Poland
- Group D: France, Australia, Denmark, Tunisia
- Group E: Spain, Costa Rica, Germany, Japan
- Group F: Belgium, Canada, Morocco, Croatia
- Group G: Brazil, Serbia, Switzerland, Cameroon
- Group H: Portugal, Ghana, Uruguay, South Korea
Ben Chilwell – England
Another player who had to be substituted through injury in this week’s Champions League fixtures was Chelsea left-back Ben Chilwell, who suffered a hamstring injury in 2-1 win over Dinamo Zagreb.
“I think you should say it,” manager Graham Potter said when asked if Chilwell’s chances of playing in the World Cup for England were in doubt. “Obviously I don’t want to say more, but when a player stops like he did, and he felt it, it’s never positive.”
Chilwell was likely to be Gareth Southgate’s backup choice at left-back behind Luke Shaw. If he’s not available for selection, Tottenham’s Ryan Sessegnon and Crystal Palace’s Tyrick Mitchell could be in line for an unexpected call-up.
2022 World Cup Schedule
- Group stage: 20 November – 2 December
- Round of 16: December 3-6
- Quarter-finals: December 9-10
- Semi-finals: December 13-14
- Match for third place: December 17
- Final: December 18
Reece James – England
On Chelsea’s opposite flank is Reece James, and the right-back looks very unlikely to be fit in time for the World Cup after injuring his knee last month against AC Milan.
The club revealed in a statement on Monday that James is continuing his rehabilitation in Dubai as he tries to recuperate for the tournament in neighboring Qatar, but Potter’s comments suggest the 22-year-old will end up disappointed.
“He will be in a brace for four weeks to stabilize the knee, then rehabilitation will take eight weeks, we think,” his club manager said on October 21. This timescale extends into December and possibly the New Year as things stand.
James’ absence would boost Trent Alexander-Arnold’s chances of being selected as a likely understudy for Kieran Trippier.
Kyle Walker – England
Another England right-back who could miss out on a place in Southgate’s squad is Kyle Walker, who underwent groin surgery after sustaining an injury in Manchester City’s 6-3 game. victory over Manchester United beginning of October.
“Kyle, I’m impressed with the speed of his recovery,” City manager Pep Guardiola told a recent press conference, with the Spaniard adding that he believes the 32-year-old could well be snapped up at time for the tournament. If fully fit, Walker is pretty much a guaranteed starter for England, but he won’t have played for almost two months before the Three Lions opener against Iran.
Kalvin Phillips – England
Walker’s Manchester City team-mate Kalvin Phillips is also close to returning from injury and could be fit in time to secure a seat on the plane to Qatar.
The 26-year-old hasn’t played since mid-September due to a shoulder injury, a recurrence of a problem he suffered with former club Leeds United before moving to Manchester this summer. Guardiola, however, thinks Phillips could be ready in time for the World Cup.
“He’s doing a partial training session with the team, no contact yet,” Guardiola said. “We will see how it evolves. I know how important the World Cup is, but I don’t use a player I don’t think is ready. My feeling now is it’ll be tight [to make the World Cup]. There are a lot of things involved.
Romelu Lukaku – Belgium
Inter striker Romelu Lukaku has scored 68 goals in 102 appearances for Belgium and has already appeared in two World Cups for his country but could miss that after suffering a recurrence of a hamstring injury.
The Chelsea man on loan had just returned from a two-month stint on the sidelines but is in doubt again after his latest setback.
“It’s not a line through the question yet, but it’s a setback for the player himself, his club and [us]”said Belgium coach Roberto Martinez, who could be forced to change his system if Lukaku hasn’t recovered in time.
“At the Red Devils he is irreplaceable,” said Martinez newblad. “Every national team has irreplaceable players. Look at Argentina with Messi, Croatia with Modric, Brozovic and Kovacic, Spain and Germany also have such players. That’s how it works. “It’s Courtois, De Bruyne and Lukaku. You can’t replace them one by one. If they don’t play, we have to play in a different way. If Lukaku isn’t there, maybe we should play with more attackers.
2022 World Cup winner odds
- Brazil – 5-1
- France – 6-1
- England – 7-1
- Argentina – 7-1
- Spain – 8-1
- Germany – 10-1
- Portugal – 12-1
- Netherlands – 12-1
- Belgium – 14-1
- Denmark – 28-1
Raphael Varane – France
Raphael Varane played as a centre-back alongside Samuel Umtiti when France won the World Cup in Russia four years ago but suffered a blow in Manchester United’s 1-1 draw with Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in October as he left the pitch in tears after tearing his thigh muscle.
Recent reports have suggested the defender’s injury is less serious than initially feared, and he posted a positive update on Instagram last weekend, saying: “Thank you all for the kind messages from this week. I’ve been working! Feeling good. Good luck today boys!
It has already been confirmed that other players will miss the tournament altogether, including French duo Paul Pogba and N’Golo Kante, who formed the midfield pivot that led France to glory in 2018, but who won’t will not be able to contribute this time.
Portugal will be without Liverpool striker Diogo Jota and Wolves winger Pedro Neto, and Brighton’s Jakub Moder will be out for Poland.
For the Netherlands, Georginio Wijnaldum will be absent, while Miles Robinson of the United States and Jesus Corona of Mexico will also be absent.