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FIFA World Cup 2022

Time to Recover

Ten players who could miss the World Cup through injury 

The year is 2002, Santiago Canizares, then 32, had just established himself as Spain’s No. 1 heading into the World Cup, according to multiple accounts, Santi was in his hotel room when he tried to stop a falling after-shave bottle with his foot and severed a tendon in his foot. That injury ruled him out of the tournament, making it one of the most bizarre injuries suffered by a footballer before the World Cup 

As the World Cup draws ever closer, teams heading to Qatar are beginning to sweat over some injuries to their superstars. While these injuries might not have come in circumstances as strange as Canizares’, they could shape the country’s fortunes at the tournament. 

Here are the top 10 players at risk of missing the World Cup through injury: 

Raphael Varane 

Manchester United defender Raphael Varane ruled out 'for a few weeks' after suffering groin injury during Nations League - Eurosport

The Manchester United defender might not be in the France squad to Qatar after Didier Deschamps said he will not be taking any injured player along to the World Cup because they take up too much attention and monopolize the medical staff.  

Manchester United Coach Erik ten Hag had ruled Raphael Varane out of all of Manchester United’s games before the world cup after Varane picked up an injury while attempting a challenge on Chelsea striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. 

Varane was part of the French World Cup-winning team in 2018, and will now face a race against the clock to be fit before the Qatar edition. 

N’golo Kante 

France boss Deschamps relaxed on Kante role at Chelsea |

Kante was effectively ruled out of the World Cup after requiring surgery for an injury he picked up while playing for Chelsea in August. Without his hard-running, ball-winning presence in midfield, Didier Deschamps will have to turn his attention to the younger duo of Eduardo Camavinga and Aurelien Tchouameni. 

This comes as a further blow to the French midfield as Paul Pogba also struggles to be match-fit in time for the World Cup. Pogba has been on the mend from injury and his participation in the 2022 World Cup in November will be determined by the course of his recovery in the coming weeks and whether France manager Didier Deschamps is willing to risk bringing a recently recovered Pogba 

Bet on: 

France to win the World cup @ 6.75 

 Georginio Wijnaldum 

Georginio Wijnaldum reveals Netherlands 'pain' over recent tournament absences | Football News | Sky Sports

The Dutch team might not be one of the first three names mentioned when listing teams likely to win the world cup, after all they are 12.00 odds to win the World Cup, but they head to Qatar following an impressive qualifying and Nations League campaign. 

One of the players the Oranje will be missing is Georginio Wijnaldum who fractured his tibia in training after playing just one game for AS Roma following his move from PSG. His recovery timeline is estimated to see him return to action in the new year, ruling him out of the World Cup.

  Reece James 

Mundial 2022: Reece James, en riesgo de perderse el Mundial por lesión | Marca

Recce James was all but guaranteed the starting right-back slot in Gareth Southgate’s England team. However, a  knee injury picked up in a champions league win over AC Milan has ruled him out.  

Surgery on the knee is expected to keep him out of action for two months. With fellow right-back Kyle Walker also injured and Trent Alexander-Arnold off the pace, Gareth Southgate’s biggest selection dilemma is who starts at right-back for the Three Lions with Kieran Trippier the most likely man to get that position. 

England are the fourth favourites to win the World Cup, behind Brazil, France and Argentina. 

Bet on:  

England to win the trophy in Qatar @ 7.75 

 Ronald Araujo 

Barça defender Ronald Araujo to continue his recovery in Qatar

The Barcelona defender was in action for Uruguay in September when he picked up an injury 5 minutes into the friendly with Iran. 

He was subsequently flown back to Barcelona for further assessment and had to have surgery for the adductor longus avulsion injury in his right thigh. The procedure was successful but ruled him out of selection for Uruguay’s World Cup squad. 

 Uruguay are in group H alongside South Korea, Ghana and Portugal.  

 Bet on: 

Uruguay to qualify out of the group @ 1.50 

 Angel Di Maria 

El padre de Ángel Di María rompió la ilusión | El Colectivo

The Argentina winger will be out until early November after suffering what was termed a “low-grade hamstring injury” while playing for Juventus against Maccabi Haifa in the UEFA Champions League. 

 Di Maria has been an essential part of the Argentina National team and played a pivotal part in their Copa America win by scoring the winning goal in the final. 

There is hope that he will be part of the team at Qatar, as he is expected to be back in the Juventus squad by early November. Angel Di Maria has made 125 appearances for Argentina, scoring 25 goals and will be part of an Argentina team who feel their time has come for another World Cup win.  

Bet on: 

Argentina to win the World Cup @ 7.25 

Diogo Jota 

Jota ruled out of World Cup with 'serious calf issue' in major injury blow for Portugal & Liverpool | UK

 Liverpool’s 1-0 victory over Manchester City was tainted by the injury to Portugal forward Diogo Jota.  The 25-year-old forward suffered a calf injury which has made him a doubt for  the Qatar World Cup. 

 He would have been part of a talented Portugal squad that includes Bernando Silva, Bruno Fernandes and Cristiano Ronaldo. But might be forced to watch from home unless he recovers quicker than the end of year return date diagnosed. 

Bet on: 

Portugal wins Group H @ 1.65 

Portugal wins the World Cup @ 16.00 

Paulo Dybala 

Argentina coach Lionel Scaloni on Paulo Dybala's exclusion from national team | Mundo Albiceleste

The Argentine striker swapped Turin for Rome when he joined AS Roma at the beginning of the season and was settling well into life at the Italian capital, scoring 7 goals in 11 matches before an injury picked up in the match against Lecce meant he could be ruled out of the World Cup.  

Initially ruled out till the new year following the strained quadriceps diagnosis,  Argentina’s medical staff have continued to monitor his progress with the hopes of having him available for next month’s tournament. 

Bet on: 

Argentina to win Group C @ 1.30 

Alexis Saelemaekers 

MN: Saelemaekers forced to withdraw from Belgium squad due to injury - the latest

 Alexis Saelemaekers is set to miss the tournament after injuring his knee while playing for AC Milan. 

The Belgian midfielder was ruled out for between six and eight week after picking up the injury AC Milan’s game against Empoli.  

According to Milan’s medical team, Saelemaekers suffered a partial tear to the medial collateral ligament (MCL) and will undergo conservative therapy, with a recovery time of  between 6-8 weeks. 

He still has the chance of being selected as part of the Belgium squad if his recovery is faster than anticipated.

Manuel Neuer 

Manuel Neuer to miss rest of 2017 for Bayern Munich with broken foot | Football News | Sky Sports

Manuel Neuer has been dealing with a shoulder injury he picked in training early in October, and hasn’t played in any of Bayern’s games since.  

Bayern Munich head coach Julian Nagelsmann has assured that the goalkeeper’s participation in the World Cup isn’t in danger, but there might be some concerns amongst the German National Team coaching staff about his availability.  

Neuer was in a similar position ahead of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, Neuer injured his right shoulder playing in the German Cup final but returned to  full fitness for Germany’s World Cup campaign which Germany won. 

Bet on: 

Germany to win the World Cup @ 10.00 

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