The Qatar World Cup has been widely anticipated since its announcement on Dec. 2, 2010, just six months after South Africa hosted an exciting tournament, the first of its kind in Africa.
Many players who were active at the time or who were yet to emerge on the scene dreamed of competing in this prestigious event.
Some dreams have come true, while others have not, and some have been hampered by injuries sustained just before the event began.
Team managers have announced their squads to grace the Gulf State pitches but some notable key players’ injuries have plunged daggers into the hearts of various teams. Some stars have been entirely extinguished and some are hanging on a thread ahead of the Nov. 20-Dec. 18 World Cup.
Coach Didier Deschamps announced his squad last week but his midfield core has been completely dismantled with the absence of his key players who were instrumental in grabbing the 2018 title in Russia.
Paul Pogba injured his knee in preseason and underwent surgery in September to repair a damaged meniscus.
The 29-year-old resumed training but on Oct. 31 his agent said the midfielder would not return to action for Juventus nor the world champions before the World Cup.
The same will be said for N’Golo Kante the Chelsea midfielder who suffered a setback in his rehabilitation from a hamstring injury that has restricted him to two league appearances this season. He will be sidelined for four months after undergoing surgery.
Boubacar Kamara, a midfielder who plays for English Premier League outfit Aston Villa, suffered a knee ligament injury in September that will keep him out until after the World Cup too.
Not just the middle of the park was destroyed but also the backline when Paris Saint-Germain center back Presnel Kimpembe ruled himself out because of a hamstring injury.
Hansi Flick’s stars
RB Leipzig forward Timo Werner, 26, sustained an ankle injury during their 4-0 Champions League victory over Shakhtar Donetsk at the start of November and will be sidelined for the rest of 2022.
Borussia Dortmund’s captain Marco Reus sustained an ankle injury and failed to recover fully in time. Reus also missed the 2014 World Cup after getting injured on the eve of their departure for Brazil, where they won the title.
England’s 22-year-old right back Reece James injured his knee in Chelsea’s Champions League clash against AC Milan in October and said he will not be a part of the England team.
His Chelsea teammate, left back Ben Chilwell pulled up with a hamstring injury during added time in Chelsea’s Champions League win over Dinamo Zagreb and said days later he had suffered “significant damage” that will rule him out of the World Cup.
Jota and Neto
Portugal’s Liverpool forward Diogo Jota will miss the tournament due to a calf injury sustained in their victory over Manchester City, but the Premier League club’s manager Juergen Klopp said that he would not require surgery.
Pedro Neto who plays for the Wolves won’t be able to represent the ”Selecao das Quinas” as he will undergo surgery on an ankle injury sustained against West Ham United in October.
Brazilian Liverpool’s on-loan midfielder Arthur Melo picked up a muscle injury in the buildup to a Champions League clash with Rangers in October and coach Tite did not include him in his squad.
Canadian 25-year-old defender Scott Kennedy sustained a freak shoulder injury at the end of October while playing for SSV Jahn Regensburg in the German second division resulting in missing a chance to represent the Reds.
Mexico had a blow too after Sevilla winger Jesus “Tecatito” Corona winger suffered a fracture on his left ankle while he was training with the La Liga club in August and underwent surgery.
Argentina coach Lionel Scaloni announced his troops but a notable name was missing, Giovani Lo Celso.
The midfielder picked up a hamstring injury while playing for Villarreal, and Argentina coach Lionel Scaloni described him as being “irreplaceable” when naming his squad.
The same cannot be said about compatriot Paulo Dybala who returned to action for AS Roma from a thigh injury that had kept him out for a month. He has been named in the Argentina squad as they hope he regains full match fitness before their campaign begins.
Japanese defender Yuta Nakayama will miss the World Cup after being ruled out for the rest of the season due to an Achilles injury.
African player of the year award holder Sadio Mane has been named in Senegal’s squad for the World Cup despite suffering an injury playing for Bayern Munich. He will undergo checks in Munich to monitor his recovery.
Uruguay has also gambled on the recovery of Ronald Araujo in naming the Barcelona defender to their 26-man squad after he underwent thigh surgery.