Some shall be lacking from the match in Qatar due to accidents or as a result of their international locations didn’t qualify, together with Ballon d’Or winner Karim Benzema of France and runner-up Sadio Mané of Senegal. These two — voted the world’s prime two gamers this 12 months — have been dominated out of the World Cup with damage days earlier than kickoff.
Different Star Names Will Even be Watching From Afar
KARIM BENZEMA (France)
There’s now no likelihood of Benzema including a World Cup title to his Ballon d’Or award this 12 months after he tore a left thigh muscle coaching with the French squad in Qatar days earlier than the defending champion’s opening sport. The World Cup was meant to proceed a exceptional comeback for Benzema, who didn’t play in France’s victorious 2018 World Cup marketing campaign as a result of he was nonetheless exiled from the group for his position in a sex-tape scandal. That led to a dramatic fall for Benzema however he had gained again followers with a stellar season with Actual Madrid and was again at his greatest for France. His damage got here in his first full coaching session with the French World Cup squad, which is now lacking 5 gamers.
SADIO MANE (Senegal)
Senegal’s all-time main scorer additionally noticed his World Cup disappear when he injured his proper leg in a membership sport for Bayern Munich two weeks in the past. Senegal held out hopes that its talisman would possibly recuperate and play some half later within the match and included him in its squad. However these hopes have been quashed when Bayern introduced this week that Mané has had surgical procedure to reattach a tendon to his proper fibula and is unquestionably out of the World Cup. Africa’s greatest participant will now watch his group whereas in rehab.
ERLING HAALAND (Norway)
The 22-year-old Haaland has had an exceptional begin in his first season at Manchester Metropolis with 17 objectives in his first 11 Premier League appearances, however Norway did not beat the Netherlands within the group’s last qualifying sport in Group G. Haaland, who had scored within the 1-1 draw after they met in Oslo, missed the decisive sport due to an damage. The Dutch certified as group winners with a 2-0 victory, whereas Norway was left in third place. Haaland has 21 objectives in 23 video games for Norway however he has to attend till not less than 2026 for his nation to achieve its first World Cup since 1998.
MOHAMED SALAH (Egypt)
Salah, who gained the Golden Boot because the Premier League’s prime scorer alongside Son Heung-min final season, missed a penalty in opposition to Senegal within the shootout that eradicated Egypt from the World Cup playoffs. Salah blasted his try over the crossbar and former Liverpool teammate Sadio Mané kicked the winner for his group’s 3-1 victory. It was a repeat of Senegal’s win on penalties within the African Cup of Nations last the month earlier than. This season, Salah has scored 4 objectives in his first 12 matches as Liverpool has struggled for wins.
PAUL POGBA (France)
France has additionally misplaced Paul Pogba, who was dominated out of the match due to ongoing proper knee issues. The 29-year-old Pogba performed a significant half in France’s World Cup success 4 years in the past, however has but to play a sport this season since his final official match in April. After returning to Juventus from Manchester United within the offseason, Pogba tore his meniscus through the Italian membership’s preseason tour of the US in July. He initially determined in opposition to having an operation, however then had surgical procedure on his proper knee in early September. Pogba’s agent, Rafaela Pimenta, mentioned Monday that he “wants extra rehabilitation after his operation.” Pogba has additionally been mired in an extortion scandal involving his older brother and childhood buddies.
N’GOLO KANTE (France)
Kante hasn’t performed for his membership or his nation since August, and Chelsea confirmed final month that the midfielder will miss the match whereas recovering from surgical procedure on a hamstring damage. Broadly thought to be one of many world’s greatest midfielders, Kante performed a key position alongside Pogba in France’s run to the 2018 title. One other France midfielder, Boubacar Kamara, was already dominated out due to damage.
DAVID ALABA (Austria)
Austria didn’t qualify for the World Cup after shedding to Wales within the playoffs. Gareth Bale scored two objectives within the 2-1 victory that ended his Actual Madrid teammate’s hopes of showing at soccer’s largest match for the primary time. The 30-year-old Alaba, who joined Madrid from Bayern Munich in 2021, captained Austria eventually 12 months’s European Championship, the place the group misplaced to eventual champion Italy within the spherical of 16.
LUIS DÍAZ (Colombia)
Díaz’s World Cup hopes have been over even earlier than he injured his knee whereas enjoying for Liverpool as a result of Colombia completed sixth in South American qualifying. The 25-year-old Díaz, who immediately grew to become a Liverpool favourite after his switch from Porto in January, nonetheless hasn’t performed at a World Cup. He has scored eight objectives in 37 appearances for Colombia. James Rodríguez and “El Tigre” Radamel Falcao may also miss the match.
GIANLUIGI DONNARUMMA (Italy)
Arguably the very best goalkeeper on this planet gained’t be on the World Cup after Italy surprisingly did not qualify for the match — once more. Donnarumma was the participant of the match when he helped Italy win Euro 2020, however he was unable to cease Aleksandar Trajkovski’s injury-time winner for North Macedonia within the World Cup playoffs in March. Italy additionally did not qualify for the 2018 World Cup in Russia. Donnarumma, thought of the inheritor to the good Gianluigi Buffon, will get his likelihood once more. Regardless of already making 49 appearances for Italy, he’s solely 23 years previous.
DIOGO JOTA (Portugal)
Jota mentioned “one among my goals collapsed” when it was confirmed he’ll miss the World Cup with a calf damage sustained in Liverpool’s 1-0 win over Manchester Metropolis on Oct. 16. He had already missed the primary month of the season due to damage. Liverpool coach Jürgen Klopp mentioned Jota confronted “months” to recuperate. Portugal teammate Pedro Neto can also be out after sustaining an ankle damage whereas enjoying with Wolverhampton.