Who are some of the players with a chance to miss the World Cup?
– As soon as Zlatan announced he’ll be present at the World Cup, the speculations began pouring in. In all likelihood, he will be there for reasons other than setting his feet on the pitch for Sweden, as the national team manager hasn’t given any signs that Ibrahimovic will be included in the 23-man squad.
Marco Reus and Mario Gotze
– “Rolls Reus” has never been to a World Cup. That’s right. Because of injuries, he missed the last edition in Brazil, as well as a couple of Euro Championships. Marco was in great form until he got hurt again a few weeks back. He is injury-free at the moment and hoping that his performances will be good enough to convince Joachim Low to take him. The same can’t be said about Germany’s World Cup hero from Brazil – Mario Gotze. He hasn’t shown anything to deserve a call-up and almost certainly won’t receive one.
– The Germany captain has been out all season with broken bones in his foot. He was supposed to be healthy by now, but the injury is healing slower than expected. Recently, Heynckes said that Neuer will be ready in time for the Champions League final, that is if Bayern makes it there. Considering there won’t be enough time to regain match fitness, it is possible that Low will prefer not to risk and put Ter Stegen on goal.
Mauro Icardi and Paulo Dybala
– I’ve mentioned it before and I’ll say it again. Sampaoli will make a terrible mistake if he doesn’t list Dybala and Icardi in the Argentina 23-man squad. They’re world-class players that most national teams can only dream of having on their rosters. They deserve to travel to Russia, even if they spend the entire competition on the bench. It doesn’t seem likely it’ll happen, though, as Sampaoli is unwilling to risk disturbing the team spirit in the locker room, and most of all, disturb Messi.
Karim Benzema and Kevin Gameiro
– Didier Deschamps has a sweet problem as the national team coach. He has too many attacking options at his disposal. Among those are Olivier Giroud, Kylian Mbappe, Antoine Griezmann, Alexandre Lacazette, Anthony Martial and Ousmane Dembele. That leaves Benzema and Gameiro without a ticket to Russia.
– The Frenchman has been out of action since suffering knee ligament damage in September. He made his long-awaited return as a substitute against Swansea. Without the injury, he would be France’s starting left-back. Like this, it’ll be up to Deschamps to decide whether he’s fit enough to join the team at all.
– When Gylfi initially suffered his knee injury back in March, it was estimated that the odds of him going with his Iceland teammates to Russia were low. However, hard work seems to be paying off for Iceland’s main man, as he’s nearing a return to the pitch. The hope now is that he won’t have any setbacks in his recovery.
Neymar, Hulk and David Luiz
– Neymar’s situation is similar. He had to go under the knife for the first time in his career after suffering a hairline fracture in his foot in February. It’s an injury that’s notoriously difficult to heal (see Neuer above). Brazil’s crown jewel has remained optimistic throughout the recovery process and is confident he’ll be with his team come June.
The same can’t be said about Hulk and David Luiz. The latter hasn’t featured for Chelsea for a long time and has almost no chances of going to Russia. Hulk’s move to China likely sealed his WC faith as soon as it happened. Tite has younger options at his position, namely Gabriel Jesus.