The Qatar 2022 World Cup starts in little over a month. The unique winter tournament means that many of the world’s top stars playing club football right up until a week before the tournament starts.
That has to be causing a lot of sleepless nights for national teams managers across the world. An injury now can force a player to miss the tournament, and totally change the projection of that nation.
Here is a look at some of the stars who have already been ruled out of the World Cup, or are major injury doubts.
The USMNT have two key injuries at either end of the pitch.
Daryl Dike: The West Bromwich Albion striker has been out with a thigh issue since August and it is still unknown whether he will return before the November break.
Miles Robinson: An Achilles tendon tear has ruled out the Atlanta United centre-back.
Boss Gerardo Martino has huge concerns over two of his top stars, but says he will give both until the very last minute to prove their fitness.
Raul Jimenez: The Wolves forward has not played since 31 August due to a groin injury and is a huge doubt for the tournament.
Jesus Corona: The Sevilla winger broke his leg in August but is recovering ahead of schedule.
Didier Deschamps’ defending champions have arguably the largest injury list of any country heading into the four-week event.
Paul Pogba: The former Manchester United midfielder has not played since returning to Juventus this summer following knee surgery.
N’Golo Kante: The defensive midfielder could be out for four months after undergoing surgery on his hamstring injury.
Wesley Fofana: Kante’s Chelsea team-mate limped off during the 3-0 Champions League home win over AC Milan and is unlikely to play for the Blues before the World Cup.
Lucas Hernandez: The Bayern Munich utility man injured his groin in a Champions League victory over Barcelona last month, although his agent has claimed he will return before the end of October.
Boubacar Kamara: The 22-year-old tore knee ligaments just eight matches into his Aston Villa career and will be out until after the World Cup.
Two Premier League players are major doubts for a Brazil side looking to lift the World Cup for the first time since 2002.
Richarlison: The Tottenham forward was seen on crutches after suffering a calf injury in Spurs’ 2-0 win over Everton on 15 October, but he posted a positive message on Instagram, saying “everything is going to be all right”.
And that positive update was echoed by Spurs boss Antonio Conte who said: “The player is not risking to miss the World Cup, absolutely not.”
Arthur Melo: Liverpool’s on-loan Juventus midfielder was not so upbeat on social media, saying he expects a thigh injury to keep him out of contention for a place on the plane to Qatar.
The 2014 runners-up will also have to cope without a Roma man.
Paulo Dybala: The 28-year-old will miss the competition after picking up a freak thigh injury while taking a penalty for Jose Mourinho’s side in Serie A in early October.
Angel Di Maria: The former Manchester United winger also suffered a thigh injury on Champions League duty for Juventus last week and will be out for three weeks, leaving him in a race against time to be fit.
Few thought the right-back position would be an area of concern for Southgate, especially given the plethora of options he’s historically had at his disposal. However, that has all changed in recent weeks.
Reece James: a knee injury picked up against AC Milan leaves the Chelsea man a major doubt for the tournament.
Kyle Walker: The Manchester City defender was left with six weeks to recover his fitness after groin surgery – but says he is “confident” of making the World Cup squad
John Stones and Harry Maguire: Manchester City’s Stones and Manchester United’s Maguire have both not played since suffering hamstring injuries in the 3-3 Nations League draw with Germany last month.
Kalvin Phillips: The Manchester City midfielder is a major doubt after a dislocated shoulder suffered in September.
Gareth Bale should be fit to lead Wales’ first World Cup campaign in 64 years despite appearing sparingly for Major League Soccer side Los Angeles FC.
Tom Lawrence: The Dragons will probably be without the Rangers forward in the Gulf state after he aggravated a knee injury that could sideline him until December.
Joe Allen: The veteran midfielder has not played for Swansea in more than a month after going down with a hamstring problem.
Manager Fernando Santos could be deprived of the services of four important players for their Group H campaign against Ghana, South Korea and Uruguay.
Diogo Jota: The Liverpool forward has been ruled out of the World Cup after picking up a calf injury at the weekend.
Pedro Neto: Wolves said the 22-year-old striker will miss the World Cup after an ankle injury sustained against West Ham on 1 October left him requiring surgery.
Pepe and Nuno Mendes: Porto expect 39-year-old Pepe to miss several games with a sprained knee, while fellow defender Mendes will be out for a few weeks with a muscle issue.
The Germans’ main worry centres on a Die Mannschaft stalwart with 48 caps and 15 international goals to his name.
Marco Reus: The 33-year-old Borussia Dortmund skipper damaged ankle ligaments in September. An ankle injury also kept him out of Germany’s World Cup triumph in Brazil in 2014.
The Netherlands, a potential last-16 opponent for England or Wales, will also be missing an experienced international operator.
Georginio Wijnaldum: The 31-year-old former Liverpool midfielder, capped 86 times, suffered a fractured tibia in his right leg after just playing one game on loan at Roma.
Marcelo Brozovic: The Inter Milan midfielder has not played in almost a month after coming off with a thigh injury during Croatia’s Nations League win over Austria in September.
Ronald Araujo: Barcelona stated in September the defender would likely miss the tournament due to surgery on a torn thigh muscle that would keep him out for two to three months.
Jakub Moder: The Brighton midfielder will not feature for the Poles in Qatar after rupturing his anterior cruciate ligament in April.
Atiba Hutchinson: The Canada captain, 39, has not played at all this term for his club side, Turkish outfit, Besiktas, after suffering a bone bruise in pre-season.