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FIFA World Cup 2022 injury list: Karim Benzema, Son Heung-min and the remainder

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FIFA World Cup 2022 injury list: Karim Benzema, Son Heung-min and the rest

FIFA World Cup 2022 is here. 

The football showpiece features 32 teams across eight groups with the top two in each progressing to the knockout stage.

Switched from its usual mid-June start to adapt to the Qatari heat, several players are facing a race against the clock to be fit for their teams’ fixtures with the European domestic leagues starting their break only a week ago.

This is the first World Cup where five substitutions are permitted per match, placing an even greater emphasis on squad depth.

Read on for injury updates on all the teams taking part.

Everything you need to know about the FIFA World Cup 2022.

Senegal’s Sadio Mane during the 2022 Africa Cup of Nations semi-final against Burkina Faso

Picture by REUTERS/Thaier Al-Sudani/File Photo

Group A

Qatar

The hosts have no significant injury concerns with forward Ahmed Alaaeldin expected to be fit to face Ecuador after going off in the first half of last week’s 1-0 warm-up win over Albania.

Ecuador

Robert Arboleda has only recently returned from a fractured ankle but should be fit for the opener against Qatar and could start at right back.

Jeremy Sarmiento has a slight muscle issue with midfielder Carlos Gruezo expected to start after a thigh problem.

Senegal

This year’s African Nation’s Cup winners were dealt a hammer blow on the eve of the tournament when striker Sadio Mane was ruled out of the tournament.

The Bayern Munich star, who joined this summer from Liverpool, underwent knee surgery after suffering an injury during his club’s Bundesliga win over Werder Bremen on 8 November.

Abdou Diallo (knee) is doubtful for the side’s opener against the Netherlands, but the absence of their best player will be difficult for the ‘Lions of Teranga’ to overcome.

Netherlands

Dutch coach Louis van Gaal has said Memphis Depay will not start against Senegal after his recovery from a hamstring injury, but it is merely a precaution with the Barcelona forward expected to play a full role after that.

Inter right back Denzel Dumfries is fit after hurting his knee against Atalanta last week.

Georginio Wijnaldum misses the World Cup after suffering a broken leg while playing for Roma in August.

Manchester City and England defender Kyle Walker receives treatment during the derby with Manchester United

Picture by Michael Regan

Group B

England

Experienced right back Kyle Walker will skip England’s opener against Iran after recovering from recent groin surgery. But the Manchester City player is confident he will be fit for the rest of the World Cup.

That is a welcome boost for coach Gareth Southgate after Reece James was ruled out of the tournament with a knee injury.

Leicester City midfielder James Maddison has recovered from his knee injury which forced him off in the first half against West Ham last Saturday (12 November).

Iran

Sardar Azmoun was named in Iran’s squad by Carlos Queiroz despite having been out of action since tearing a calf muscle at the start of October.

With 41 goals from 65 international appearances, the Bayer Leverkusen striker is vital to Iran’s hopes in Qatar but only 50-50 to make the opener against England.

Omid Ebrahimi is out of the tournament after suffering a groin injury in the friendly against Nicaragua last Thursday (10 November).

WATCH: World at their Feet: Iranian superstar Sardar Azmoun ready to give all for national team

USA

Juventus midfielder Weston McKennie is USA’s biggest doubt ahead of the opener against Wales with a thigh muscle injury.

While he is expected to play some part, McKennie is unlikely to start with Luca de la Torre – also recovering from a muscle injury – set to deputise.

Crystal Palace central defender Chris Richards was ruled out two weeks before the tournament with a leg injury sustained in August.

Wales

Captain Gareth Bale made a spectacular return to action for LAFC two weeks ago, scoring a header in extra-time to help his side win the MLS title.

The former Real Madrid and Tottenham star is not 100 percent fit, but he is expected to play a full part in Qatar regardless.

Veteran midfielder Joe Allen returned to training on Thursday after two months out with a hamstring injury.

Coach Rob Page has an otherwise fully fit squad after Rhys Norrington-Davies (hamstring) was ruled out.

Mexico forward Raul Jimenez during the friendly with Sweden in Girona, Spain

Picture by Eric Alonso

Group C

Argentina

Fiorentina forward Nicolas Gonzalez will play no part in the World Cup after suffering a muscle injury in training on Thursday (17 November) with Atletico Madrid’s Angel Correa coming into the squad.

Inter’s Jorge Correa has also been ruled out by injury with the Inter forward replaced by US-based Thiago Almeda.

Could Lionel Scaloni could be forced into more changes with Tottenham defender Cristian Romero, Sevilla forward Papu Gomez and Roma attacker Paulo Dybala all battling injuries having missed the side’s last warm-up match against UAE on Wednesday (16 November).

Lionel Messi scored in that 5-0 win over UAE with fellow Olympic gold medallist Angel de Maria netting twice.

Can Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo finally win the World Cup? 

Saudi Arabia

Coach Herve Renard has the luxury of a full squad to choose from with captain Salman Al-Faraj making a speedy recovery from a shoulder injury.

The Al-Hilal playmaker was replaced at halftime in the 1-0 win over Iceland on Sunday (13 November), but started Wednesday’s 1-0 friendly defeat to Croatia.

Mexico

London 2012 gold medallist Raul Jimenez could have a significant role for Mexico in this World Cup after playing the second half of the team’s friendly against Sweden on Wednesday 16 November).

A succession of injuries has restricted the Wolves striker – who suffered a life-threatening skull fracture against Arsenal in November 2020 – to just four appearances this term with club boss Julen Lopetegui saying he did not think Jimenez should go to Qatar.

Sevilla winger Jesus Corona missed out on the squad with an ankle injury.

Poland

Goalkeeper Bartlomiej Dragowski will play no part in Qatar after breaking his ankle in horrific fashion while playing for Italian Serie A side Spezia against Verona last Sunday (13 November).

He has been replaced in the squad by FC Copenhagen’s Kamil Grabara.

Brighton midfielder Jakub Moder misses the tournament after tearing his anterior knee cruciate ligament in April.

France striker Christopher Nkunku is ruled out of the World Cup after training at Clairefontaine on 15 November 2022

Picture by REUTERS/Benoit Tessier

Group D

Denmark

Andreas Christensen is Denmark’s only worry ahead of their opener against Tunisia with the Barcelona defender recovering from ankle ligament damage sustained last month.

Brentford midfielder Christian Norgaard coming on as a substitute in the shock win over Manchester City last Saturday (12 November) after Achilles trouble.

RB Leipzig striker Yussuf Poulsen also came on as a replacement last weekend having recovered from a muscle injury.

Manchester United’s Christian Eriksen is in the squad 17 months after he suffered a cardiac arrest on the pitch at Euro 2020.

Tunisia

Tunisia have no injury worries ahead of their opener against Denmark with star striker and captain Yousef Msakni – who missed the 2018 World Cup through injury – recovering from a knee injury to take his place in the squad.

France

Having missed much of the season through injury, Real Madrid star striker Karim Benzema was ruled out of the World Cup on Saturday (19 November).

The Ballon d’Or winner suffered a left quadriceps injury during training with coach Didier Deschamps later confirming that 34-year-old Benzema would play no part in the tournament.

This latest blow comes just three days after RB Leipzig striker Christopher Nkunku twisted his leg in training with Eintracht Frankfurt’s Randal Kolo Muani replacing him in the squad.

Raphael Varane remains a major doubt for France’s opening match against Australia with the reigning champions already without the likes of Paul Pogba and N’Golo Kante in Qatar.

Australia

Scotland-based winger Martin Boyle is the Socceroos’ biggest doubt at the start of the tournament after he injured his knee playing for Hibernian last month.

Melbourne City’s Marco Tilio has been flown to Doha in case Boyle fails to recover, while Harry Souttar and Ajdin Hrustic only took part in light training on Thursday (17 November).

Germany defender Lukas Klostermann during the friendly against Oman on 16 November 2022

Picture by Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images

Group E

Germany

The 2014 champions are without star names Marco Reus and Timo Werner, both due to ankle injuries, while Barcelona goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen missed the 1-0 friendly win over Oman on Wednesday (16 November) with a gastrointestinal infection.

RB Leipzig defender Lukas Klostermann lasted just 34 minutes of that win and, while coach Hansi Flick insists substituting him was purely precautionary, Klostermann’s historic injury-proneness makes this development somewhat concerning especially as right back is a position in which Germany lack depth.

Japan

Central defender Nakayama Yuta, who plays for Huddersfield in England’s second tier, misses the World Cup – and the rest of the season – after undergoing surgery on his Achilles tendon at the start of the month.

After almost two months out with a knee injury, VfL Bochum striker Asano Takuma returned to action in the 2-1 defeat to Canada in Dubai on Thursday (17 November), but Mitoma Kaori (illness), Endo Wataru (concussion) and Morita Hidemasa (calf) stayed at the squad’s camp in Doha to continue their rehabilitation.

WATCH: World at their Feet: Japanese winger Mitoma Kaori who qualified his team for the World Cup

Spain

Valencia left back Jose Gaya was ruled out of the tournament on Friday (18 November) after spraining his ankle in training on Wednesday night.

Gaya, whose fitness was assessed after the squad landed in Qatar, will be replaced in the squad by Barcelona teenager Alejandro Balde.

In the build-up, Real Sociedad winger Mikel Oyarzabal was the one major loss to coach Luis Enrique as he continues his recovery from a ruptured knee cruciate ligament.

Atletico Madrid midfielder Koke sustained a thigh injury in mid-October, but resumed full training last week with Enrique hinting that the 30-year-old may start the opener against Costa Rica.

Costa Rica

Goalkeeper Keylor Navas has not played a competitive match since June, with Italian Gianlugi Donnarumma in possession of the gloves at Paris Saint-Germain.

That is something of a worry for the Ticos who have no injury worries to speak of.

Belgium’s Romelu Lukaku about to fly to Qatar from Brussels Airport on 15 November 2022

Picture by REUTERS/Johanna Geron

Group F

Morocco

Marseille midfielder Amine Harit was ruled out of the World Cup after he was stretchered off with a serious knee injury against Monaco last Sunday (13 November).

He has been replaced by Anass Zaroury of English second-tier club Burnley, but it is a big blow for the Atlas Lions who were already without Imran Louza of Burnley’s Championship rivals Watford.

West Ham centre back Nayef Aguerd is fit after recovering from ankle surgery.

Croatia

Defensive midfielder Marcelo Brozovic returned for Inter’s last three games before the World Cup break after a hamstring injury.

After a brief injury scare last weekend, AEK Athens defender Domagoj Vida came on midway through the second half against Saudi Arabia on Wednesday (16 November) to make his 100th international appearance.

Following that 1-0 win in Riyahd, coach Zlatko Dalic has no injury concerns ahead of the tournament with the team – who were runners-up four years ago in Russia – set to be skippered by 37-year-old Luka Modric.

Belgium

AC Milan winger Alexis Saelemaekers has just failed to recover in time from a knee injury to be fit for the World Cup.

Meanwhile, Romelu Lukaku was included in the squad despite a thigh injury with coach Roberto Martinez hoping to have the Inter striker back for the team’s third group game against Croatia.

Thomas Meunier is fit despite suffering a fractured cheekbone while on duty for Borussia Dortmund in mid-October.

Canada

LAFC goalkeeper Maxime Crepeau was ruled out of the World Cup earlier this month when he broke his leg in committing a foul which saw him sent off in the MLS Cup Final.

Doneil Henry is also out after picking up an injury warming up ahead of the friendly against Bahrain last Friday (11 November) and joins fellow defender Scott Kennedy (shoulder) on the sidelines.

Bayern Munich star Alphonso Davies is in the squad, and he is confident of making the side’s opener against Belgium after a hamstring injury which saw him limp off against Hertha Berlin on 5 November.

Alex Telles (R) training with Brazil in Turin on 17 November 2022

Picture by REUTERS/Massimo Pinca

Group G

Switzerland

The only injury worry for coach Murat Yakin lies in the goalkeeping department. But it’s a serious one with Borussia Moenchengladbach’s Yann Sommer out of action since tearing ankle ligaments in October.

While the veteran stopper has been named in the squad, there are three other goalies in Yakin’s 26 with usual backup, Lorient’s Yvon Mvogo, missing out after sustaining a knee injury two weeks before the tournament against Paris Saint-Germain.

Cameroon

Coached by former Liverpool defender Rigobert Song, the Indomitable Lions have no reported injury concerns ahead of the World Cup.

Brazil

Missing from Brazil’s squad is Juventus midfielder Arthur Melo, currently on loan at Liverpool, who has a thigh injury which looks set to rule him out until the New Year.

There were two injury scares from the squad’s first training session in Turin on Wednesday (16 November) with Newcastle midfielder and Rio 2016 gold medallist Bruno Guimaraes, on his 25th birthday, requiring treatment after Real Madrid forward Rodrygo stepped on his foot.

Sevilla defender Alex Telles also needed attention after he was tackled from behind by Paris Saint-Germain superstar Neymar.

The pair will be assessed further on Monday after their arrival in Doha.

WATCH: World at their Feet: Tokyo 2020 top scorer Richarlison sets sights on World Cup

Serbia

Coach Dragan Stojkovic has concerns in attack with Juventus striker Dusan Vlahovic out of action for the past month with an adductor injury.

Fulham target man Aleksander Mitrovic has also missed games in recent weeks, with an ankle problem, but Serbia’s all-time leading scorer has also been named in the squad for Qatar.

Son Heung-min training with South Korea in Doha on 18 November 2022

Picture by REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed

Group H

Uruguay

Ronald Araujo has made a rapid recovery from thigh muscle surgery in September to be included in coach Diego Alonso’s squad, but he is somewhat doubtful for the side’s opener against Republic of Korea.

Veteran striker Edinson Cavani missed Valencia’s last two games before the World Cup break with an ankle injury but is expected to play a full part in Qatar.

One player who is missing from the squad is Getafe midfielder Mauro Arambarri who underwent ankle surgery last month.

Republic of Korea

Son Heung-min has made it to Qatar despite fracturing his eye socket while playing in Tottenham’s Champions League win over Marseille earlier this month.

The star forward has been wearing a protective face mask in training, and time is on his side with South Korea’s opener against Uruguay not until Thursday 24 November.

Portugal

Portugal are missing three English Premier League players with the biggest absentee Liverpool forward Diogo Jota who suffered a calf injury just after recovering from hamstring trouble.

Fernando Santos is also without Wolves winger Pedro Neto (ankle ligament damage) and Ricardo Pereira who ruptured his Achilles in Leicester City’s pre-season friendly against Sevilla.

Most of the build-up has been dominated by Cristiano Ronaldo’s explosive interview on British television in which he criticised Manchester United and manager Erik ten Hag. The club is reportedly seeking to terminate the superstar’s contract, which expires at the end of the season, with immediate effect.

Ghana

Spezia captain Emmanuel Gyasi is out of the World Cup with the muscle injury which saw the forward miss his club’s trip to AC Milan just hours before kick-off on 6 November.

Defender Stephan Ambrosius, on loan at German second-tier side Karlsruher from SV Hamburg, is also on the sidelines with a thigh injury.

Rennes flyer Kamaldeen Sulemana (ankle) and SC Freiburg forward Daniel Kofi Kyereh (muscle) were both deemed fit enough to be included in the squad, but coach Otto Addo has issues in goal with injuries ruling out English-based number one Jojo Wollacot and usual backup Richard Ofori.

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