Injured XI of FIFA World Cup 2022: Players who will miss out on the Qatar showpiece

Pogba, Reus and James are among some major absentees for the FIFA World Cup

FIFA World Cup 2022 will kick off in little more than a week’s time with the hosts Qatar taking on Ecuador in the inaugural match of the spectacle. As teams continue to unveil their final squads for the World Cup, there are some big names who will not feature in the showpiece because of injury concerns. 

Paul Pogba, a World Cup winner with France in 2018 has been injured since he moved to Juventus earlier in the summer and thus won’t feature for the defending champs. Germany was handed two massive blows as Timo Werner and Marco Reus both picked up injuries in the lead-up to the tournament. 

N’Golo Kante will also be missing for Les Bleus, whereas England will not be able to call upon the likes of Reece James and Ben Chilwell, both of whom would have been in the playing XI for the Three Lions had they been fit. 

Moreover, there are many players like Sadio Mane, Ronald Araujo, and Son Heung Min who have been named in the World Cup squads of their respective teams, but are still recovering from injuries and may not feature in the initial round of matches. Hence, we decided to compile a list of eleven players from every position who will not feature for their respective teams due to injury woes. 

Defense: Mike Maignan, Reece James, Wesley Fofana, Deigo Carlos, Ben Chilwell

AC Milan shot-stopper Mike Maignan certainly could have challenged skipper Hugo Lloris for a place in the starting XI had he been fit. The Frenchman suffered a calf muscle injury in October, and he had sustained a similar issue in the same area earlier as well, thus he couldn’t recover in time for the World Cup, with Didier Deschamps opting for Steve Mandanda and Alphonse Areola as backups to Lloris.

Reece James’s injury came as a massive blow to England, and it turned out to be a boon for Trent Alexander Arnold, whose place in the World Cup squad was under threat. James sustained a knee injury against AC Milan last month and was in a race against time to prove his fitness to Gareth Southgate, thus paving the way for Trent. The Chelsea star subsequently put out a statement on social media, revealing that he was devasted to be left out of England’s squad. 

James’ Chelsea colleague Wesley Fofana has also failed to make the cut for England, and just like his compatriot, Fofana also sustained a knee strain last month against Milan. While he was initially expected to be sidelined for a few weeks, the World Cup squad announcement came too soon for the former Leicester City man, who will now stay back and continue recuperating from the setback, until the Blues return to action after the World Cup. 

After impressing with Sevilla, Deigo Carlos earned himself a move to Aston Villa, but after just two appearances in the Premier League, the Brazilian centre-back suffered a rupture of his Achilles tendon. He subsequently had to undergo surgery which meant that Carlos was never going to be part of the equation for Brazil’s World Cup squad, who are already heavily stacked in that position. 

Ben Chilwell’s World Cup dreams took a hefty blow when he limped off in the Champions League tie against Dinamo Zagreb. The 25-year-old has only recently recovered from a long-term injury but will be expected to spend more time on the sidelines after pulling up his hamstring. 

After undergoing a scan for the injury, the former Leicester City full-back posted an emotional update on social media, revealing that he will focus on returning to full fitness to help Chelsea. 

Midfield: Paul Pogba, N’Golo Kante, Georginio Wijnaldum 

France will be hoping to become only the third team in the history of the FIFA World Cup to successfully defend their title after winning the coveted trophy back in Russia 2018, but they will be without two key players in Paul Pogba and N’Golo Kante. The duo was Deschamps’ go-to men in the midfield, and the French side does look a little thin in that area. 

Pogba injured his knee in pre-season after joining Juventus and then picked up a thigh problem during his recovery which ruled him out of the tournament in Qatar. Whereas, only recently, he posted a story on his Instagram wherein the ex-Manchester United man was seen dancing to ‘test his knee’. 

Elsewhere, Kante was always expected to miss the World Cup after he picked up a serious hamstring injury in August, which needed surgery. As per reports, the midfield workhorse is expected to remain sidelined for four months after the surgical procedure. 

Georginio Wijnaldum is another casualty who will not fly to Qatar after suffering a fractured tibia in training which meant he was due to spend five months on the sidelines. The Dutchman subsequently put out a video on Instagram revealing that he was ‘very emotional and sad’ after the setback. 

Since leaving Liverpool, Wijnaldum’s career has stalled after failing to impress at PSG, while he joined AS Roma on a year-long loan but suffered the injury just days after making his debut. 

Forwards: Diogo Jota, Timo Werner, Marco Reus

Diogo Jota will also miss the FIFA World Cup in Qatar due to a calf injury sustained in mid-October. Jota would have been a certain starter in the Cristiano Ronaldo-led unit, but he will be expected to return in 2023 to help Liverpool push for the Premier League title. 

Jota also penned an emotional note after the severity of his injury was confirmed, saying that his ‘dreams collapsed’ but he will continue to support Liverpool and Portugal and vowed to return stronger. 

Timo Werner would have been expected to lead the attack for Germany but he suffered an ankle injury a couple of weeks before the World Cup. Having scored 24 goals in 55 appearances for Die Mannschaft, Werner moved back to RB Leipzig from Chelsea earlier this season to secure more playing time and he had rediscovered his good form of late. 

Marco Reus has a very peculiar case when it comes to missing big tournaments. Perhaps cruelly, the World Cup in Qatar is the fourth major tournament Reus will miss through injury since making his international debut. 

The Borussia Dortmund skipper was in a good run of form of late, however, he sustained an ankle injury against Schalke and has played twice since but the pain in his ankle has not subsided yet. Thus, Hansi Flick chose not to take a punt on the midfielder who will have to support Germany from his home once again.