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Fernando Gagowas part of the Argentina squad that finished runners-up at the 2014 World Cup but the chances of him making Jorge Sampaolis final 23 for Russia 2018 do not look good. Now playing for Boca Juniors and aged 31, the former Real Madrid midfielder is expected to be out of action until April after sustaining a serious knee injury towards the end of 2017. TheAlbicelesteare also unlikely to featureMauro Icardiamong their number. Despite his impressive form for Inter, Icardis presence in the squad could potentially have a disruptive effect given previous disagreements with key players.
PerusPaolo Guerrerowas set to miss the World Cup after being hit with a 12-month ban from football in December for testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs (including e) but that ban was reduced to six months after an appeal. As such, the former Bayern Munich striker could potentially make the tournament, but he would have just a month to prove his worth.
Five-time winners Brazil head to the tournament as one of the favourites but one of their star players finds himself in a desperate race to recover full fitness in time for the kick-off.Neymarunderwent surgery on his foot in March after suffering a fractured metatarsal and a sprained ankle while playing for Paris Saint-Germain. The national team doctor, Rodrigo Lasmar, said that the 26-year-old will be out of action for three months, butPSG have indicatedthat he will be back with the team in early May.
In the coming weeks they will be paying close attention to the health of their players because, with plenty of football to be played, injuries will happen, which can throw their plans into disarray.
Germany boss Joachim Low has a massive pool of talent to draw from, but two potential additions to his World Cup panel have been ruled out. Bayern Munich wingerSerge Gnabry, who is on loan at Hoffenheim, has been laid low with a groin injury, while Borussia Monchengladbach captainLars Stindl, who played a key role in the 2017 Confederations Cup win, has suffered a serious ankle injury.
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As 32 teams get set for the big kick-off in June,Goalcasts an eye over those stars who are major doubts for the World Cup as well as those who have been ruled out completely.
With the tournament getting closer, Goal takes a look at the stars who may miss out on a place in their respective national team squad
No footballer – not even the best – is completely invulnerable and sometimes fate can deliver cruel blows to individuals whose talents deserve to be showcased on the world stage. That is simply an unfortunate hazard of the profession.
Germany could well be forced into a defensive reshuffle following the news ofJerome Boatengs thigh injury, which has brought his season to a premature end. The Bayern Munich centre-back is expected to be out of action for between four and six weeks, which means that his involvement in his countrys World Cup defence is in severe doubt. Nevertheless, Boateng remains optimistic and hasvowedto fight for a place at the tournament. In fact, his coach, Jupp Heynckes, says that he sees no danger for the defender.
Laurent Koscielnywent down in excruciating pain during Arsenals Europa League semi-final second-leg defeat to Atletico Madrid after appearing to lose his footing and the club later confirmed thatthe defender had suffered a torn Achilles tendon. Unfortunately for Koscielny that means his chances of going to Russia as part of the France contingent this summer are now gone and he faces a number of months in recovery.
Belgium have no shortage of attacking options at their disposal, but they may be withoutMichy Batshuayi, who saw his season ended by an ankle injury, while playing for Borussia Dortmund mid-way through April. However, while the 24-year-olds season has been brought to an end,Dortmund refused to rule him out of the World Cup.
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France are hoping to claim their second world title when they compete in Russia this summer but one man who is almost certain not to be part of that journey isKarim Benzema, who has not featured for his country since October 2015. The Real Madrid star does not hold much hope for the prospect of a recall ahead of the World Cup though, explaining his view that he will not be picked as long as Didier Deschamps is head coach.
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England will definitely have to make do without the services of Liverpool midfielderAlex Oxlade-Chamberlain, whosuffered a knee ligament injuryin the Reds Champions League semi-final first leg victory over Roma. The former Arsenal star sustained the injury while making a tackle and it comes as a major blow to both the player and Three Lions boss Gareth Southgate.
As well as that, personality clashes, bans and other issues can end up preventing players from taking part.
More players will undoubtedly join the aforementioned, particularly those who are considered major doubts to make the plane to Russia (see below), and we will keep you updated.
The 2018 World Cup is just over a month away and national team bosses are beginning to figure out and finalise the best possible squads to bring to Russia.
Germany could also find themselves without the services ofMesut Ozilafter it emerged that the Arsenal midfielder has suffered a recurrence of a back injury. Arsene Wenger indicated that the injury would rule Ozil out of the Gunners remaining Premier League games, which means he will be on the sidelines until mid May at the earliest. That still gives him a number of weeks to rest ahead of the tournament and the man himselfsays that he is surethat he will make a full recovery in good time.
Spain boss Julen Lopetegui, meanwhile, will have a decision to make over whether or not to bring the likes of Chelsea strikerAlvaro Morata, who has been struggling with persistent back and thigh problems this season, and ArsenalsHector Bellerin. The latter, in particular, has not featured forLa Rojasince 2016. France could have to make do without the services of left-backBenjamin Mendyfor the World Cup, with the Man City man only recently making a return to action following a serious cruciate knee ligament injury.
He will be joined on the sidelines by club-mateJoe Gomez, who had forced himself into contention, and even earned a Man of the Match award during the Three Lions draw with Brazil having kept Neymar quiet.Ankle surgery, however, has ended his hopes of heading to Russia.
The question of which players are definitely out of the 2018 World Cup will yield a much clearer answer as we get closer to the tournament in June, with coaches generally keen to give their playing pool the best possible chance of making the final cut. However, the cases of some players missing out are understood, if not officially communicated.
Iceland will be taking part in the World Cup for the first time in their history but they may have to do so without Everton midfielderGylfi Sigurdsson. The 28-year-old is undeniably one of the best talents at Heimir Hallgrimssons disposal, but a knee ligament injury in March has cast serious doubts over his availability for the tournament in June. Sigurdsson remains optimistic that he will be back to full fitness in time, but history has shown that knee injuries can be particularly problematic.
There had been vague suggestions – encouraged by the man himself – thatZlatan Ibrahimoviccould potentially make a return to the Sweden set-up for the World Cup, but the Swedish FA chief, Lars Richt, hasruled outany such possibility.
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A key member of Germanys 2014 World Cup-winning squad,Manuel Neuerhas had a season to forget thanks to successive injuries curtailing his involvement for Bayern Munich. The 32-year-old has returned to light training after fracturing his metatarsal and an April return has been mooted, which doesnt leave the goalkeeper much time. Joachim Low has indicated that Neuer is still in his plans for the tournament but, after missing so many games, as well as the form of Marc-Andre ter Stegen, he may not necessarily be number one.
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