With this year’s World Cup just a few weeks away, the countdown to Qatar 2022 has been somewhat different, with club matches still in full swing ahead of the tournament’s November 20 kick-off.

As well as domestic leagues, European competitions are also involved in the build-up to the World Cup, and “unique winter training” means many of the world’s best players will be playing club football “right up to a week before the World Cup kicks off”, he said. Sports life. With fitness now becoming a major concern, the busy schedule has worried some players as they could miss Qatar through injury.

Argentina captain Lionel Messi, who will play in his final World Cup at the age of 35, admitted he is “more scared” after team-mates Paulo Dybala and Angel Di Maria suffered injuries in recent weeks. “Crowds are a concern,” he said seven-time winner of the Golden Ball. said DirecTV Sports. “It’s a different World Cup at a different time of the year than previous tournaments and it’s so inevitable that any little thing that happens to you can put you out.”

Condensed schedule

Manchester United defender Raphael Varane left the pitch in tears at the weekend after picking up an injury against Chelsea. A World Cup winner for France in 2018, the 29-year-old fell awkwardly and was substituted in the 60th minute at Stamford Bridge. The extent of his injury is yet to be confirmed, but the defender faces a race against time to be fit for the reigning world champions.

Varane is the latest big name to be injured ahead of the World Cup. Chelsea’s N’Golo Kante, Varane’s France team-mate, is out, as is Portugal forward Diego Hota.

That’s what happens when you “plan the World Cup in the middle of the season,” James Sharp said Mail on Sunday. The tournament comes at a time in the calendar when “injuries tend to spike due to a tight schedule” and “even more matches are pushed in to make up for lost time.”

Big decisions for team leaders

Although not all have been announced, the 32 qualified nations have made their preliminary squads down to 55 players. They must then whittle that number down to 26 and submit a final squad list by November 13 – seven days before the opening game in Qatar. FIFA will confirm all squads on November 14.

For any injured players from now on, “managers have to make a clear decision,” Chuck Booth said on CBS Sports. The World Championship in Qatar presents “a lot of big unknowns” and the injury problem is one that team bosses “have to deal with on the fly”. Managers will need to “determine the risk” and balance the “importance of an injured player” against squad depth.

Pep “smells” fear

Chelsea manager Graham Potter has admitted that some players are “subconsciously” worried deep down. “If we don’t think of them as human beings and think about it on some level, I think we’re a little naive,” he said. Chelsea captain Cesar Azpilicueta is also worried about the risk of burnout London Evening Standard reported. As players, “you want to go to the World Cup,” said the Spanish defender. “The truth is that we fight a lot for the welfare of the players because the schedule is crazy. Sometimes you have to take everything into account.”

However, there is one Premier League manager who is “not paying attention to the upcoming tournament”, Joe Bray told the Manchester Evening News. Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola has warned that if any player is focusing on his international chances more than the rest of the club’s run-up to the World Cup, he will not feature for the reigning champions.

“He won’t play if I smell that,” Guardiola said of any player holding back to avoid injury in the coming weeks. “I can smell this very well. Tactics – no, but I’m really good at smells.