- Copy link
The 2022 World Cup in Qatar is starting to take shape and this Friday at 6.00pm CEST, Doha is hosting the draw for the eight first round groups.
29 of the 32 teams are decided, while eight others still have playoffs to complete before we know the other three, but we can rest assured that there will be plenty of Barça presence at the competition that begins next November 21.
The club’s record representation was 14 players at the last edition in Russia 2018, and there is every chance that that could be broken this time round. Of course, a lot could happen between now and November, with players leaving or arriving, but as things stand all of the following players are in line for a place in Qatar.
Luis Enrique is a fervent admirer of the club he has played for and coached, and typically bases much of his project around Barça blood. There are no fewer than nine players in the current squad that he could potentially pick: Jordi Alba, Eric Garcia, Sergio Busquets, Sergi Roberto, Gavi, Pedri, Ferran Torres, Adama Traore and Ansu Fati.
He has used all of these in the past, and there is also Nico González, who has yet to make his senior debut but is one of the lynchpins of the U21 team, and if he continues to develop as he is, then he us also a strong candidate to play for the country that will be looking to repeat its success of 2010, when it came back from South Africa with the trophy.
Having reached the final three times in the past, the Dutch are always strong candidates at the World Cup and they too are coached by a former Barça coach, in their case Louis van Gaal. He too has Barça talent to draw on, namely midfield maestro Frenkie de Jong, prolific goalscorer Memphis Depay and aerial specialist Luuk de Jong.
The champions in both 1998 and at the last edition in 2018 have a wealth of talent in every position, and although all of Ousmane Dembélé, Clement Lenglet and Samuel Umititi have extensive experience for Les Bleus, they will still have to work hard to earn Didier Deschamps’ nod of approval.
Germany are looking to match Brazil’s record of five World Cup wins, and Marc André Ter Stegen is an automatic choice for coach Hansi Flick, although captain Manuel Neuer continues to be the usual first choice between the sticks for Die Mannschaft.
The Danes were the surprise package at Euro 2020, going all the way to the semi-finals and being very unfortunate to miss out on a place in the final to England. Martin Braithwaite has always been a favourite pick of manager Kasper Hjulmand.
The only country to have never missed a World Cup, and winners a record five times, are always a huge attraction. They finished top of the Conmebol qualifying group, helped along the way by right-back Dani Alves who is defying his age to continue delivering for his country.
Uruguay is noted for its defenders, and with the Godin-Gimenez pairing dominating the centre, Diego Alonso has been opting to field 23-year-old Ronald Araujo at right-back. The Barça star has been impeccable for club and country, helping them to third place and a direct berth in the finals when early on in the competition there was a serious danger that they might miss out altogether.
Sergiño Dest missed the decisive games for the USMNT through injury, but after failing to qualify for Russia 2018, the US are back after finishing third in the Concacaf qualifying zone and the Barça full-back is likely to feature prominently in their plans.
Ez Abde finally declared allegiance to the country of his birth and was named in the squad that trounced the Democratic Republic of the Congo 5-2 on aggregate to qualify for their sixth World Cup. Fitness issues meant he was unable to make his debut, but there is plenty of time between now and November for the young winger to consolidate his place among the Atlas Lions.
- Copy link