World Cup 2022 LIVE: Brazil squad announcement as Dani Alves earns shock call-up and latest news

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The 2022 World Cup is almost upon us with managers frantically finalising their squads this week.

The deadline to confirm the 26-man squads is 13 November, a week before the tournament starts in Qatar with the hosts taking on Ecuador.

Brazil are expected to confirm their squad on Monday with Tite able to boast a plethora of exceptional attacking players, with the Selecao entering the tournament as favourites.

Gareth Southgate has plenty of issues to scrutinise over in the coming days, before the final squad is announced on Thursday, with injuries and breakout performances and form from the likes of James Maddison and Ben White.

Follow all the latest news and squad announcements from the 32 teams below:

World Cup news

Ben Chilwell adds to mounting list of England World Cup injury doubts

18:00 , Michael Jones

England’s preparations for the World Cup have been beset by injury concerns in recent weeks.

With three games of the domestic season left before the Qatar tournament begins, several Three Lions players are in a race against time to be fit for Gareth Southgate’s squad.

Here, the PA news agency takes a look at those in danger of missing out:

Ben Chilwell adds to mounting list of England World Cup injury doubts

Fifa tells World Cup teams to avoid ‘ideological or political battles’ in Qatar

17:45 , Michael Jones

Football’s top officials have urged the 32 teams preparing for the most political World Cup of the modern era to focus on the game in Qatar and avoid handing out lessons in morality.

A letter urging teams to “let football take centre stage” was sent by Fifa president Gianni Infantino and secretary general Fatma Samoura ahead of intense media focus on coaches and players when World Cup squads are announced next week.

“Please, let’s now focus on the football!” Infantino and Samoura wrote, asking the 32 soccer federations to “not allow football to be dragged into every ideological or political battle that exists”.

Qatar’s victorious World Cup hosting bid in 2010 sparked scrutiny on its treatment of low-paid migrant workers needed to build projects costing tens of billions of dollars, and its laws criminalizing same-sex relationships.

Fifa tells World Cup teams to avoid ‘ideological or political battles’ in Qatar

Klopp ‘doesn’t like’ idea of players having to send political messages over Qatar

17:30 , Michael Jones

Jurgen Klopp has said he doesn’t like the idea of football players having to send political messages about the World Cup in Qatar.

The Liverpool boss also believes journalists have been “guilty” of failing to write enough stories on the controversies surrounding the tournament.

“I watch it from a football point of view and I don’t like the fact that our players, from time to time, get in a position where they have to send a message,” Klopp said.

“We have to organise our players to go there, play and do the best for their countries.”

Klopp ‘doesn’t like’ idea of players having to send political messages over World Cup

Brazil: Players to watch

17:15 , Michael Jones

Lucas Paqueta

Lucas Paqueta scored the only goal in Brazil’s World Cup qualifier against Colombia in November 2021, confirming his side’s place at Qatar 2022.

The 25-year-old possesses all the skills required for effective build-up and attacking play and his place in the Brazil starting line-up is more or less guaranteed.

He developed an excellent understanding with Neymar in particular during the Qatar 2022 qualifying campaign, registering many goals and assists along the way and will likely be an important cog to transition Brazil from defence into attack.

 (REUTERS)
(REUTERS)

"I’m a queer Qatari. Think twice before you come to my country to protest the World Cup.”

17:00 , Michael Jones

“The moment Qatar was announced as the country hosting the 2022 World Cup, widespread condemnation followed — particularly from Western countries.

“Qatar is the first country in the MENA (Middle East and North Africa) region to host the world’s largest sports event, which is by no means a small feat. It is also something I personally take great pride in, as a Qatari with a family lineage deeply rooted in the country’s labyrinthine tribal network.

“But as a queer Qatari man who has endured insurmountable trauma, social and emotional abuse and prejudice — both from my own community and elsewhere — I am deeply worried about the inevitable “clash of civilisations” orientalist rhetoric from the West that has surrounded discussion of LGBT+ rights in my country.”

Opinion: Think twice before you come to Qatar to protest the World Cup

Reaction from Bruno Guimaraes

16:55 , Michael Jones

Here’s how Newcastle’s Bruno Guimaraes and his family found out he would be going to the World Cup in Qatar:

Brazil World Cup 2022 squad: Roberto Firmino misses out but Gabriel Martinelli included for Qatar

16:50 , Michael Jones

Arsenal forwards Gabriel Martinelli and Gabriel Jesus have been included in Brazil’s World Cup squad, but there is no place for Liverpool’s Roberto Firmino in manager Tite’s 26-man group.

Martinelli has been rewarded for his excellent start to the season for the Premier League leaders and joins a star-studded group of forwards that includes Neymar and Vinicius Junior, as well as Richarlison, Antony and Raphinha.

Firmino, who was included in Brazil’s 2018 squad, has scored eight times for Liverpool this season but misses out on a recall. Arsenal defender Gabriel Magalhaes is another notable absentee, with Chelsea’s Thiago Silva included along with Marquinhos and Bremer. Dani Alves, at 39, could also feature for the Selecao.

There are plenty of other Premier League players among Brazil’s midfield options, with Manchester United’s Casemiro and Fred, Liverpool’s Fabinho. Newcastle’s Bruno Guimaraes and West Ham’s Lucas Pacqueta all included.

Liverpool’s Alisson will compete with Manchester City’s Ederson for the starting goalkeeper spot, as Brazil seek to end their 20-year wait for a sixth World Cup title.

Roberto Firmino misses out on Brazil’s World Cup squad

Manchester United’s Antony reacts to World Cup squad announcement

16:44 , Michael Jones

Check out the reaction from Manchester United forward Antony when he discovered he’d been selected in Brazil’s Wolrd Cup squad:

Brazil World Cup 2022 squad guide: Full fixtures, group, ones to watch, odds and more

16:39 , Michael Jones

For a country where only the tag of winners acceptable, the past 20 years since their fifth World Cup triumph in South Korea & Japan has been disappointing for Brazil. And on one very memorable occasion, embarrasing.

The Selecao have been knocked out at the quarter-final stage in three of the last four World Cups: by France in 2006, Netherlands in 2010 and most recently by Belgium in Russia four years ago.

Yet it is the ghost of 2014 which still has scars which run deep: on home soil, Brazil were humiliated 7-1 by eventual winners Germany in the semi-finals on a chastening night in Belo Horizonte.

However, this crop of Brazilian stars are the favourites with the bookies in Qatar, off the back of a 2019 Copa America triumph and reaching the final of last year’s continental edition. So, can Neymar and Co claim a sixth title on the world stage this year? First, they have to progress from Group G, facing Serbia, Switzerland and Cameroon.

Here is everything you need to know:

Brazil World Cup 2022 squad guide, fixtures and ones to watch

Firmino misses out

16:31 , Michael Jones

Gabriel Jesus is handed a place in the squad after his bright start to the season with Arsenal but Liverpool’s Roberto Firmino is the big omission despite undergoing a resurgence for Jurgen Klopp’s side.

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Brazil squad announced

16:27 , Michael Jones

It’s an attacking squad named by Tite which plays well into Brazil’s free flowing and goal hunting style.

Arsenal’s Gabriel Martinelli makes the squad as does Antony from Manchester United and Richarlison of Tottenham who is currently injured but likely to be fit in time for the start of the tournament.

Looking at the squad there doesn’t seem to be many weaknesses for Brazil which puts them right in the mix as potential World Cup winners.

Brazil squad confirmed!

16:21 , Michael Jones

Brazil head coach, Tite, has announced the list of 26 players who will travel to Qatar for the World Cup. The list has 16 players who will compete in the World Cup for the first time.

Goalkeepers: Alisson - Liverpool (ENG), Ederson - Manchester City (ENG), Weverton – Palmeiras (BRA)

Defenders: Alex Sandro - Juventus (ITA), Alex Telles - Seville (ESP), Dani Alves – Pumas (MEX), Danilo - Juventus (ITA), Bremer - Juventus (ITA), Éder Militao - Real Madrid (ESP), Marquinhos - Paris Saint Germain (FRA), Thiago Silva - Chelsea (ENG)

Midfielders: Bruno Guimaraes - Newcastle (ENG), Casemiro - Manchester United (ENG), Everton Ribeiro - Flamengo (BRA), Fabinho - Liverpool (ENG), Fred - Manchester United (ENG), Lucas Paquetá - West Ham United (ENG)

Forwards: Antony - Manchester United (ENG), Gabriel Jesus – Arsenal (ENG), Gabriel Martinelli – Arsenal (ENG), Neymar Jr. - Paris Saint Germain (FRA), Pedro – Flamengo (BRA), Raphinha - Barcelona (ESP), Richarlison - Tottenham (ENG), Rodrygo - Real Madrid (ESP), Vinicius Jr. - Real Madrid (ESP)

World Cup 2022 kits: Every shirt ranked and rated

16:07 , Michael Jones

The Qatar World Cup is nearly upon us, and that means an array of delightful/grotesque international football shirts for us to enjoy/convulse over.

What do we think of Portugal’s bold diagonal stripe? Who has picked a mesmerising shade of red? Why have Argentina dressed like they need 144 off 20 overs? Is that... is that Jafar? Please do share your opinions in the comments below.

Here are the World Cup 2022 kits, ranked and rated from worst to best:

World Cup 2022 kits: Every shirt ranked and rated

Jurgen Klopp laments ‘disaster’ of injuries in final club games before World Cup

15:50 , Michael Jones

Jurgen Klopp believes it is a “disaster” for the players who will miss the World Cup because they get injured in club games in the weeks immediately before a winter tournament is crowbarred into the schedule.

A host of leading footballers have been ruled out of the competition in Qatar or are doubts for it after being hurt in recent fixtures, including Ben Chilwell, Timo Werner, Heung-Min Son and Takehiro Tomiyasu.

Normally players would have had a longer time to recover between their final club matches and the World Cup, and Klopp believes the current spate of injuries were predictable because of the “crazy” way the calendar has been organised.

The Liverpool manager said: “These problems were so clear and nobody mentioned it for one time until three or four weeks before the World Cup. Now all of a sudden players get injured and they say: ‘He cannot play the World Cup.’

Jurgen Klopp laments ‘disaster’ of injuries in final club games before World Cup

Ukraine FA urges Fifa to ban Iran from World Cup

15:35 , Michael Jones

The Ukrainian Association of Football has called for Iran to be excluded from the World Cup in Qatar.

The UAF’s executive committee says it has made a request to global governing body Fifa to kick Iran out of the tournament, which starts on November 20, over what it describes as the country’s “systematic human rights violations” and “the possible involvement of Iran in the military aggression of Russia against Ukraine”.

Iran are due to kick off their World Cup campaign against England on November 21.

Anti-government protests have engulfed the Middle East country since the death in custody of a 22-year-old woman, Mahsa Amini, on September 16.

Ukraine FA urges Fifa to ban Iran from World Cup

Brazil: Players to watch out for

15:20 , Michael Jones

Thiago Silva

It looks likely that Thiago Silva will be the only other player in the squad – along with Neymar – to have represented Brazil at the 2014 and 2018 World Cups. He is sure to be included in Tite’s squad and is still seen as one of the best centre-backs in the world despite being 38-years-old.

The Chelsea defender is excellent on the ball, is physically strength and reads the game extremely well, quickly closing off spaces in the back line. During his time with the Blues he has won the Champions League, the Super Cup and the Club World Cup.

Former Chelsea captain, John Terry said of Thiago: “I absolutely love him. To play so well at his age in the best league in the world is incredible. I wish I could have played like him. He does everything so well without taking any risks while keeping things simple.”

 (Chelsea FC via Getty Images)
(Chelsea FC via Getty Images)

Brazil: Players to watch out for

15:10 , Michael Jones

Marquinhos

One half of a formidable defensive partnership alongside Thiago Silva the 28-year-old Marquinhos is in his prime and brings a host of experience from one of Europe’s top leagues. He’s spent nine years at Paris Saint-Germain and made 250 appearances for the club but it’s his presence in the national side that could define his career.

Marquinhos is extremely agile, can cover plenty of ground and is comfortable on the ball. He has starred regularly for Brazil for many years and is seen as a true a leader on the pitch. With Brazil’s attacking talent guaranteed to score goals a long run through the tournament could come to down how solidly they are defensively and Marquinhos has a big role to play in that.

 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

Brazil: Players to watch out for

15:00 , Michael Jones

Neymar

The 30-year-old has been Brazil’s go-to star since 2014 and his influence on the team has only grown in recent years. The PSG forward is technically gifted and has made an incredible start to the season with the French side.

Neymar should be given the freedom to operate anywhere in the attacking third at the World Cup in Qatar and will play alongside a young, passionate forward partner which may just bring out the best in him.

 (REUTERS)
(REUTERS)

Richarlison thriving for Brazil and excited for the World Cup

14:45 , Michael Jones

Tottenham’s Brazilian forward Richarlison watched his home side on tv when they went to the Russia for the 2018 World Cup and hoped to play a part in the next one.

Since 2018 Richarlison has made himself a key part of the national side with only Neymar scoring more goals for this country than the 25-year-old. Richarlison has scored 16 in total including a penalty in the final of the 2019 Copa America in Brazil’s 3-1 victory over Peru at the Maracana which was something of a rite of passage.

“From the moment I put on the Seleção jersey, I felt good. I score goals, I make assists, I do it all for this jersey. I hope it stays that way. I was the top scorer at the Olympics, so I think it really suits me,” he explained.

“I would say that my favourite goal was the one from the Copa America final, because that’s how we won the title, and the Maracana stadium was jam-packed.

“I was only 22. My friends asked if I was crazy for taking that penalty. I said no, because I had trained for it. I’m the third penalty taker on the team. Neymar is ahead of me, but he wasn’t at the tournament. Coutinho had left the field so that left me.

“My first World Cup… it’s like a dream. Before, I only watched it on TV. I was a national team fan during the last World Cup, and now I’m going to be on the pitch fighting for every ball, for every tackle, so that we come out on top.”

Gary Neville queries whether England can trust ‘rash’ Trent Alexander-Arnold at World Cup

14:30 , Michael Jones

Former England defender Gary Neville is not convinced Gareth Southgate will be able to trust “rash” Trent Alexander-Arnold in the heat of World Cup battle.

Southgate names his squad for Qatar on Thursday with a debate raging over his options at right-back as a result of the Liverpool man’s lack of form and injuries to Reece James and Kyle Walker, leaving Kieran Trippier in pole position.

Neville is a fan of Alexander-Arnold as an attacking force, but is not sure he could start in a knockout game when the stakes are at their highest.

Speaking after Liverpool’s 2-1 Premier League win at Tottenham on Sunday, the former Manchester United full-back told Sky Sports: “At this moment in time, I can’t see how Gareth could go into a knockout game of a World Cup playing Trent Alexander-Arnold.

Gary Neville queries if England can trust ‘rash’ Trent Alexander-Arnold at World Cup

Qatar’s promise of ‘carbon-neutral’ World Cup raises doubts

14:15 , Michael Jones

In the 12-year run-up to hosting the 2022 men’s World Cup soccer tournament, Qatar has been on a ferocious construction spree with few recent parallels.

It built seven of its eight World Cup stadiums, a new metro system, highways, high-rises and Lusail, a futuristic city that ten years ago was mostly dust and sand.

For years, Qatar promised something else to distinguish this World Cup from the rest: It would be ‘carbon-neutral,’ or have a negligible overall impact on the climate. And for almost as long, there have been skeptics — with outside experts saying Qatar and FIFA‘s plan rests on convenient accounting and projects that won’t counteract the event’s carbon footprint as they advertise.

“It’s not very helpful for this type of event to market itself as carbon-neutral,” said Gilles Dufrasne, a researcher at the Brussels-based non-governmental organization Carbon Market Watch, which authored a report questioning Qatar’s sustainability plan. “It gives the impression that we can build massive state-of-the-art stadiums ... and fly people from all over the world to watch football matches and that’s somehow compatible with reaching climate targets.”

Qatar’s promise of ‘carbon-neutral’ World Cup raises doubts

Luka Modric poised for World Cup swansong with Croatia

14:00 , Jack Rathborn

It’s Luka Modric’s last World Cup for Croatia and the Real Madrid maestro will be determined to repeat his exploits in Russia.

Guiding Croatia to the final, where they came unstuck against France, saw Modric win the Ballon d’Or.

The 37-year-old will be in action in the warm-up friendly against Saudi Arabia before the opener against Morocco, plus subsequent fixtures against Canada and Belgium.

Netherlands World Cup 2022 squad guide: Full fixtures, group, ones to watch, odds and more

13:45 , Jack Rathborn

It’s been eight long years since the Netherlands last played a World Cup match, a 3-0 victory over Brazil that earned them the honour of third place in 2014. They return now with the same manager, Louis van Gaal, whose tactics made the Dutch one of the most entertaining teams in Brazil, but the trail left behind by his subsequent successors and then predecessors largely explains why the time in between their last World Cup appearances has been so long, as well as chaotic.

Missing out on Euro 2016 under Guus Hiddkink was followed by their failure to qualify for the 2018 World Cup under Dick Advocaat, as well as much soul-searching. The Netherlands seemed to regain their spark under Ronald Koeman and swiftly reached Euro 2020, but his departure to Barcelona left them in a lurch. The Dutch failed to impress on their return to a major tournament and there was little surprise when Frank de Boer departed just two days after their tepid round of 16 defeat to the Czech Republic.

And so up stepped Van Gaal, for his third spell in charge of the national team and first job since leaving Manchester United in 2016. Van Gaal - who earlier this year underwent a successful operation on an aggressive form of prostate cancer - inherited a squad that is less polished than the late golden era of 2014, but still one that is loaded with star talent. Virgil van Dijk, Frenkie de Jong and Matthijs de Ligt will feature at a World Cup for the first time and under Van Gaal, the Netherlands have rediscovered some of their joy, too.

Netherlands World Cup 2022 squad guide, fixtures and ones to watch

Phil Foden backed to emulate Paul Gascoigne’s Italia 90 heroics at World Cup

13:30 , Jack Rathborn

Phil Foden can emulate Paul Gascoigne’s Italia 90 heroics and fire England football team to World Cup glory, according to Paul Parker.

But the former Three Lions defender has warned the Manchester City ace to expect a rockier ride than at club level as he adapts to a less technical team.

Foden, 22, has already developed into a key presence in Gareth Southgate’s side after helping England reach last summer’s Euro 2020 final.

Phil Foden backed to emulate Paul Gascoigne’s Italia 90 heroics at World Cup

Kyle Walker and Kalvin Phillips ‘likely’ to be fit for World Cup, Pep Guardiola believes

13:15 , Jack Rathborn

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola believes it is “likely” injured England pair Kyle Walker and Kalvin Phillips will be fit before the World Cup.

Right-back Walker has been out since suffering an abdominal injury in the derby against Manchester United a month ago while midfielder Phillips underwent shoulder surgery in September.

Neither are yet ready to return but, despite the tournament in Qatar beginning in just over three weeks, Guardiola thinks they both still have time.

Pep Guardiola expects Kyle Walker and Kalvin Phillips to be fit for World Cup

World Cup-bound referee shows 10 red cards in Argentina cup final

13:00 , Jack Rathborn

Argentina’s Champions Trophy final between Boca Juniors and Racing Club descended into chaos on Sunday as referee Facundo Tello handed out 10 red cards amid a brawl between the two teams.

Tello, who is a World Cup referee and will be officiating at the Qatar tournament this month, sent off a total of seven Boca players and three from Racing, who won the match 2-1 in extra time.

Two red cards had already been dished out before full-time, following a clash between Boca’s Sebastian Villa and Racing’s Johan Carbonero, before Carlos Alcaraz’s 118th-minute winner sparked a melee.

Qatar World Cup-bound referee shows 10 red cards in Argentina cup final

When will England’s squad be announced for the World Cup 2022?

12:45 , Jack Rathborn

Gareth Southgate is preparing to manage England at a third major tournament as he begins to narrow down his squad for the 2022 Fifa World Cup in Qatar.

Fifa have permitted an expanded squad size for the tournament, with countries now permitted to include up to 26 players in their selection, with a minimum of 23.

Each nation’s final squad must be submitted by 13 November 2022, one week before the World Cup begins on 20 November.

When will England’s squad be announced for the World Cup 2022?

‘We all let it happen’: Jurgen Klopp left ‘angry’ over Qatar World Cup

12:30 , Jack Rathborn

“The situation makes you angry. How can it not?” asked Jurgen Klopp. It is no secret that he is a critic of a winter World Cup, but his anger was not merely a consequence of the congested fixture list or the injuries that seem to have resulted from it.

The Liverpool manager is aggrieved about the initial award of the tournament to Qatar, amid a backdrop of alleged corruption within the Qatari bid that continues to be denied. There is also the lack of scrutiny he feels their bid attracted both before it succeeded and since, and the human rights implications of building stadia in the scorching heat of the summer. He feels it is unfair to ask footballers and managers to make political stances when he believes the media failed. He laments the controversial vote in 2010, to the subterfuge and lack of accountability when many of the 21 voters were indicted or found guilty of corruption or banned for ethics violations.

“I watched an old documentary about the whole situation, about when it got announced that Russia and Qatar are the places for the next World Cups,” he said. “I think it was the first time in history they announced two in one go. We all know how it happened and that we can still let it happen, with no legal thing afterwards. Now it is open, now everybody knows, but still it was hidden and you think: ‘How can that all happen?’ It was 12 years ago. It’s nothing to do with Qatar. They won the World Cup and now it is there. But in the moment you put it there, all the things that followed it up were clear. And the people who were involved at that time should have known.

‘We all let it happen’: Jurgen Klopp left ‘angry’ over Qatar World Cup

Germany World Cup 2022 squad guide: Full fixtures, group, ones to watch, odds and more

12:15 , Jack Rathborn

Germany will look to restore their reputation as one of the most-feared sides in international football as they seek a record-equalling fifth World Cup trophy this winter.

Die Mannschaft became four-time world champions by triumphing in Brazil in 2014, overcoming Argentina in extra time of a tense final to add a fourth star – “der vierte Stern” – to their jersey. With that win, which ended Germany’s 24-year longing for a world title (and 18-year wait for major silverware), coach Joachim Low earned his place in the nation’s footballing history.

However, his team then suffered from the recent curse of World Cup winners exiting the subsequent world championship in the group stage, as Germany endured a torrid tournament in Russia in 2018 to bow out in meek fashion. It was a shocking showing from a national team that had reached the semi-finals of the Euros just two years earlier. Not since Euro 2004 had the country failed to qualify for the knockout stages of a competition.

Germany World Cup 2022 squad guide, fixtures and ones to watch

Brazil World Cup squad: Who will be Tite’s No 9?

12:00 , Jack Rathborn

The favourites are stacked everywhere, but one decision left for Tite is who will be Brazil’s No 9?

With Neymar likely out wide or in the hole, Richarlison could emerge as the centre-forward.

The Spurs man started against Ghana and Tunisia, scoring three goals to put himself in the driving seat for that role.

Gabriel Jesus and Roberto Firmino will be contending for a place in the squad.

While Pedro, Matheus Cunha and Gabriel Barbosa all remain candidates to add depth for Qatar.

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Brazil World Cup squad: Gabriel Magalhaes faces battle to make Selecao team

11:45 , Jack Rathborn

Gabriel Magalhaes has been impressive for Arsenal all season but Brazil’s strength in depth makes a place in the squad for Qatar an uphill battle.

Thiago Silva and Marquinhos are certain to go, which leaves two places.

Eder Militão is all but certain too and Gleison Bremer could beat out Gabriel to be the fourth choice centre-back.

Arsenal’s Gabriel Magalhaes has signed a new long-term deal at the club. (John Walton/PA) (PA Wire)
Arsenal’s Gabriel Magalhaes has signed a new long-term deal at the club. (John Walton/PA) (PA Wire)

BBC reveals Vincent Kompany, Didier Drogba and Gilberto Silva among its World Cup line-up

11:30 , Jack Rathborn

Didier Drogba and Vincent Kompany will be among the BBC’s expert analysts at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

The pair will line-up alongside Jurgen Klinsmann, Gilberto Silva, Laura Georges, Pablo Zabaleta and Mark Schwarzer in bringing international expertise to the BBC’s coverage.

Gary Lineker, Gabby Logan, Mark Chapman and Kelly Cates will present the World Cup across the BBC’s TV and radio formats, supported by a host of home-nation pundits including Alan Shearer, Rio Ferdinand, Micah Richards, Alex Scott, Jermaine Jenas and Ian Rush.

BBC reveals Kompany, Drogba and Gilberto Silva among World Cup line-up

Jurgen Klopp unhappy that players bear burden of taking a stand against Qatar World Cup

11:17 , Jack Rathborn

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp insists it is wrong for players at the forthcoming World Cup to be asked to take a stand against issues in Qatar as more scrutiny should have taken place previously.

Fifa has sent a letter to all competing nations at the tournament starting later this month asking them to focus on the football and not become involved in a number of social and human rights issues which have been raised since the country was awarded the event 12 years ago.

Thousands of migrant workers are alleged to have died building World Cup infrastructure while homosexuality is banned in Qatar.

Jurgen Klopp unhappy that players bear burden of taking a stand at Qatar World Cup

Fifa tells World Cup teams to avoid ‘ideological or political battles’ in Qatar

11:05 , Jack Rathborn

Football’s top officials have urged the 32 teams preparing for the most political World Cup of the modern era to focus on the game in Qatar and avoid handing out lessons in morality.

A letter urging teams to “let football take centre stage” was sent by Fifa president Gianni Infantino and secretary general Fatma Samoura ahead of intense media focus on coaches and players when World Cup squads are announced next week.

“Please, let’s now focus on the football!” Infantino and Samoura wrote, asking the 32 soccer federations to “not allow football to be dragged into every ideological or political battle that exists”.

Fifa tells World Cup teams to avoid ‘ideological or political battles’ in Qatar

Ben Chilwell injury: Chelsea and England defender ruled out of World Cup

10:55 , Jack Rathborn

Ben Chilwell has been ruled out of the World Cup with a hamstring injury in a major blow to both the Chelsea defender and England.

Chilwell limped out of Chelsea’s Champions League win over Dinamo Zagreb in midweek and a subsequent scan has revealed a “significant injury” just two weeks before the start of the tournament in Qatar.

Chelsea said in a statement: “Following the injury sustained in our recent game against Dinamo Zagreb, Ben has undergone a scan on his hamstring. Results show that Ben has suffered a significant injury and the defender is unfortunately expected to miss the World Cup. Ben will now begin a rehabilitation programme with the club’s medical department.”

Ben Chilwell ruled out of World Cup with hamstring injury

Portugal World Cup 2022 squad guide: Full fixtures, group, ones to watch, odds and more

10:45 , Jack Rathborn

Cristiano Ronaldo leads Portugal into what will surely be his last World Cup ahead of his 38th birthday in February.

And despite Fernando Santos’ somewhat outdated tactics and selection, the Selecao remain a real contender in Qatar.

With a plethora of talent in support of Ronaldo, including Bruno Fernandes and Bernardo Silva, but Diogo Jota is out injured, meaning Santos will have to find the right balance with the recent Nations League performances hardly encouraging.

Portugal World Cup 2022 squad guide, fixtures and ones to watch

Gabriel Martinelli set to miss out on Brazil squad?

10:30 , Jack Rathborn

Tite has an embarrassment of riches to choose from today, here are some of the options he faces:

Gabriel Martinelli has been one of the best Premier League players this season, helping to support Arsenal’s title bid.

But the Gunners star is on the outside looking in for a place in the Selecao’s squad, with Neymar and Vini Jr the starting wingers in all likelihood, although Neymar could switch to the No 10 role, with an extra attacking player in place of a third midfielder.

Beyond those two, Martinelli may be beaten to a place by Raphinha, Antony and Rodrygo.

Other forwards to consider will be Gabriel Jesus, Richarlison, Pedro and Roberto Firmino.

Gabriel Martinelli celebrates after heading Arsenal in front (Reuters)
Gabriel Martinelli celebrates after heading Arsenal in front (Reuters)

English FA and other European nations tell Fifa ‘human rights are universal’ ahead of Qatar World Cup

10:25 , Jack Rathborn

Ten European nations competing at the 2022 World Cup this winter in Qatar, including England, have responded to Fifa’s message to focus on football over politics by insisting “human rights are universal and they apply everywhere.”

England’s FA, along with the likes of Wales, Portugal, Sweden and Germany, released a joint statement pledging to ensure the game’s governing body followed through on promises to provide recompense to migrant workers, while also reiterating that football had to use its standing to drive improvements throughout the world.

Earlier this week, Fifa wrote to all involved nations amid rising criticism and perceived hostility toward the hosts, saying “let’s now focus on the football” and asking the 32 federations to “not allow football to be dragged into every ideological or political battle that exists”.

European FAs tell Fifa ‘human rights are universal’ ahead of Qatar World Cup

James Maddison is built for a World Cup – Leicester boss Brendan Rodgers

10:15 , Jack Rathborn

Leicester manager Brendan Rodgers insists James Maddison is “built for a World Cup” as the playmaker starred in their 2-0 victory at Everton.

The 25-year-old has not been picked by England since October 2019 but is still holding out hope of making the final cut for Gareth Southgate’s squad for the tournament in Qatar, which starts in 15 days.

He provided the assists for Youri Tielemans’s brilliant volleyed opener late in the first half and then teed up Harvey Barnes for an 86th-minute second to clinch a third victory in four matches to lift them out of the relegation zone.

James Maddison built for a World Cup, says Brendan Rodgers

Rio Ferdinand: Players should not be going to World Cup fearing racist abuse

10:08 , Jack Rathborn

The former England defender, who earned 81 caps for the Three Lions, has called on social media companies to do more for athletes he says are not afforded enough protection against virtual vitriol from keyboard warriors, with some incidents warranting criminal investigations.

Ferdinand, himself frequently subjected to attacks, expressed exasperation on behalf of players who could fly to Qatar fearing their lifelong dreams of playing on football’s biggest stage will be ruined by racism.

“I honestly think it probably will happen again,” he said. “It’s unfair. And I don’t think it’s just English players, I think it’s players of colour from all over the world who will be thinking this.

Rio Ferdinand: Players should not be going to World Cup fearing racist abuse

Antonio Conte confident Son Heung-min will be fit for World Cup

10:00 , Jack Rathborn

Tottenham boss Antonio Conte has eased fears surrounding Son Heung-min by expressing his confidence that the South Korea star will be fit to feature at the World Cup.

The Spurs attacker sustained a fracture around his left eye on Tuesday during their 2-1 win at Marseille following a collision with Chancel Mbemba.

It has left Son in a race against time to be available for the tournament in Qatar, which gets under way on November 20.

The 30-year-old had surgery on Friday and therefore missed Tottenham’s 2-1 defeat to Liverpool.

Antonio Conte confident Son Heung-min will be fit for World Cup

Japan World Cup 2022 squad guide: Full fixtures, group, ones to watch, odds and more

09:47 , Jack Rathborn

Japan will hope to break their recent trend of World Cup performances this winter, though they face a tough task in Group E as they go up against Germany, Spain and Costa Rica.

Since first playing at the tournament in 1998, Japan’s record has read: group-stage exit, last-16 defeat, group-stage exit, last-16 defeat, group-stage exit, last-16 defeat.

That form suggests another early flight home for the national team, and given the stiffness of competition in their group, there would be no surprise or shame in that. But coach Hajime Moriyasu, who played for Japan between 1992 and 1996, will look to help his country replicate their spirited showing from the 2018 World Cup as he manages the side at a world championship for the first time.