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Football World 2018: Who will play and who is not?

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Football World 2018 is all set to take place in Russia this year, in which 32 teams would be participating. For club football fans, this news comes with a happy as well as sad tinge. This is because for club fans, seeing their players play for different national teams is a very different experience. What will Messi do with the 22nd ranked team of Iceland? Or how will Ronaldo play against the average team of Iran? These are some moments always awaited by football fans. But in international football, the decision to play in a team for a player does not rest with the manager alone.

The 20 million pounds paid player Zlatan Ibrahimovic of Manchester United is playing for American club LA Galaxy on loan. The 36 years old player had announced his retirement in 2016, but had later said that if Sweden qualifies for the World Cup, then he would rethink his decision. However, the Swedish coach decided not to keep him in the team. The player who led Real Madrid to Champions League final, Karim Benzema, would also not be seen playing this year.

French coach, Didier Deschamps has not selected Karim in the national team after 2015. Karim has said on various occasions that while Deschamps is coach, his selection in the team is unlikely. The German player Leroy Sane who had been playing for British Manchester City club and Spanish striker Alvaro Morata, who had been playing for Chelsea; both have not made it to their national teams.

Not getting selected in a national team is obviously a disappointing phase for players, but even more so when a fit player preparing for the world cup gets injured. Liverpool’s star striker and Egyptian player Mo Salah is a victim of the same situation. Real Madrid’s goalkeeper Sergio Ramos’s tackle in the Champions League final injured Mo Salah and made his world cup participation ambiguous.

Liverpool’s medical team says that it has little time to get Mo Salah back on his feet because of which he might not be able to play the first match, which makes it difficult for Egypt who would be up against Uruguay. Neymar, who had been playing for French PSG club against Croatia after a 3 months hiatus stayed for 21 minutes on the pitch and also scored a goal. After the match, he said that he is 80 percent fit.

Even though Brazil’s team is big, still the fastest striker they have is Neymar. However, experts have warned that other team goal keepers might take advantage of his 80 percent fitness. He might be able to strike a goal against Croatia even with 70 percent fitness, but against Spain and Germany, he would need to be 100 percent fit.

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Adeel Sajjad

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