Surprise Squad Omissions Ahead of The 2022 World Cup in Qatar

Ismail Ansar

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Surprise Squad Omissions Ahead of The 2022 World Cup in Qatar

The 2022 World Cup is just a few days away now, and we will see some of world football’s biggest stars representing their countries in world football’s biggest international tournament.

However, there will always be some players that do not receive a call-up despite the majority of fans and pundits expecting them to – and in this list, we take a look at a few of those players…

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Javier Hernandez - Mexico

Mexico’s all-time highest goalscorer Javier Hernandez has shockingly been left out for his country this year, despite playing and scoring in the last three World Cups for El Tri. With 52 goals and 109 caps to his name, Hernandez is arguably one of the best players Mexico has ever produced, and even at the age of 34, he is still doing what he does best.

Chicharito managed to score 18 goals for LA Galaxy in their recently-finished MLS campaign, but even those impressive numbers weren’t enough to secure him a first Mexico appearance since 2019. When asked about the selection, manager Tata Martino simply said, “In the case of Chicharito, we are simply going with other centre-forwards”.

Ivan Toney - England

Ivan Toney has been seriously impressive as the leading man for Brentford in their second season back in the top flight, with the forward having scored ten goals so far, just two shy of equalling his tally from the season prior.

Those ten goals include braces against defending champions Manchester City and Brighton, with Toney also bagging a hat-trick against Leeds United. In short, he has been one of the best players in the Premier League this season. And he was rewarded for his form with an international call-up back in September for England’s Nations League matches. He didn’t play at all, but it hinted that the striker had forced himself into Gareth Southgate’s mind for this tournament.

With the announcement of the England squad last week, Toney was not to be found on the squad list, with Callum Wilson being preferred ahead of the 26-year-old.

Sergio Ramos - Spain

The legendary centre-half, who was a part of the Spain squad that won this competition back in 2010, has not been called up by manager Luis Enrique for this year’s tournament. A call-up meant that Ramos would have been going to his fifth World Cup, but the likes of Aymeric Laporte, Eric Garcia and Pau Torres will all be going instead of him.

Despite his advancing years (Ramos is 36), he is still playing at the highest level for PSG, with 20 appearances domestically and in Europe for Les Parisiens this season, so why the exclusion? Luis Enrique hasn’t given a clear reason for it, but could Ramos’ recent injury troubles be playing on Enrique’s mind?

Ramos missed most of the 2021/22 season due to a calf injury, so despite his consistent run of matches this season, he has ultimately been left at home.

Thiago Alcantara - Spain

Thiago is the second Spanish player to feature in this list, and like Ramos, his exclusion is possibly due to injuries. The Liverpool midfielder has not featured for his country in a match since Euro 2020 – he was called up for Spain’s Nations League fixtures back in June but had to withdraw due to a muscular injury, and the midfielder was subsequently left out of the next batch of international fixtures in September as he was struggling with a hamstring problem.

Perhaps because of Thiago’s inability to stay fit, Luis Enrique has decided to leave the former Bayern man out of his squad. Enrique has called up midfielders Pedri, Gavi, Carlos Soler and Rodri however, and they are all perfectly capable of making up for Thiago’s absence, perhaps explaining why Enrique felt comfortable leaving out the talented 31-year-old.

Mats Hummels - Germany

German centre-back Mats Hummels has played for Die Mannschaft at their last five international tournaments, and was a part of the victorious 2014 World Cup side. But the 33-year-old has now been left out of what would’ve been a sixth consecutive international tournament for his country, and it’s not really clear why.

Perhaps manager Hansi Flick felt that at 33, Hummels was just too old to take and preferred to bring younger players instead, despite Hummels’ impressive performances for Borussia Dortmund this season.

Could it be due to Hummels’ lack of pace? Which although not a problem at previous tournaments under the management of Joachim Low, would represent a problem now due to the intense style of play that Flick likes his sides to carry out having frequently deployed high defensive lines at Bayer Munich.

Roberto Firmino - Brazil

Roberto Firmino was called up for his country at the last World Cup, but he has not featured for the Selecao since they lost to Argentina in the final of the Copa America in July last year.

The 31-year-old will continue to not feature, with the Liverpool forward being snubbed by manager Tite for this year’s World Cup. Tite opted to take the likes of Gabriel Jesus, Richarlison and Antony instead of Firmino, in a move that was a surprise to some.

Firmino has scored seven league goals so far this season, two more than Jesus and four more than both Antony and Richarlison combined, leaving many to question why Firmino has been left at home despite his good form so far this season.

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