The Biggest Names Playing at the 2022 World Cup

The Biggest Names Playing at the 2022 World Cup

The biggest names playing in the 2022 FIFA World Cup originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston.

Every four years, the World Cup brings both casual and dedicated fans together for a global spectacle. It’s time in Qatar to welcome the 32 teams that will compete for international glory.

While many players have been sidelined by injury in recent weeks, there is no shortage of talent taking to the pitch in Qatar. Many of the favorites, from Ronaldo to Messi to Lewandowski, are still in the game, but a new era of footballers is also in the spotlight.

Here are some of the biggest names to be aware of ahead of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

Cristiano Ronaldo, Portugal

Despite being led by one of the best players in the world, Portugal have struggled to break through the same weight as their European counterparts in the World Cup. They have only finished in the top 10 twice, the last time they finished fourth was in 2006 when 21-year-old Ronaldo was in the lead.

At 37, it’s fair to assume that Qatar could be Ronaldo’s swan song at the World Cup. Portugal are heavily dominated in Group H (Korea, Ghana and Uruguay) so Ronaldo has all the preconditions for an impressive performance.

Thomas Müller, Germany

Müller burst onto the scene at the 2010 World Championships and has cemented his name in the record book ever since. He shocked the world in South Africa by winning the Golden Boot, awarded to the tournament’s top scorer, for his five goals – all before the age of 21.

Following his electric debut, he scored five more goals in his second World Cup campaign. That performance in 2014 was good for the silver boot as the second scorer and the silver ball, in fact, the second-place MVP of the tournament. Oh, and winning the World Cup.

Müller hasn’t been as dominant in the World Cup as he has been lately, with Germany eliminated in the group stage in 2018. However, if history bears witness, Müller has a linkage gene that could come at a cost to any team that underestimates the German. detachment.

Lionel Messi, Argentina

Now or never for Messi. The legendary forward has just about every award imaginable… except for an elusive win at the World Championships. He came close to winning in 2014 playing in neighboring Brazil, but was thwarted in the 113th minute when German striker Mario Gotze scored the winning goal in goal.

Luckily for the 35-year-old, the current squad is becoming the strongest team in Argentina in the past two decades. If teammates Paulo Dybala and Angel Di Maria can recover from their injuries and stay healthy throughout the group stage, Messi is in a good position to make another try.

Kylian Mbappe, France

After the last World Cup, Kylian Mbappe was doing well. In Russia, Mbappe joined Pelé as the second teenager ever to score in a World Cup final, scoring the fourth and final goal in France’s defeat of Croatia.

Since then, the 23-year-old PSG striker has never ceased to amaze. He recently signed a deal rumored to make him the highest paid player in the world and just appeared on the cover of FIFA for the third time in a row.

With Mbappe playing alongside Karim Benzema, France boasts one of the most formidable offensive units at the top. With N’Golo Kante and Paul Pogba rarely injured, Mbappe has another incredible game ahead of him if France wants to defend their title and become the first team to repeat the title since Brazil in 1962.

Harry Kane, England

The current Golden Boot winner is back and the number of eliminations has never been higher. Until a few weeks ago, England hadn’t won a major international trophy in over half a century. They have finished in fourth place twice since winning the 1966 World Cup, most recently in 2018, but failed to close a deal. Then the Lionesses appeared.

The women’s team electrified the country with their UEFA win last month and the jokes were almost self-made and many were quick to ridicule the men’s team as they continue to struggle to succeed in the brightest light.

Kane has a chance to set a record in Qatar. England is currently ranked 5th in the FIFA standings. It’s only Kane’s second World Cup appearance, but the 29-year-old striker has every chance of climbing the all-time leaderboard thanks to his high-scoring tournament play.

Son Heung-min, South Korea

Son and Kane usually do a package deal, but the Tottenham duo will temporarily break up in November.

You will be hard-pressed to find a player who has had more of a personal impact on his team than Son. Under Son’s leadership and his success in the Premier League, football in South Korea continues to gain momentum. He ends a Golden Boot campaign in which he and Liverpool’s Mo Salah led the Premier League in scoring with 23 goals.

Son’s World Cup hopes were jeopardized last week after breaking his left eye in a Champions League match. However, the 30-year-old underwent surgery and assured fans at home on Wednesday that he would be in good shape and cleared to compete in Qatar.

Korea put together a relatively easy group, with the toughest competition coming from Portugal. They will still need to get past Uruguay and Ghana, but Son and Korea definitely have a chance to make it out of the group stage.

Neymar, Brazil

It’s hard to single out an outstanding player in a team as strong as Brazil, but Neymar continues to be in a league of his own.

The striker ranks fourth in the number of caps in Brazilian history and is second only to Pele himself in the number of caps for the national team. At club level, he is one of the most talented and sought-after talents. He has teamed up with France’s Mbappe since 2017 when the Brazilian joined him for a record €222 million.

Neymar has inherited a Brazilian football tradition that is almost as rich as the World Cup itself. Although Brazil have won a record five championships, they have not won since 2002. This 20-year dry spell is the second longest in World Cup history.

Christian Pulisic, USA

Despite his lack of World Cup experience in Qatar, Pulisic’s legacy is well under way. For the better part of a decade, the Pennsylvania native was hailed as the second coming of Landon Donovan and a much-needed savior of the USMNT.

So far it has lived up to extremely high expectations. Throughout his early career, he set almost every standard, including becoming the youngest player to score for the United States in the modern era and being named the youngest captain in team history at age 20, earning him the nickname “Captain America”. At club level, Pulisic has a $73 million contract with Chelsea, the most for an American on the world stage.

While he still gives US fans a lot to rejoice about, the pressure in Qatar will be at an all-time high as all the attention will be on the geeks. He will have the chance to take on many Premier League opponents in Group B, which includes England, Wales and Iran.

Alphonso Davis, Canada

The path to the World Championships for both Davis and Canada was far from easy.

Davis was born to Liberian parents in a refugee camp in Ghana. In 2005, his family moved to Canada, where he became interested in football. From a young age, he excelled on the pitch, but reportedly struggled with a language barrier when he worked to learn English. He remained a Liberian citizen until 2017, when he received Canadian citizenship.

Even after obtaining citizenship, he had to wait five years to represent Canada on the world stage. However, many Canadians have been waiting for this day long before Davis was born.

The only time Canada has competed in a World Cup was in 1986 when they finished 24th out of 24 teams.

Like Son, Davis is the heart and soul of this national team. Canada’s chances at the World Cup, however, nearly dropped last weekend when Davis lost in a Bundesliga match. After confirming that he has injured his hamstring and will miss his next two club matches, the 22-year-old has confirmed he will be ready to play in Qatar.

Canada will have a lot to do with Belgium, Croatia and Morocco in the group stage, but it’s hard not to be happy for Davis and the Maple Leafs to cause upset.

Kevin De Bruyne, Belgium

De Bruyne, the latest in a long line of talented Belgian footballers, is set to give Belgium its first-ever World Cup victory.

Over the past two World Championships, De Bruyne has glimpsed what he is capable of, but has tended to play a more complimentary role. A lot has changed in four years, and De Bruyne is ready to take the reins of power into his own hands.

De Bruyne proved he had what it takes to come out of the Premier League season in which he led Manchester City to their best regular season record and was named Player of the Season for the second time in his career.

Belgium is consistently ranked among the best teams in the world. Will De Bruyne be the answer to their prayer for a long-awaited title?

Virgil van Dijk, Netherlands

Believe it or not, 2022 is the first World Championship with Virgil van Dijk. The 31-year-old Dutchman was a top player in international football, often sporting slicked-back hair and a low bun. But he is still as experienced as the next wide-eyed youngster to make his World Championship debut.

Despite the Netherlands finishing in the top three in the 2010 and 2014 tournaments, the Netherlands failed to qualify in 2018, much to the shock of the entire football world. Meanwhile, van Dijk, who didn’t make the team until 2015, waited another four years to compete on the world stage.

Van Dijk is known for his physical strength and vocal leadership on the back line. Strikers and strikers, from Messi to Norwegian Erling Haaland, have lamented that van Dijk defies any offense.

Robert Lewandowski, Poland

Lewandowski is now synonymous with Polish football. He holds not only the national record for the number of goals (132), but also the record for the number of goals for the national team (76).

Lewandowski is one of the most revered footballers of the 21st century, known for his technical skills and ability to remain undetected in the box. Lewandowski also played a key role in Bayern Munich’s eight consecutive Bundesliga wins, leading the German league in scoring for a record seven of those seasons.

Poland returned to the World Cup in 2018 after a 12-year hiatus, with Lewandowski playing every minute of the group stage. His efforts were not enough to move his country forward.

Luka Modric, Croatia

Modric makes everyone around him better. He is so special.

The Croatian midfielder made his way in the club league at home before moving to the Premier League in 2008, where he led Tottenham to their first Champions League game in over four decades. From there he moved to Real Madrid, where he won five Champions League trophies and the Ballon d’Or, awarded to the best player in the world.

On the national stage, Modrić spearheaded a renaissance in Croatian football. In 2018, Croatia shocked the world by reaching the final, where Modrić was awarded the Ballon d’Or, given to the best player of the tournament, despite losing 4-2 to France.

Age is really just a number for Modric. At 36, he continues to win at a high level and will be an important part of Croatia’s attempt to return to the final in Qatar.

Written by khirou

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