Bengaluru, June 13: The FIFA World Cup is just hours away and all the teams have been finalized to take centre stage in Russia from June 14 to July 15.
In this edition of the FIFA World Cup, 32 countries have made the cut to the final stages and all of them have been pooled into eight groups of four each.
The top two from each group qualify for the knockouts (Round of 16) until one winner emerges at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow on July 15.
Players wait a long time to receive the most-awaited call ups for their national team. This is even more special when the call up comes for an elite tournament like the World Cup. However, luck sometimes doesn’t favor the brave as players are hit with serious injuries and miss their ticket to the competition.
Now, let us a take look at the list of the injured players that couldn’t make it to the World Cup:
1) Sergio Romero (Argentina): Knee injury
The Argentine goalkeeper was supposed to be the number 1 choice in goal, but a long-standing knee injury forced him out of the squad. His experience will surely be missed considering he has played two World Cups for Argentina. The 31-year-old said that he suffered the injury after a kick by Diego Costa during a friendly with Spain on March 27, where Argentina lost 6-1.
2) Dani Alves (Brazil): Knee injury
With doubts of losing Neymar, Brazil were put in more misery as Dani Alves was ruled out just three weeks before the World Cup. Alves played in the previous two World Cups and has 107 appearances. Paris Saint-Germain confirmed he’ll need surgery after injuring his knee in the final of the Coupe de France, which PSG won 2-0.
3) Laurent Koscielny (France): Achilles Tendon
Probably the biggest blow to any team this World Cup was to France. Laurent Koscielny’s ankle injury in Arsenal’s defeat to Atletico Madrid in the UEFA Europa League not only meant he’ll miss the World Cup, but also that France lost their most experienced player. Koscielny will miss at least six months of action and won’t return until December.
4) Joe Gomez (England): Ankle injury
Although it might be a topic of debate whether Joe Gomez would’ve been included in the England squad, his ankle injury made sure he won’t participate. Incidentally, Gomez injured himself on international duty in March and has not been fit since. The 20-year old was in contention for a spot in the England squad considering the faith that Gareth Southgate put in his youngsters.
5) Frank Fabra (Colombia): ACL Rupture
Colombia will be without first-choice left-back Frank Fabra at the World Cup after he suffered an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) rupture just 10 days before the World Cup. After sustaining an injury to his left knee at Colombia's training camp in Italy, Fabra was ruled out with no replacement available. However, defender Farid Diaz was called up just days before Colombia begin their campaign.
6) Lars Stindl (Germany): Ankle injury
Captain of Borussia Monchengladbach, Stindl was a part of the 2017 Confederations Cup win. However, with the likes of Leroy Sane and Mario Gotze dropped, Stindl would have anyway failed to make the cut. Nonetheless, his injury in late April ruled him out anyway.
7) Alex Oxalade-Chamberlain (England): Knee injury
The Ox injured his knee in the UEFA Champions League semi-final first leg win over AS Roma and not only missed the final against Real Madrid, but also his ticket to Russia. Unlike Joe Gomez, Chamberlain was a sure shot selection in the England squad.
8) Dimitri Payet (France): Hamstring injury
The Marseille man injured his hamstring in the UEFA Europa League final against Atletico Madrid. Payet, who was responsible for a tackle that denied Cristiano Ronaldo to play any part in Portugal’s Euro final win in 2016, will miss the World Cup himself this year with an injury.
9) Aleksandr Kokorin (Russia): ACL injury
The Zenit striker ruptured cruciate ligaments in his right knee during a Europa League clash with RB Leipzig. The striker has earned 48 caps for Russia, scoring 12 goals, and his absence leaves Krasnodar's Fyodor Smolov as their top striker for the tournament.
10) Manuel Lanzini (Argentina): Torn ACL
The Argentine forward could miss out on football action for almost a year, with the extent of his injury yet to be analysed. Lanzini claimed, "When I turned, I didn't set my foot firmly on the ground and all my weight fell on my knee. I knew instantly that it was going to be very bad." However, it’ll be tough to say if Argentina will miss Lanzini considering the formidable attack they boast with the likes of Messi, Aguero, Dybala and Di Maria.
11) Nicklas Bendtner (Denmark): Groin inury
Fans were desperate to see him in action and even started a petition for the start of the tournament to be delayed to allow the self-described “best striker in the world” enough time to recover. But after failing to recover in time, head coach Age Hareide confirmed the striker will miss out on Russia. Bendtner suffered a Groin injury while playing for his club Rosenborg.
Luck did favor a few brave ones who look to be fit just in time for the World Cup. Brazil’s Neymar made his recovery in time and scored goals in the warm up matches. Mohammed Salah shrugged off his Champions League final tackle from Sergio Ramos to catch the flight from Egypt. While, Vincent Kompany too made it to the final squad of Belgium. Mpabbe and Rashford were the latest victims, but they were minor knocks.