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So near, yet so far: Three Players Who Pulled Out Of the 2022 World Cup through injury

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So near, yet so far: Three Players Who Pulled Out Of the 2022 World Cup through injury

The 2022 World Cup is underway, as teams across the globe battle it out for international football’s most coveted prize.

Despite many star names on offer, some of the game’s greatest players have been absent through late injury problems.

Karim Benzema (France)

In devastating pre-tournament developments for France, the Ballon d’Or winner will not feature in Qatar. Les Bleus confirmed on November 20 that leading front man Karim Benzema was injured in training.

A hip problem three days before their opener ruled the striker out for three weeks. It is the first time a World Cup has been without the current Ballon d’Or winner since 1978. In that tournament, Denmark’s Allan Simonsen was unable to feature.

France still poses a threat without Benzema, though, with winner’s odds of 11/2 in World Cup bets. His 44 goals and 15 assists in 2021-22 will be missed, as he was tipped to be the tournament’s Golden Boot winner.

Unsurprisingly, Argentina’s Lionel Messi is near the top of World Cup Top Goalscorer Odds at 7/1, although France do have firepower upfront.

With record-breaker Olivier Giroud and Antoine Griezmann pulling the strings, they have an impressive squad. For Benzema, he misses out on a first World Cup appearance since 2014 after a spell in international isolation.

Marco Reus (Germany)

Injuries have been a problem throughout Reus’ career, and Qatar 2022 was no different. The 33-year-old missed Germany’s triumphant 2014 campaign through an ankle injury.

A groin problem then ruled him out of Euro 2016, and he was not selected for Euro 2020. Reus’ only notable major tournament to date was Germany’s catastrophic World Cup group stage exit in 2018.

Dortmund was lumbering down in sixth at the turn of the international break.

Reus, though, was on fine form, with three goals and four assists in twelve games. As a result, Hansi Flick would have likely called upon him in his Germany squad.

However, ankle issues suffered in late November put paid to that, with Reus ruled out of another tournament.

His absence in 2022 will rob him of a chance of redemption for 2018’s failures. Germany, meanwhile, boast a relatively unknown squad due to injuries elsewhere, such as to Timo Werner.

Sadio Mane (Senegal)

Arguably the most significant injury to an individual team, Sadio Mane will be sorely missed by Senegal. The 30-year-old was on blistering form for Bayern Munich since his move in the summer.

He has 11 goals and four assists in 23 matches across all competitions this season.

Captain of his national team, Mane is a crucial player for the Lions of Teranga. He boasts 33 goals in 92 caps for Senegal, including a vital contribution in their 2022 AFCON victory.

However, Mane suffered a knee injury that saw him withdrawn within 20 minutes of Bayern’s 6-1 win over Werder Bremen. Despite issues persisting throughout November, Mane was still included in Aliou Cissé’s 26-man squad to play in Qatar.

Eventually, nine days after the injury occurred, Senegal confirmed his absence. It was revealed that the Bayern man and second-placed Ballon d’Or player would need knee surgery.

That leaves the Lions of Teranga without their captain, with Kalidou Koulibaly stepping up in his place.

While household names may be absent, this has allowed more opportunity for new players to shine. Qatar 2022 is proving to be a World Cup like no other, not least for the significant absentees on this list.

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Salman Ahmad is a seasoned writer for CTN News, bringing a wealth of experience and expertise to the platform. With a knack for concise yet impactful storytelling, he crafts articles that captivate readers and provide valuable insights. Ahmad's writing style strikes a balance between casual and professional, making complex topics accessible without compromising depth.

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