World Cup Squads update: Who’s off to Russia and who’s not?
Dave Burin | 16 May 2018
Some surprise inclusions and shock omissions
It’s now less than a month until the World Cup kicks off, and the nations involved are releasing their provisional squads left, right and centre.
The Coral News Team take a look at the relative unknowns who’ve made the cut and the big names who will be watching on TV back home…
There’s no room for sentimentality in Joachim Low’s squad. Mario Gotze may have netted the winning goal in the 2014 World Cup final, but there’s no place for the 25-year-old at this tournament.
Interestingly, Die Mannschaft are taking four goalkeepers. Despite being out injured since September, Manuel Neuer is in the provisional squad of 2017, having recently returned to training at Bayern Munich.
Veteran Mario Gomez has started just one of the national side’s last 15 games, but he’s amongst the current group. So too is six-cap defender Marvin Plattenhardt, the only inclusion from Hertha BSC.
There are no real surprises amongst the forward men. The likes of Neymar, Gabriel Jesus and Roberto Firmino have all made Brazil’s squad – in this case a final 23.
In defence, there are one or two more eyebrow-raising choices. Gremio centre-half Pedro Geromel has played just twice for Selecao, neither of them competitive appearances. Diminutive Corinthians right-back Fagner is another surprise pick.
Most of the European Champions’ heroes of 2016 have made the preliminary squad. Cristiano Ronaldo is obviously included, as are Luis Nani and Eder, whose goal against France secured a first major trophy in Portugal’s history.
However, following a disrupted and frankly dismal campaign, Renato Sanches won’t be heading on a plane to Russia. Having won the Young Player of the Tournament award at Euro 2016, that would’ve been unthinkable 18 months ago. How fast football changes…
Jorge Sampaoli’s current list includes 35 players, so it remains tricky to say who’ll be included for sure. However, the likes of Lionel Messi, Sergio Aguero and Angel Di Maria are more-or-less certain to be heading to football’s global showpiece.
One surprise omission in the 35 is Tottenham Hotspur ace Erik Lamela. Despite a strong finish to the season, there’s no place for him on the plane. Nor for veteran Carlos Tevez or the creative Javier Pastore.
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