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How the 2022 Qatar World Cup will affect the biggest European teams

Real Madrid, Barcelona, Man City, Liverpool, Bayern Munich, Chelsea, Juventus, Man Utd… A mid-season international tournament could have serious implications.

Salah y Benzema.

As the elite teams around Europe compete for their domestic titles as well as continental glory in the UEFA Champions League and Europa Cup, a star-studded competition in Qatar makes it an unusually complicated season for the respective managers. No club is unaffected by the six-week break in proceedings for the Qatar World Cup, but FIFA’s showpiece tournament - one that was controversially handed to the Middle East country back in 2010 with a predictably broken promise not to change the scheduling - but some are certainly harder hit than others.

Clearly there are various factors at play here. First you have the simple fact of players heading off with their national teams and out of their familiar club routine, especially given the conditions that they will be facing in Qatar. Second we have to consider how long each of those players is likely to be away: only four teams can reach the semi-finals, which take place around a week before the resumption of the domestic league action. And then there is the question of psychology and how they will return to their day jobs if under/over performing for their country.

For those players left behind, in particular the top stars of the teams, mid-November to late December provides a chance for them, along with their manager and coaching staff, to reflect on the first few months of the season, rest as appropriate, and fine tune themselves for the restart. As their travelling teammates rejoin the group following their FIFA exit, so this momentum of preparation can build.

Which teams have qualified for the Qatar World Cup 2022 finals?

The following 32 national teams will be represented in Qatar, split into eight groups, A to H:

Group A

Qatar, Ecuador, Senegal and Netherlands

Group B

England, IR Iran, USA and Wales

Group C

Argentina, Saudi Arabia, Mexico, Poland

Group D

France, Australia, Denmark and Tunisia

Group E

Spain, Costa Rica, Germany and Japan

Group F

Belgium, Canada, Morocco and Croatia

Group G

Brazil, Serbia, Switzerland and Cameroon

Group H

Portugal, Ghana, Uruguay and Korea Republic

When will players return to clubs after World Cup 2022?

Clearly the pride that a player has pulling on the shirt of his national team will mean he’ll want to progress as deep into the competition as possible. Club managers and fans may feel somewhat less enthusiastically, unless the share the same nationality. Here are some of the important dates to help you know when to expect your stars home…

  • 21 November: World Cup kicks off with group stages
  • 2 December: group stage ends
  • 3 December: round of 16 begins
  • 6 December: round of 16 ends
  • 9/10 December: quarter-finals
  • 13/14 December: semi-finals
  • 17 December: 3rd place
  • 18 December: final

Which top club players are going to the World Cup?

Let’s take a look at the key players from some of Europe’s biggest clubs who are either going (assume selected) or staying…

Premier League - break 13 November to 26 December

Manchester City

Going: 17 in contention including Kyle Walker, John Stones, Phil Foden, Raheem Sterling and Jack Grealish (England), Ruben Dias, Aymeric Laporte and Rodri (Spain), Kevin De Bruyne (Belgium), Bernardo Silva and Joao Cancelo (Portugal), Ilkay Gundogan (Germany), Nathan Ake (The Netherlands), Emerson (Brazil), Julian Alvarez (Argentina), Zack Steffen (USA)

Staying: Erling Haaland (Norway), Riyad Mahrez (Algeria),


Going: 12 in contention including Alisson Becker (Brazil), Virgil van Dijk (Netherlands), Darwin Nunez (Uruguay) and Fabio Carvalho (Portugal)

Staying: Mohamed Salah (Egypt), Luis Diaz (Colombia), Joel Matip (Cameroon), Andy Robertson (Scotland), Caoimhin Kelleher (Rep. Ireland), Naby Keïta (Guinea), Konstantinos Tsimikas (Greece)


Going: 20 in contention including Edouard Mendy (Senegal), Thiago Silva (Brazil), N’Golo Kante (France), Mateo Kovacic (Croatia), Kai Havertz (Germany), Christian Pulisic (United States), Kalidou Koulibaly (Senegal), Marc Cucurella (Spain) and Raheem Sterling (England)

Staying: Jorginho (Italy), Billy Gilmour (Scotland)

Manchester United

Going: 15 in contention including Marcus Rashford (England), Jadon Sancho (England), Raphael Varane (France), Anthony Martial (France), David de Gea (Spain) and Casemiro (Brazil)

Staying: Scott McTominay (Scotland), Victor Lindelof (Sweden), Anthony Elanga (Sweden)

Tottenham Hotspur

Going: 17 in contention including Hugo Lloris (France), Cristian Romero (Argentina), Giovani Lo Celso (Argentina), Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg (Denmark), Son Heung-Min (South Korea), Harry Kane (England), Joe Rodon (Wales), Ben Davies (Wales), Steven Bergwijn (Netherlands), Rodrigo Bentancur (Uruguay), Ivan Perisic (Croatia), Emerson Royal (Brazil)

Staying: Dejan Kulusevski (Sweden), Yves Bissouma (Mali)


Going: 14 in contention including Gabriel Jesus, Gabriel Martinelli, Gabriel Magalhaes (all Brazil), Bukayo Saka, Ben White, Aaron Ramsdale, Emile Smith Rowe (all England), Cedric Soares and Fabio Vieira (Portugal), William Saliba (France), Granit Xhaka (Switzerland), Thomas Partey (Ghana)

Staying: Mohamed Elneny (Egypt), Martin Ødegaard (Norway), Kieran Tierney (Scotland), Oleksandr Zinchenko (Ukraine),

France and Brazil unite in Madrid | Benzema and Vinicius Jr.
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France and Brazil unite in Madrid | Benzema and Vinicius Jr.JESUS ALVAREZ ORIHUELADIARIO AS

LaLiga - break 13 November to 26 December

Real Madrid

Going: 22 in contention including Ferland Mendy, Aurelien Tchouameni, Eduardo Camavinga, Karim Benzema (all France), Dani Carvajal, Lucas Vazquez, Marco Asensio (all Spain), Antonio Rudiger, Toni Kroos (Germany), Thibaut Courtois, Eden Hazard (Belgium), Luka Modric (Croatia), Eder Militao, Vinicius Jr, Rodrygo (all Brazil), Federico Valverde (Uruguay)

Staying: David Alaba (Austria),


Going: 22 in contention including Frenkie de Jong, Memphis, Luuk de Jong (The Netherlands), Sergiño Dest (USA), Lenglet, Umtiti, Dembélé (all France), Jordi Alba, Sergio Busquets, Gavi, Ansu Fati, Adama, Ferran Torres, Eric Garcia, Sergi Roberto, Pedri (all Spain), Ter Stegen (Germany),

Staying: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Gabon),

Serie A - break 13 November to 26 December


Going: in contention including Wojciech Szczesny (Poland), Matthijs de Ligt (Netherlands), Adrien Rabiot (France), Arthur, Danilo and Alex Sandro (Brazil), Denis Zakaria (Switzerland), Paulo Dybala and Matias Soulé (Argentina), Alvaro Morata (Spain) and Dusan Vlahovic (Serbia).

Staying: Leonardo Bonucci, Federico Chiesa (Italy), Juan Cuadrado (Colombia),

AC Milan

Going: 11 in contention including Mike Maignan, Theo Hernandez (France), Simon Kjaer (Denmark), Rafael Leao (Portugal), Alexis Saelemaekers (Belgium)

Staying: Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Sweden),

Inter Milan

Going: eight in contention including Stefan De Vrij and Denzel Dumfries (Netherlands), Ivan Perisic and Marcelo Brozovic (Croatia), Robin Gosens (Germany) and Matias Vecino (Uruguay), Lautaro Martinez and Joaquin Correa (Argentina).

Staying: Hakan Calhanoglu (Turkey), Edin Dzeko (Italy)

Senegal star | Sadio Mane of Bayern Munich
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Senegal star | Sadio Mane of Bayern MunichLars BaronGetty

Bundesliga - break 13 November to 26 December

Bayern Munich

Going: 21 in contention including Manuel Neuer, Niklas Süle, Joshua Kimmich, Serge Gnabry, Leon Goretzka, Leroy Sane, Thomas Müller and Jamal Musiala (all Germany), Sadio Mané, Bouna Sarr (Senegal), Dayot Upamecano, Benjamin Pavard, Kingsley Coman, Lucas Hernandez and Corentin Tolisso (all France), Alphonso Davies (Canada)



Ligue 1 - break 13 November to 26 December


Going: 17 in contention including Kylian Mbappé (France), Leo Messi, Leandro Paredes and Angel Di Maria (all Argentina), Neymar Jr and Marquinhos (Brazil), Idrissa Gueye and Abdou Diallo (Senegal), Julian Draxler and Thilo Kehrer (Germany), Achraf Hakimi (Morocco), Danilo Pereira and Nuno Mendes (Portugal)

Staying: Marco Verratti (Italy), Gianluigi Donnarumma (Italy),