Speculation is rife as to who should make the cut for their country, but when will we know for sure which players will participate?
The 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia begins on June 14 and ends on July 15, with 32 squads from around the globe taking part in football’s most prestigious tournament.
Of the 32 teams taking part, 20 of those will be making back-to-back appearances, including reigning champions Germany, while less recognised national sides such as Iceland and Panama are making their first appearances.
Similarly, fans of the beautiful game will see star household names such as Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo represent their respective countries, but will also have the privilege of discovering new faces as coaches look to break in a new generation of younger players.
Speculation over which players ‘should be on the plane’ is already rife amongst those eager to see their favourite players turn out for their nations – but spaces in national squads are limited.
So, how many players will make the cut and when will we find out exactly who is going to Russia? Goal has the answers.
When will the World Cup squads be announced?
FIFA require the final 23-man squad lists to be finalised on June 4 at the latest, although many countries are choosing to announce their teams in advance.
While the FIFA deadline is in place it is at the discretion of each national team coach as to whether they wish to reveal their plans before those dates.
Australia, for example, have already revealed their provisional squad for the tournament, with head coach Bert van Marwijk confirming the names of 32 players who are in the running for a place in the finalised panel. Veteran midfielder Tim Cahill is among them, as is Celtic’s Tom Rogic, while a number of A-League players are pushing for inclusion.
The 23-man England squad will be announced on Wednesday May 16 in the afternoon, with manager Gareth Southgate to hold a press conference on Thursday May 17.
Which teams have qualified for the World Cup?
The full list of 32 teams qualified for Russia 2018 is as follows:
|Group A||Group B||Group C||Group D|
|Group E||Group F||Group G||Group H|
Every confirmed World Cup 2018 squad so far
Russia’s 28-man preliminary squad: Igor Akinfeev, Vladimir Gabulov, Soslan Dzhanaev, Andrey Lunev; Vladimir Granat, Sergei Ignashevich, Fedor Kudryashov, Ilya Kutepov, Roman Neustadter, Konstantin Rausch, Andrey Semenov, Igor Smolnikov, Mario Fernandes; Yuri Gazinskiy, Alexsandr Golovin, Alan Dzagoev, Alexsandr Erokhin, Yuri Zhirkov, Daler Kuzyaev , Roman Zobnin, Alexsandr Samedov, Anton Miranchuk, Alexsandr Tashaev, Denis Cheryshev; Artem Dzyuba, Aleksey Miranchuk, Fedor Smolov, Fedor Chalov.
Egypt’s 29-man preliminary squad: Essam El Hadary, Mohamed El-Shennawy, Sherif Ekramy, Mohamed Awad; Ahmed Fathi, Saad Samir, Ayman Ashraf, Mahmoud Hamdy, Mohamed Abdel-Shafy, Ahmed Hegazi and Ali Gabr, Ahmed Elmohamady, Karim Hafez, Omar Gaber, Amro Tarek; Tarek Hamed, Mahmoud Abdel Aziz, Shikabala, Abdallah Said, Sam Morsy, Mohamed Elneny, Kahraba, Ramadan Sobhi, Trezeguet, Amr Warda; Marwan Mohsen, Ahmed Gomaa, Kouka, Mohamed Salah
Portugal’s 35-man preliminary squad: Anthony Lopes, Beto, Rui Patricio; Antunes, Bruno Alves, Cedric Soares, Joao Cancelo, Jose Fonte, Luis Neto, Mario Rui, Nelson Semedo, Pepe, Raphael Guerreiro, Ricardo Pereira, Rolando, Ruben Dias; Adrien Silva, Andre Gomes, Bruno Fernandes, Joao Mario, Joao Moutinho, Manuel Fernandes, Ruben Neves, Sergio Oliveira, William Carvalho; Andre Silva, Bernardo Silva, Cristiano Ronaldo, Eder, Gelson Martins, Goncalo Guedes, Nani, Paulinho, Ricardo Quaresma; Ronny Lopes
Spain’s World Cup 2018 squad: To be announced on Monday May 21 at 11am GMT.
Iran’s 35-man preliminary squad: Alireza Beiranvand, Seyed Hossein Hosseini, Rashid Mazaheri, Amir Abedzadeh; Ramin Rezaeian, Voria Ghafouri, Steven Beitashour, Seyed Jalal Hosseini, Mohammad Reza Khanzadeh, Morteza Pouraliganji, Mohammad Ansari, Pejman Montazeri, Seyed Majid Hosseini, Milad Mohammadi, Omid Norafkan, Saeid AGhaei, Roozbeh Cheshmi; Saeid Ezatolahi, Masoud Shojaei, Ahmad Abdolahzadeh, Saman Ghoddos, Mahdi Torabi, Ashkan Dejagah, Omid Ebrahimi, Ehsan Hajsafi, Ali Karimi, Soroush Rafiei, Ali Gholizadeh, Vahid Amiri; Alireza Jahanbakhsh, Karim Ansarifard, Mahdi Taremi, Sardar Azmoun, Reza Ghoochannejhad, Kaveh Rezaei
France’s World Cup 2018 squad: To be announced on Thursday May 17.
Australia’s 26-man preliminary squad: Brad Jones, Mat Ryan, Danny Vukovic; Aziz Behich, Milos Degenek, Matthew Jurman , Fran Karacic, James Meredith, Josh Risdon, Trent Sainsbury; Josh Brillante, Jackson Irvine, Mile Jedinak, Robbie Kruse, Massimo Luongo, Mark Milligan, Aaron Mooy, Tom Rogic, James Troisi; Daniel Arzani, Tim Cahill, Tomi Juric, Mathew Leckie, Andrew Nabbout, Dimitri Petratos, Nikita Rukavytsya
Denmark’s 35-man preliminary squad: Kasper Schmeichel, Jonas Lossl, Frederik Ronow, Jesper Hansen; Simon Kjaer, Andreas Christensen, Mathias Jorgensen, Jannik Vestergaard, Andreas Bjelland, Henrik Dalsgaard, Peter Ankersen, Jens Stryger, Riza Durmisi, Jonas Knudsen, Nicolai Boilesen; William Kvist, Thomas Delaney, Lukas Lerager , Lasse Schone, Mike Jensen, Christian Eriksen, Daniel Wass, Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, Mathias Jensen, Michael Krohn-Dehli, Robert Skov; Pione Sisto , Martin Braithwaite, Andreas Cornelius, Viktor Fischer, Yussuf Poulsen, Nicolai Jorgensen, Nicklas Bendtner, Kasper Dolberg, Kenneth Zohore
Argentina’s 35-man preliminary squad: Sergio Romero, Nahuel Guzmán, Willy Caballero, Franco Armani; Gabriel Mercado, Nicolás Otamendi, Federico Fazio, Nicolás Tagliafico, Marcos Rojo, Marcos Acuña, Ramiro Funes Mori, Cristian Ansaldi, Eduardo Salvio, Germán Pezzella; Javier Mascherano, Ángel Di María, Ever Banega, Lucas Biglia, Manuel Lanzini, Gio Lo Celso, Ricardo Centurión, Guido Pizarro, Leandro Paredes, Maximiliano Meza, Enzo Pérez, Pablo Pérez, Rodrigo Battaglia; Lionel Messi, Sergio Agüero, Gonzalo Higuaín, Paulo Dybala, Mauro Icardi Cristian Pavón, Lautaro Martínez y Diego Perotti
Iceland’s 23-man preliminary squad: Hannes Thor Halldorsson, Runar Alex Runarsson, Frederik Schram; Kari Arnason, Ari Freyr Skulason, Birkir Mar Saevarsson, Sverrir Ingi Ingason, Hordur Magnusson, Holmar Orn Eyjolfsson, Ragnar Sigurdsson; Johann Berg Gudmundsson, Birkir Bjarnason, Arnor Ingvi Traustason, Emil Hallfredsson, Gylfi Sigurdsson, Olafur Ingi Skulason, Rurik Gislason, Samuel Fridjonsson, Aron Gunnarsson; Alfred Finnbogason, Bjorn Bergmann Sigurdarson, Jon Dadi Bodvarsson, Albert Gudmundsson
Croatia’s 32-man preliminary squad: Danijel Subasic, Lovre Kalinic, Dominik Livakovic, Karlo Letica; Vedran Corluka, Domagoj Vida, Ivan Strinic, Dejan Lovren, Sime Vrsaljko, Josip Pivaric, Tin Jedvaj, Matej Mitrovic, Borna Barisic, Zoran Nizic, Duje Caleta-Car, Borna Sosa; Luka Modric, Ivan Rakitic, Mateo Kovacic, Milan Badelj, Marcelo Brozovic, Marko Rog, Mario Pasalic, Filip Bradaric; Mario Mandzukic, Ivan Perisic, Nikola Kalinic, Andrej Kramaric, Marko Pjaca, Ante Rebic, Duje Cop, Ivan Santini
Nigeria’s 30-man preliminary squad: Ikechukwu Ezenwa, Daniel Akpeyi, Francis Uzoho, Dele Ajiboye; William Troost-Ekong, Leon Balogun, Olaoluwa Aina, Kenneth Omeruo, Bryan Idowu, Chidozie Awaziem, Abdullahi Shehu, Elderson Echiejile, Tyronne Ebuehi, Stephen Eze, John Obi Mikel, Ogenyi Onazi, John Ogu, Wilfred Ndidi, Uche Agbo, Oghenekaro Etebo, Joel Obi; Mikel Agu; Odion Ighalo, Ahmed Musa, Victor Moses, Alex Iwobi, Kelechi Iheanacho, Moses Simon, Junior Lokosa, Simeon Nwankwo
Brazil’s 23-man final squad: Alisson, Ederson, Cassio; Marcelo, Danilo, Filipe Luis, Fagner, Marquinhos, Thiago Silva, Miranda, Pedro Geromel; Willian, Fernandinho, Paulinho, Casemiro, Philippe Coutinho, Renato Augusto, Fred; Neymar, Gabriel Jesus, Roberto Firmino, Douglas Costa, Taison.
Costa Rica’s 23-man final squad: Keylor Navas, Patrick Pemberton, Leonel Moreira, Cristian Gamboa, Ian Smith, Ronald Matarrita, Bryan Oviedo, Oscar Duarte, Giancarlo Gonzalez, Francisco Calvo, Kendall Waston, Johnny Acosta, David Guzman, Yeltsin Tejeda, Celso Borges, Randall Azofeifa, Rodney Wallace, Bryan Ruiz, Daniel Colindres, Christian Bolanos, Johan Venegas, Joel Campbell, Marco Urena.
Germany’s 27-man preliminary squad: Bernd Leno, Manuel Neuer, Marc-Andre ter Stegen, Kevin Trapp, Jerome Boateng, Matthias Ginter, Jonas Hector, Mats Hummels, Joshua Kimmich, Marvin Plattenhardt, Antonio Rudiger, Niklas Sule, Jonathan Tah, Julian Brandt, Julian Draxler, Mario Gomez, Leon Goretzka, Ilkay Gundogan, Sami Khedira, Toni Kroos, Thomas Muller, Mesut Ozil, Nils Petersen, Marco Reus, Sebastian Rudy, Leroy Sane, Timo Werner.
Mexico’s 28-man preliminary squad: Guillermo Ochoa, Jesús Corona, Alfredo Talavera; Diego Reyes, Héctor Moreno, Miguel Layún, Carlos Salcedo, Edson Álvarez, Néstor Araujo, Jesús Gallardo, Hugo Ayala, Rafael Márquez; Jonathan dos Santos, Andrés Guardado, Héctor Herrera, Marco Fabián, Javier Aquino, Jonathan González, Jesús Molina y Erick Gutiérrez; Tecatito Corona, Hirving Lozano, Chicharito Hernández, Raúl Jiménez, Carlos Vela, Javier Aquino, Jurgen Damm, Giovani dos Santos
South Korea’s 28-man preliminary squad: Kim Seunggyu, Kim Jinhyeon, Cho Hyeonwoo, Kim Younggwon, Jang Hyunsoo, Jeong Seunghyeon, Yun Yeongseon, Kwon Kyungwon, Oh Bansuk, Kim Jinsu, Kim Minwoo, Park Jooho, Hong Chul, Go Yohan, Lee Yong, Ki Sungyueng, Jeong Wooyoung, Kwon Changhoon, Ju Sejong, Koo Jacheol, Lee Jaesung, Lee Seungwoo, Moon Sunmin, Lee Chungyong, Kim Shinwook, Son Heungmin, Hwang Heechan, Lee Keunho
Belgium’s World Cup 2018 squad: To be announced on Monday May 21.
Panama’s 35-man preliminary squad: Jose Calderon, Jaime Penedo, Alex Rodríguez; Azmahar Ariano, Felipe Baloy, Harold Cummings, Eric Davis, Fidel Escobar, Adolfo Machado, Michael Murillo, Luis Ovalle, Francisco Palacios, Richard Peralta, Roman Torres; Ricardo Avila, Edgar Barcenas, Ricardo Buitrago, Miguel Camargo, Adalberto Carrasquilla, Armando Cooper, Anibal Godoy, Gabriel Gomez, Jose Gonzalez, Cristian Martinez, Valentin Pimentel, Alberto Quintero, Jose Luis Rodriguez; Abdiel Arroyo, Rolando Blackburn, Ismael Diaz, Jose Fajardo, Roberto Nurse, Blas Perez, Luis Tejada, Gabriel Torres
Tunisia’s 29-man preliminary squad: Aymen Mathlouthi, Mouez Hassen, Farouk Ben Mustapha, Moez Ben Cherifia, Syam Ben Youssef, Yohan Benalouane, Yassine Meriah, Bilel Mohsni, Hamdi Nagguez, Ali Maaloul, Khalil Chemmam, Oussema Haddadi, Dylan Bronn, Ellyes Skhiri, Ferjani Sassi, Karim Laribi, Ahmed Khalil, Mohamed Amine Ben Amor, Ghailene Chaalali, Mohamed Larbi, Anice Bardi, Saif-Eddine Khaoui, Saber Khalifa, Naim Sliti, Fakhreddine Ben Youssef, Whabi Khazri, Bassem Srarfi, Ahmed Akaichi
England’s World Cup 2018 squad: To be announced on Wednesday May 16.
Poland’s 35-man preliminary squad: Bartosz Bialkowski, Lukasz Fabianski, Lukasz Skorupski, Wojciech Szczesny; Jan Bednarek, Bartosz Bereszynski, Thiago Cionek, Kamil Glik, Artur Jedrzejczyk, Marcin Kaminski, Tomasz Kedziora, Michal Pazdan, Lukasz Piszczek; Jakub Blaszczykowski, Pawel Dawidowicz, Przemyslaw Frankowski, Jacek Goralski, Maciej Rybus, Sebastian Szymanski, Piotr Zielinski, Szymon Zurkowski; Dawid Kownacki, Robert Lewandowski, Arkadiusz Milik, Krzysztof Piatek, Lukasz Teodorczyk, Kamil Wilczek
Colombia’s 35-man preliminary squad: David Ospina, Camilo Vargas, Iván Arboleda, Jose Fernando Cuadrado; Cristian Zapata, Davinson Sanchez, Santiago Arias, Oscar Murillo, Frank Fabra, Johan Mojica, Yerry Mina, William Tesillo, Bernardo Espinosa, Stefan Medina, Farid Diaz; Wilmar Barrios, Carlos Sanchez, Jefferson Lerma, Jose Izquierdo, James Rodriguez, Giovanni Moreno, Abel Aguilar, Mateus Uribe, Yimmi Chara, Juan Fernando Quintero, Edwin Cardona, Juan Guillermo Cuadrado, Gustavo Cuellar, Sebastian Perez; Radamel Falcao Garcia, Duvan Zapata, Miguel Borja, Carlos Bacca, Luis Fernando Muriel, Teofilo Gutierrez
Even though it is the biggest event in football, the World Cup will be devoid of some of the best players in the world in 2018.
Alexis Sanchez won’t be taking part as Chile fell at the final hurdle, although their absence at the tournament influenced Argentina’s inclusion, meaning fans won’t have to miss out on seeing Lionel Messi turn out for the Albiceleste. Similarly, Zlatan Ibrahimovic has retired from international football and will not represent Sweden in Russia, despite teasing the media and fans with vague suggestions that he would be going to the tournament.
Italy are probably the most notable absentees, with the four-time World Cup winners having crashed out to Sweden in the play-offs, ending Gianluigi Buffon‘s hopes of picking up a second title. Gareth Bale’s Wales also crashed out in the play-offs, while the Netherlands, who finished third in 2014, miss out too after a dismal qualifying campaign. The United States men’s national team didn’t make the cut either, meaning they’ll miss their first World Cup since 1986.
However, even those nations who did qualify for the tournament will be worrying about the fitness of their star players ahead of the competition and some teams have been dealt personnel blows already.
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France boss Didier Deschamps will have to plan for Russia without the services of Laurent Koscielny, who suffered a horrific Achilles tendon injury while playing for Arsenal against Atletico Madrid in the Europa League semi-final, while Karim Benzema‘s omission is taken as a given due to the Real Madrid striker’s soured relationship with the national team.
Gareth Southgate will have to re-think his plans for England somewhat after Liverpool duo Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Joe Gomez sustained season-ending injuries.
While Neymar has been included in Tite’s Brazil plans, the Paris Saint-Germain forward is fighting against the clock to recover fully from a foot injury. Brazil and PSG medical staff remain optimistic, however, that he will be ready to play again come mid-June. Dani Alves has been ruled out for certain for the Selecao.