Steven Gerrard previews World Cup
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Arsenal will have ten players who will be representing their countries at the World Cup over the next four weeks. Seven different nations will be represented by Mikel Arteta’s stars in Qatar with team-mates set to go head-to-head as early as the group stages. Here Express Sport details when each player will be in action and their likely routes to the final.
Ben White, Bukayo Saka and Aaron Ramsdale (England)
The trio will need no introduction with their progress in the tournament interwoven with the hopes of the entire nation. Saka and White will be fighting for a starting berth, particularly during the early group games however Ramsdale is not expected to receive much match action with Jordan Pickford England’s clear No 1.
England will face Iran, USA and Wales in Group B with the matches taking place on Monday 21st, Friday 25th and Tuesday 29th, with a reunion with Gunners’ goalkeeper Matt Turner likely in the second game. The Three Lions are expected to top their group with Senegal the likely opponent on Sunday 4th December should the eventuality arise. The likes of France, Germany and Belgium are potential opponents for the later rounds should qualification be achieved.
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William Saliba (France)
Saliba is yet to solidify his position within Les Blues starting line-up but after his tremendous form this season and Raphael Varane’s injury struggles, he could find himself in the first team.
France will face Australia, Denmark and Tunisia in Group D with the matches scheduled to take place on Tuesday 22nd, Saturday 26th and Wednesday 30th. The country are expected to win their group despite the close competition of Denmark setting up a likely round-of-16 clash with Mexico or Poland on December 4th. Their likely route to the final would then follow England’s with the pair favourites to face each other in the quarters.
Takehiro Tomiyasu (Japan)
Tomiyasu is likely to compete for a starting slot within the Japanese side but his nation have been given a tough task to get out of the groups. The country will play Germany, Costa Rica and Spain in Group E with the ties set to take place on Wednesday 23rd, Sunday 27th and Thursday 1st.
A second-place finish seems their only chance of getting themselves into the knockout round where Belgium are the most likely opponent in a repeat of the 2018 round-of-16 encounter. Portugal could await in the quarters before a match against England or France in the semis.
Gabriel Jesus, Gabriel Martinelli (Brazil)
Brazil are currently the bookies’ favourites to win the tournament with Jesus and Martinelli likely to play important roles from the bench. A reunion with Granit Xhaka is on the cards in the group stages with the Selecao playing Serbia, Switzerland and Cameroon on Thursday 24th, Monday 28th and Friday 2nd.
Matches against Uruguay and Spain are likely in the first knockout games before a potentially huge grudge match against biggest rivals Argentina in the semi-finals.
Granit Xhaka (Switzerland)
Xhaka will captain his country in Qatar and come up against his Brazilian team mates in Group G with Switzerland ready to play Cameroon, Brazil and Serbia on Thursday 24th, Monday 28th and Friday 2nd.
A second-place finish is the most likely outcome for the Swiss given the competition in Brazil with Portugal favourites to await in the round of 16. Germany could then be the opposition in the quarters with France and England potentially in the pipeline for the semis.
Thomas Partey (Ghana)
Partey’s Ghana are the lowest-ranked team in the tournament and will face an uphill battle to get out of Group H which features Portugal, South Korea and Uruguay who they’ll play on Thursday 24th, Monday 28th and Friday 2nd.
The difficult challenge of Brazil is likely to await in the next round before Spain and Argentina block the way to the final.
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