World Cup 2022 LIVE: Croatia name squad as Reece James and Sadio Mane set to miss tournament through injury

World Cup 2022 LIVE: Croatia name squad as Reece James and Sadio Mane set to miss tournament through injury

Updated: 2 months, 21 days, 13 hours, 59 minutes, 22 seconds ago

The 2022 World Cup is now less than two weeks away from starting and the confirmed squads are coming quickly now, with Australia and Brazil among those to name theirs this week.

For England boss Gareth Southgate, there are plenty of issues to consider even with just a day left until his selections are made public, with injuries playing a key part as Reece James is now confirmed to be missing the tournament and another potential cover player, Leicester’s James Justin, being taken off on Tuesday night. Further afield, Sadio Mane also left the pitch injured for Bayern Munich, fuelling fears he may miss out after sending Senegal to the finals.

Pep Guardiola, meanwhile, has revealed that players are already naturally taking to the pitch for club matches with one eye on the World Cup, potentially fearing for their participation in Qatar given the rapid turnaround between the end of club duty and the start of internationals.

Follow all the latest news and squad announcements from the 32 teams below and get World Cup updates directly to your phone by joining our Telegram World Cup channel here.

World Cup latest news

Reece James ‘devastated’ after confirming he’ll miss World Cup

Wales boss Robert Page set to name squad at 7pm

Sadio Mane may miss World Cup due to injury

World Cup ambassador says homosexuality is ‘damage in the mind’

Croatia confirm World Cup squad including Modric and Kovacic

Switzerland name Chelsea midfielder Zakaria and Arsenal’s Xhaka in squad

France and USA also naming World Cup squads today

Ecuador cleared to play at World Cup after CAS ruling on ‘ineligible’ player Byron Castillo

15:31 , Luke Baker

Ecuador will play at this year’s World Cup 2022 in Qatar after the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) on Tuesday said Byron Castillo, whom Chile claimed was ineligible to play during the qualifiers, was deemed an Ecuadorean national.

Ecuador will, however, get a three-point deduction at the start of the qualifying campaign for the 2026 World Cup and must also pay a fine of 100,000 Swiss francs ($101,600) for the “use of a document containing false information”, CAS said.

CAS, sport’s highest court, added that the decision was based on the fact that the Ecuadorean authorities acknowledged Castillo as an Ecuadorean national.

Full details on what still might seem a contentious decision:

Ecuador cleared to play at World Cup after CAS ruling on ‘ineligible’ player

World Cup 2022 kits: Every shirt ranked and rated

15:25 , Luke Baker

The Qatar World Cup is nearly upon us, and that means an array of delightful/grotesque international football shirts for us to enjoy/convulse over.

What do we think of Portugal’s bold diagonal stripe? Who has picked a mesmerising shade of red? Why have Argentina dressed like they need 144 off 20 overs? Is that... is that Jafar? Please do share your opinions in the comments below.

Here are the World Cup 2022 kits, ranked and rated from worst to best:

World Cup 2022 kits: Every shirt ranked and rated

Callum Wilson’s ‘brilliant mentality’ hailed as he waits on England call

15:14 , Luke Baker

Eddie Howe has saluted Callum Wilson’s “brilliant mentality” as he waits to see whether his latest battle to return from adversity will be rewarded with a World Cup call-up.

The 30-year-old striker is back in the Newcastle team and among the goals after a six-week lay-off with a hamstring injury, which came at the worst possible time as England boss Gareth Southgate assessed his options.

Wilson has previously fought his way back from two cruciate ligament ruptures and Magpies head coach Howe, who gave him his chance at Bournemouth, is convinced his fortitude and positivity would serve his country well in Qatar if he made it into Southgate’s 26-man squad on Thursday.

Callum Wilson’s ‘brilliant mentality’ hailed as he waits on England call

England’s World Cup squad: Our writers pick their 26 players for Qatar 2022

15:06 , Luke Baker

Gareth Southgate is set to announce his England squad for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar on Thursday.

The World Cup gets under way on 20 November and England will kick off their tournament the following day when they take on Iran at the Khalifa International Stadium in Doha.

Southgate faces several selection dilemmas across the pitch as well as questions over the fitness of right backs Kyle Walker and Reece James, and Walker’s Manchester City teammate Kalvin Phillips. Ben Chilwell’s hamstring injury leaves England short of left-sided defenders, while there is growing clamour for James Maddison to be on the plane and a choice to be made over Harry Kane’s deputies up front.

But the increased squad capacity of 26 – up from 23 at the previous World Cup – does at least give Southgate some flexibility as he makes his final decision.

We asked 12 members of the Independent Sport team to cast their votes and come up with a joint 26-man selection. We divided the squad by goalkeepers, defenders, midfielders (deep-lying or box to box players), forwards (attacking midfielders and wingers), and strikers (No 9s).

England’s World Cup squad: Our writers pick their 26 players for Qatar

Sepp Blatter admits ‘Qatar was a mistake’ on eve of World Cup

14:57 , Luke Baker

Sepp Blatter, the former president of Fifa, has admitted the decision to award the World Cup to Qatar was a “mistake”.

Mr Blatter was Fifa president in 2010 when its executive committee controversially voted to award the hosting rights for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups to Russia and Qatar respectively.

Qatar has faced criticism over its treatment of migrant workers and discriminative LGBT+ laws, while the tournament also had to be moved to November and December due to heat.

Fifa’s decision to stage the World Cup in Qatar has also been the subject of scepticism after several members of the executive committee who voted in 2010 were later convicted or indicted in criminal or ethics cases.

Mr Blatter, who maintains he did not vote for Qatar, was cleared of fraud charges by a Swiss court in July following a £1.7m payment to the former Uefa president Michel Platini but remains banned from football because of the incident.

Sepp Blatter admits ‘Qatar was a mistake’ on eve of World Cup

World Cup injuries: Which players are out of Qatar 2022 and who is racing to be fit?

14:48 , Luke Baker

There’s been plenty of injury news surrounding potential World Cup players over the past couple of days.

Catch up with all the latest developments in one place thanks to our handy article:

World Cup injuries: Which players are out of Qatar 2022 and who is racing to be fit?

Son Heung-min declares himself fit for World Cup after eye injury

14:39 , Luke Baker

Son Heung-min has ended any lingering doubts over his participation in the World Cup.

The Tottenham attacker suffered a fracture around his left eye during a 2-1 win away to Marseille in the Champions League last week.

It raised fears in South Korea that their star player could miss the tournament in Qatar and he had to undergo surgery on Friday.

Spurs boss Antonio Conte confirmed on Sunday it had been a success and that he expected the 30-year-old to be fit for the competition.

But Son himself reiterated on Wednesday he will feature in Qatar, with South Korea set to name their squad later in the week.

Son Heung-min declares himself fit for World Cup after eye injury

What time is the Wales World Cup squad announcement and where can I watch it?

14:29 , Luke Baker

The deadline for every manager to name their World Cup 2022 squads is fast approaching, with initial long lists now being whittled down to just 26 players.

Most nations are getting ahead of the game though and confirming their final group across the course of this week; Brazil’s squad was named on Monday and England will follow suit on Thursday, but before the Three Lions it’s the turn of another of the home nations.

Wales are naming their squad on Wednesday evening, after taking a circuitous route to the finals. Head coach Robert Page is going back to his roots, making the announcement in his hometown of Tylorstown.

The Dragons secured the last play-off spot in the Uefa qualifying section, then beat Austria and Ukraine in the play-offs themselves to seal a first World Cup appearance since 1958.

Here’s everything you need to know on Wales’ announcement, including when and where to watch.

What time is Wales World Cup squad announcement and where to watch it?

Jesus Corona confirmed as out of Qatar

14:17 , Luke Baker

Mexico winger Jesus “Tecatito” Corona will miss the World Cup after failing to recover from an ankle injury, the Mexican Football Federation (FMF)have confirmed.

Corona, who has scored 10 goals in 71 appearances for Mexico, underwent surgery after fracturing his left ankle while training with Sevilla in August.

Mexico coach Gerardo Martino, who named Corona in his 31-man preliminary squad for Qatar, travelled to Seville earlier this month to assess Corona’s fitness after Sevilla manager Jorge Sampaoli said the 29-year-old would not be fit for the finals.

The Mexican medical staff were hopeful “Tecatito” could join Mexico’s training camp on Nov. 14 or 15 despite the LaLiga club saying he would only return in December.

“After the relevant communication between Gerardo Martino and Jesus Manuel Corona, the player will not be able to be integrated into the Mexico squad for the Qatar 2022 World Cup,” FMF said on a statement.

“His recovery process has not been completed following the injury suffered in August this year.”

Hamstring injury rules out Giovanni Lo Celso

14:08 , Luke Baker

Argentina’s Giovani Lo Celso has been ruled out of the World Cup with a hamstring injury for which the midfielder requires surgery, Argentine media are reporting.

The 26-year-old was replaced during Villarreal’s LaLiga loss against Athletic Bilbao on October 30 and scans confirmed that the midfielder suffered a hamstring tear.

Spanish media reported Lo Celso, who is on loan from Tottenham Hotspur, had exhausted all possible options to be on the flight to Qatar, including consultations with specialists from different parts of the world for a less invasive treatment.

Lo Celso was a key player in Argentina’s 2021 Copa America win and World Cup qualification. He is a big loss for coach Lionel Scaloni’s squad, who had previously said he was ‘irreplaceable’.

Scaloni must also assess the fitness of other injured players such as Paulo Dybala and Juan Foyth before announcing his final 26-man squad next Monday.

Reuters

Chris Richards to miss World Cup

13:57 , Luke Baker

Injuries are abounding now. USA are naming their squad at 10pm GMT this evening but one man who won’t be in it is Chris Richards.

The centre-back will miss the World Cup after failing to recover from a hamstring injury in time for the tournament in Qatar, the Crystal Palace defender said on Tuesday.

Richards, who appeared in five World Cup qualifying matches for the United States, suffered the injury in September after playing three Premier League games for Palace this season.

“Gutted that this injury has ruled me out of the World Cup” Richards, 22, said on Instagram.

“I know that the boys will go crazy regardless... will be rooting for y’all the whole way. Go out and make history.”

Juventus midfielder Weston McKennie and Celta Vigo’s Luca de la Torre are both hoping to be fit for selection after being sidelined with thigh injuries.

 (Getty Images) (Getty Images)

(Getty Images)

Wataru Endo a World Cup doubt for Japan

13:42 , Luke Baker

Another potential World Cup injury doubt. Japan midfielder Wataru Endo was taken off on a stretcher after being knocked unconscious in a collision while playing for Stuttgart on Tuesday.

Endo collapsed to the ground after a clash of heads and needed lengthy medical treatment before he was stretchered off in the 82nd minute of Stuttgart’s 2-1 win over Hertha Berlin.

“Wataru Endo was unconscious on the field but was responsive again in the ambulance,” Stuttgart wrote on Twitter.

The 29-year-old defensive midfielder is Stuttgart’s captain and has played 43 times for Japan. He was named in Japan’s World Cup squad last week.

Reece James ‘devastated’ after confirming he’ll miss World Cup

13:39 , Luke Baker

Devastated England right-back Reece James has confirmed he will not be going to the World Cup.

The 22-year-old started the Three Lions’ last four matches and was a shoo-in for Qatar until sustaining a knee injury in the Champions League match against AC Milan on October 11.

Chelsea announced James was facing an eight-week lay-off - a timescale that would mean a return around the World Cup quarter-final stage.

James said at the time “the race against time is on” and vowed not to give up, but he has now confirmed he will not be in England’s 26-man squad on Thursday after speaking to manager Gareth Southgate.

“Devastated,” 15-cap England international James posted on Twitter. “The minute I injured my knee, I knew the turnaround to make the World Cup would be tight, but I always felt it was possible.

“I’ve worked harder than I ever thought I could to give myself the best chance of going and truly believed I could help the team.

“I appreciate there was risk on both sides but it was one I was willing to take. Good luck to the boys. I’ll be back soon. Stay safe and sending love.”

Reece James is not going to the World Cup (PA Wire)Reece James is not going to the World Cup (PA Wire)

Reece James is not going to the World Cup (PA Wire)

Switzerland ‘spoiled for choice'

13:33 , Luke Baker

Switzerland coach Murat Yakin will lean on experience at the World Cup in Qatar, naming on Wednesday several veterans, including Granit Xhaka and Xherdan Shaqiri, in a 26-man squad for this month’s tournament.

“We were spoiled for choice in some positions,” Yakin said in a statement.

“Many players have delivered convincing performances in recent weeks and months. But in the end I had to limit myself to 26 names. I’m convinced that these 26 players can always help us to achieve our goals.”

Switzerland squad for Qatar:

Goalkeepers: Gregor Kobel (Borussia Dortmund), Philipp Kohn (RB Salzburg), Jonas Omlin (Montpellier), Yann Sommer (Borussia Monchengladbach)

Defenders: Manuel Akanji (Manchester City), Eray Comert (Valencia), Nico Elvedi (Borussia Monchengladbach), Ricardo Rodriguez (Torino), Fabian Schar (Newcastle United), Silvan Widmer (Mainz)

Midfielders: Granit Xhaka (Arsenal), Edimilson Fernandes (Mainz), Fabian Frei (Basel), Remo Freuler (Nottingham Forest), Ardon Jashari (Luzern), Fabian Rieder (Young Boys), Xherdan Shaqiri (Chicago Fire), Djibril Sow (Eintracht Frankfurt), Renato Steffen (Lugano), Denis Zakaria (Chelsea), Michel Aebischer (Bologna)

Forwards: Breel Embolo (Monaco), Christian Fassnacht (Young Boys), Noah Okafor (RB Salzburg), Haris Seferovic (Galatasaray), Ruben Vargas (Augsburg)

Fifa 23 predicts winners of 2022 World Cup - after getting last three correct

13:22 , Luke Baker

Argentina will win the World Cup in Qatar - according to Fifa 23.

The Albiceleste haven’t lifted the trophy since Diego Maradona inspired them to victory back in 1986 for a second title in their history.

Lionel Messi‘s side are one of the tournament favourites this time around after a hugely impressive South American qualifying campaign.

And according to a 32-team simulation using EA’s flagship title to play out all 64 matches, they do indeed come out on top with skipper Messi scoring in the final against rivals Brazil and taking home the Golden Boot as tournament top scorer.

If Argentine fans are looking for good omens, the Fifa game has actually correctly predicted the last three winners of the men’s tournament - Spain in 2010, Germany in 2014 and France last time around in 2018.

Fifa 23 predicts winners of 2022 World Cup - after getting last three correct

Croatia mix youth and experience for the World Cup

13:08 , Luke Baker

Croatia named their 26-man squad for Qatar this morning and head coach Zlatko Dalic has paired the expertise of veterans like Luka Modric and Domagoj Vida with younger talent like Josko Gvardiol.

Croatia finished top of their Nations League group ahead of world champions France and Denmark, and the 2018 runners-up will be riding a wave of momentum heading into the tournament.

“The Nations League gave us the right to have high expectations, we played top matches and we are rightly optimistic,” Dalic said. “However, there are other national teams that have such ambitions, the most important is the first match with Morocco.

“The team from Russia was second in the world, and when you look at where those players played, they were all top clubs. One player was from the Croatian league, and now there are seven or eight of them.

“However, I believe in them. Luck is that young players have older players alongside them to mature... I believe these players can do a lot.”

Croatia squad for Qatar:

Goalkeepers: Dominik Livakovic (Dinamo Zagreb), Ivica Ivusic (Osijek), Ivo Grbic (Atletico Madrid)

Defenders: Domagoj Vida (AEK Athens), Dejan Lovren (Zenit Saint Petersburg), Borna Barisic (Rangers), Josip Juranovic (Celtic), Josko Gvardiol (RB Leipzig), Borna Sosa (Stuttgart), Josip Stanisic (Bayern Munich), Martin Erlic (Sassuolo), Josip Sutalo (Dinamo Zagreb)

Midfielders: Luka Modric (Real Madrid), Mateo Kovacic (Chelsea), Marcelo Brozovic (Inter Milan), Mario Pasalic (Atalanta), Nikola Vlasic (Torino), Lovro Majer (Rennes), Kristijan Jakic (Eintracht Frankfurt), Luka Sucic (Red Bull Salzburg)

Forwards: Ivan Perisic (Tottenham), Andrej Kramaric (Hoffenheim), Bruno Petkovic (Dinamo Zagreb), Mislav Orsic (Dinamo Zagreb), Ante Budimir (Osasuna), Marko Livaja (Hajduk Split)

England World Cup squad hopeful James Justin faces scan after injury during Leicester Carabao Cup win

12:55 , Karl Matchett

Leicester’s James Justin will have a scan on Wednesday to discover the extent of his injury after he was carried off against Newport.

The defender was forced off in the 3-0 Carabao Cup win after scoring the opener before Jamie Vardy’s brace eased the Foxes into the fourth round.

Justin’s injury overshadowed a routine victory and came following his first goal in almost two years.

He was understood to be on Gareth Southgate’s 55-man long list for the World Cup ahead of Thursday’s final squad announcement.

Leicester assistant boss Chris Davies said: “He felt something, he will have a scan to see what it was. I’m not sure where it is, he has felt something so we will have to see how it goes.”

Players have ‘one eye on the World Cup’ already, admits Man City boss Pep Guardiola

12:48 , Karl Matchett

This midweek round of Carabao Cup games in England has drawn plenty of criticism for squashing in yet another fixture less than two weeks before the World Cup kicks off.

Authorities point to no other dates being available, but should that have led to the competition being scrapped for a year? It’s a wider debate and the League Cup’s position does look increasingly shaky on the football calendar.

Man City face Chelsea tonight in the highest-profile encounter of the third round but boss Pep Guardiola says players have already got “one eye on the World Cup” and he understands why, saying he’d do the same himself.

“It’s crazy, it’s a lot of games. For the players, it’s too much,” he said.

Players have ‘one eye on the World Cup’ already, admits Guardiola

Sadio Mane set to miss World Cup through injury

12:40 , Karl Matchett

It’s not yet confirmed by his club or his nation, but it looks as though Sadio Mane is definitely going to miss the World Cup.

That’s a massive blow to Senegal to miss their all time top scorer and such a key performer.

Bild reporter Tobi Altschäffl says “Bayern were optimistic after the game yesterday, but the Senegalese will miss the World Cup. The exact diagnosis according to Bild’s information: a tendon on the fibula head is said to have ruptured.”

Update Mané: die Bayern waren gestern nach dem Spiel optimistisch, aber der Senegalese wird die WM verpassen. Die genaue Diagnose nach @BILD-Informationen: es soll eine Sehne am Fibula-Köpfchen gerissen sein. Eine offizielle Bestätigung des FC Bayern steht noch aus. @cfbayern

— Tobi Altschäffl (@altobelli13) November 9, 2022

World Cup latest news

12:32 , Karl Matchett

A blow for Spain, but not an unexpected one.

Real Sociedad play tonight against Sevilla and there is reportedly no Mikel Oyarzabal in the squad.

He has been fighting to regain fitness after tearing his ACL earlier this year, but this is the last club match before the World Cup break and he is not yet close enough to be involved.

No surprise, and even if he was involved it would be a big gamble to take him.

The likes of Nico Williams, Yeremy Pino, Marco Asensio and Ferran Torres are all hoping to be named as wide forward options by Luis Enrique.

World Cup latest news

12:26 , Karl Matchett

Tremendous effort here from Switzerland for the announcement of their squad. “We want to make history,” says head coach Murat Yakin.

Together, is the overriding message.

EXPLAINER: Laws and customs in Qatar ahead of 2022 World Cup

12:19 , Karl Matchett

Over a million sports fans will go to Qatar for the World Cup in November and December, a spectacle that typically turns host countries into a nonstop party. But this year may be different.

The tiny, conservative Muslim nation may show little tolerance for the booze-fueled hooliganism that has unfolded at tournaments past.

Qatar has sought to portray itself as welcoming to foreigners but traditional Muslim values remain strong in the hereditarily ruled emirate. Qatar’s judicial system, based on an interpretation of Islamic law, or Shariah, has drawn Western criticism for its tendency to favour prosecutors and police.

The autocratic country says it will loosen up for the unprecedented influx of tourists. But fans attending the World Cup should be mindful of Qatar’s laws and cultural customs, including policies for alcohol, drugs, sexuality and dress code.

Here’s a look at some of them.

EXPLAINER: Laws and customs in Qatar ahead of 2022 World Cup

World Cup 2022 kits: Every shirt ranked and rated

12:12 , Karl Matchett

The Qatar World Cup is nearly upon us, and that means an array of delightful/grotesque international football shirts for us to enjoy/convulse over.

What do we think of Portugal’s bold diagonal stripe? Who has picked a mesmerising shade of red? Why have Argentina dressed like they need 144 off 20 overs? Is that... is that Jafar? Please do share your opinions in the comments below.

Here are the World Cup 2022 kits, ranked and rated from worst to best:

World Cup 2022 kits: Every shirt ranked and rated

Wales World Cup 2022 squad guide: Full fixtures, group, ones to watch, odds and more

12:05 , Karl Matchett

Time to look ahead at tonight’s announcement for Wales - who will Robert Page call up for his final 26?

A handful of names are of course guaranteed for as long as their fitness allows them to be involved, Gareth Bale being at the head of that queue.

Here’s the predicted full squad, the story of Wales reaching their first finals since the 50s, their fixture list and more.

Wales World Cup 2022 squad guide, fixtures and ones to watch

Kalvin Phillips gives injury update ahead of England World Cup squad announcement

11:59 , Karl Matchett

Kalvin Phillips says he is “hopeful” of being included in England’s World Cup squad after recovering from a shoulder injury.

Phillips underwent surgery on his shoulder in September and has not played since, although the Manchester City midfielder could return to the bench for Wednesday’s Carabao Cup fixture against Chelsea.

However Phillips, who starred for England during their run to the Euro 2020 final, has completed 90 minutes just once this season - raising fears that he may not be fit enough to play a part for England in Qatar.

But the 26-year-old believes he is able to start for England if required, ahead of their opening game against Iran on 21 November.

Kalvin Phillips gives injury update ahead of England World Cup squad announcement

Reece James to be left out of England squad as Gareth Southgate doesn’t want fitness ‘gamble'

11:52 , Karl Matchett

A report from the Evening Standard suggests Chelsea right-back Reece James is set for disappointment tomorrow.

The versatile performer has been out injured since mid-October and, despite having been hopeful he’d be fit in time to make the England squad, it seems he will not be included in the Three Lions’ final 26.

Gareth Southgate “does not want to gamble with his fitness” with Kyle Walker also struggling, Ben Chilwell now ruled out and James Justin last night also suffering an injury.

The England boss called James already to let him know the news, the report continues.

 (Getty Images) (Getty Images)

(Getty Images)

Callum Wilson’s ‘brilliant mentality’ hailed as he waits on England call

11:44 , Karl Matchett

Eddie Howe has saluted Callum Wilson’s “brilliant mentality” as he waits to see whether his latest battle to return from adversity will be rewarded with a World Cup call-up.

The 30-year-old striker is back in the Newcastle team and among the goals after a six-week lay-off with a hamstring injury, which came at the worst possible time as England boss Gareth Southgate assessed his options.

Wilson has previously fought his way back from two cruciate ligament ruptures and Magpies head coach Howe, who gave him his chance at Bournemouth, is convinced his fortitude and positivity would serve his country well in Qatar if he made it into Southgate’s 26-man squad on Thursday.

Callum Wilson’s ‘brilliant mentality’ hailed as he waits on England call

Sepp Blatter admits ‘Qatar was a mistake’ on eve of World Cup

11:37 , Karl Matchett

Sepp Blatter, the former president of Fifa, has admitted the decision to award the World Cup to Qatar was a “mistake”.

Mr Blatter was Fifa president in 2010 when its executive committee controversially voted to award the hosting rights for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups to Russia and Qatar respectively.

Qatar has faced criticism over its treatment of migrant workers and discriminative LGBT+ laws, while the tournament also had to be moved to November and December due to heat.

Fifa’s decision to stage the World Cup in Qatar has also been the subject of scepticism after several members of the executive committee who voted in 2010 were later convicted or indicted in criminal or ethics cases.

Mr Blatter, who maintains he did not vote for Qatar, was cleared of fraud charges by a Swiss court in July following a £1.7m payment to the former Uefa president Michel Platini but remains banned from football because of the incident.

Sepp Blatter admits ‘Qatar was a mistake’ on eve of World Cup

England’s World Cup squad: Our writers pick their 26 players for Qatar 2022

11:30 , Karl Matchett

Gareth Southgate is set to announce his England squad for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar on Thursday.

The World Cup gets under way on 20 November and England will kick off their tournament the following day when they take on Iran at the Khalifa International Stadium in Doha.

Southgate faces several selection dilemmas across the pitch as well as questions over the fitness of right backs Kyle Walker and Reece James, and Walker’s Manchester City teammate Kalvin Phillips. Ben Chilwell’s hamstring injury leaves England short of left-sided defenders, while there is growing clamour for James Maddison to be on the plane and a choice to be made over Harry Kane’s deputies up front.

But the increased squad capacity of 26 – up from 23 at the previous World Cup – does at least give Southgate some flexibility as he makes his final decision.

We asked 12 members of the Independent Sport team to cast their votes and come up with a joint 26-man selection. We divided the squad by goalkeepers, defenders, midfielders (deep-lying or box to box players), forwards (attacking midfielders and wingers), and strikers (No 9s).

England’s World Cup squad: Our writers pick their 26 players for Qatar

Croatia World Cup 2022 squad: Luka Modric and Mateo Kovacic headline selection for Qatar

11:20 , Karl Matchett

Luka Modric will once again lead his country into a World Cup after being named as part of Croatia’s 26-man squad for Qatar alongside the likes of Mateo Kovacic, Marcelo Brozovic and Ivan Perisic.

Modric inspired the Croats to finish as runners-up in Russia four years ago, their best performance at a World Cup, and although they have lost some key players from that group to international retirement - including Danijel Subasic, Ivan Rakitic and Mario Mandzukic - coach Zlatko Dalic can still call on a number of experienced heads.

Chelsea star Kovacic and Tottenham’s versatile Perisic are the two Premier League-based players in the squad, although Southampton defender Duje Caleta-Car misses out with Sassuolo’s Martin Erlic preferred.

Rangers forward Antonio Colak is another snub, although his club teammate Borna Barisic and Celtic’s Josip Juranovic are among the defenders selected by Dalic.

Full details here:

Luka Modric and Mateo Kovacic headline Croatia’s World Cup squad

Moment Qatar World Cup ambassador describes homosexuality as ‘damage in the mind’

11:12 , Karl Matchett

A Qatar World Cup ambassador has said homosexuality is “damage in the mind”, as the Gulf state prepares to host the football tournament in less than two weeks.

In an interview filmed in Doha and screened on German television channel ZDF, former Qatari international Khalid Salman addressed the issue of homosexuality being illegal in the country.

“They have to accept our rules here,” he said.

“[Homosexuality] is haram. You know what haram means? I am not a strict Muslim but why is it haram? Because it is damage in the mind.”

Watch the video here:

Moment Qatar World Cup ambassador describes homosexuality as ‘damage in the mind’

Belgium coach Martinez leaving Lukaku decision until last minute

11:05 , Karl Matchett

Belgium coach Roberto Martinez says striker Romelu Lukaku must be fit enough to play in the group stage at the World Cup or he will not be selected.

Martinez will name his squad for Qatar on Thursday and is leaving it as late as possible to make a decision on the Inter Milan forward, who had been sidelined with a hamstring injury and is working his way back to fitness.

“The decision will be made just before we announce the list,” Martinez was quoted by L’Equipe.

“It will relate to the three first-round matches. If he is fit to participate in one of those, he is a player we want in our team. If he cannot, he will not be selected.”

Lukaku is undergoing daily tests with Belgium team doctors having made two substitute appearances for Inter since August.

Belgium open their campaign against Canada on 23 November, before meeting Morocco four days later and Croatia on 1 December.

“We are seeing signs of improvement, but we will wait until just before the announcement to give us more time,” added Martinez.

“We have to assess the improvement to help estimate the timeline for his recovery. If he’s fit by 1 December, he’ll be with us.”

 (AFP via Getty Images) (AFP via Getty Images)

(AFP via Getty Images)

Ecuador cleared to play at World Cup after CAS ruling on ‘ineligible’ player Byron Castillo

10:55 , Karl Matchett

Ecuador will play at this year’s World Cup 2022 in Qatar after the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) on Tuesday said Byron Castillo, whom Chile claimed was ineligible to play during the qualifiers, was deemed an Ecuadorean national.

Ecuador will, however, get a three-point deduction at the start of the qualifying campaign for the 2026 World Cup and must also pay a fine of 100,000 Swiss francs ($101,600) for the “use of a document containing false information”, CAS said.

CAS, sport’s highest court, added that the decision was based on the fact that the Ecuadorean authorities acknowledged Castillo as an Ecuadorean national.

Full details on what still might seem a contentious decision:

Ecuador cleared to play at World Cup after CAS ruling on ‘ineligible’ player

Switzerland World Cup 2022 squad guide: Full fixtures, group, ones to watch, odds and more

10:45 , Karl Matchett

And exactly the same for Switzerland. Yes, we’re giving you the goods on all 32 nations at the finals, everything you need to know.

For Switzerland, hopes are pinned on a host of Premier League-based stars, with Xhaka the obvious one but centre-back Fabian Schar also enjoying a superb campaign at Newcastle and Manuel Akanji also having shown some impressive form at times with Man City.

Two of their younger attackers could also make a big splash - Noah Okafor and Ruben Vargas.

Switzerland World Cup 2022 squad guide, fixtures and ones to watch

Croatia World Cup 2022 squad guide: Full fixtures, group, ones to watch, odds and more

10:37 , Karl Matchett

Right - here’s a full run-down on the confirmed Croatia squad, featuring all 26 names, their fixtures in the group stage, the players to watch and plenty more.

Worth remembering that this nation, if not quite this team, reached the World Cup final four years ago.

Zlatko Dalic has made his picks; how far can they go this time?

Croatia World Cup 2022 squad guide, fixtures and ones to watch

Switzerland squad confirmed for World Cup

10:29 , Karl Matchett

And now so do Switzerland confirm their own squad.

Murat Yakin includes, as expected, the likes of Shaqiri, Xhaka, Denis Zakaria and Fabian Schar, as well as new Man City signing Manuel Akanji and RB Salzburg starlet Noah Okafor.

Jonas Omlin is called in as the third-choice ‘keeper after Mvogo’s injury.

Croatia squad confirmed for World Cup

10:23 , Karl Matchett

Luka Modric, Ivan Perisic, Mateo Kovacic and Marcelo Brozovic are the headline names as the Croatia squad is confirmed.

Zlatko Dalic hasn’t left out any enormous names - outside of Ante Rebic, who has not been involved - but Duje Caleta-Car is one high-profile defender who doesn’t make the cut.

Switzerland goalkeeper Yvon Mvogo out of World Cup

10:15 , Karl Matchett

Another player confirming he’s out of the World Cup and the injuries keep on coming.

Switzerland’s second-choice goalkeeper Yvon Mvogo went off injured for Lorient just a few minutes into their weekend defeat to PSG and has confirmed on Twitter he’ll miss out on Qatar.

“Terribly disappointed and frustrated by this injury,” he wrote. “To my greatest regret I will unfortunately miss the World Cup.” Mvogo thanked fans for their messages of support - we’ll find out who replaces him as the extra ‘keeper in Switzerland’s squad shortly, with Dortmund’s Gregor Kobel and ‘Gladbach’s Yann Sommer, the first choice, likely inclusions.

Terriblement déçu et frustré par cette blessure😔
À mon plus grand regret je vais malheureusement manquer la @fifaworldcup
Soyez sûrs que je vais travailler très dur pour revenir au plus vite et plus fort que jamais💪🏾
Merci pour tous vos messages ❤️ pic.twitter.com/KEmTuJXub9

— Yvon Mvogo (@YMvogo) November 8, 2022

Fifa 23 predicts winners of 2022 World Cup - after getting last three correct

10:08 , Karl Matchett

Argentina will win the World Cup in Qatar - according to Fifa 23.

The Albiceleste haven’t lifted the trophy since Diego Maradona inspired them to victory back in 1986 for a second title in their history.

Lionel Messi‘s side are one of the tournament favourites this time around after a hugely impressive South American qualifying campaign.

And according to a 32-team simulation using EA’s flagship title to play out all 64 matches, they do indeed come out on top with skipper Messi scoring in the final against rivals Brazil and taking home the Golden Boot as tournament top scorer.

If Argentine fans are looking for good omens, the Fifa game has actually correctly predicted the last three winners of the men’s tournament - Spain in 2010, Germany in 2014 and France last time around in 2018.

More here, including how far England go:

Fifa 23 predicts winners of 2022 World Cup - after getting last three correct

World Cup squad announcements: Croatia and Switzerland to reveal 26

09:57 , Karl Matchett

At the top of the hour we should get the next two nations confirming their final squads of 26.

Croatia and Switzerland are readying their lists, with the likes of Luka Modric and Mateo Kovacic key for the former and Xherdan Shaqiri and Granit Xhaka among the Swiss’ stars.

Later on today, all of France, Wales and USA will also be naming their squads.

 (POOL/AFP via Getty Images) (POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

(POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Conflicting reports over Sadio Mane injury and World Cup participation

09:55 , Karl Matchett

Senegal were left sweating last night over star forward Sadio Mane and there are very differing reports this morning over the Bayern man, who went off injured.

“Sadio Mane was hit on the leg, which caused him a little nerve pain. Nothing too serious and his participation in the World Cup should not be in jeopardy,” assistant coach Dino Toppmoeller told reporters.

Bayern coach Nagelsmann said the two-times African Footballer of the Year would undergo scans on the injury.

“I can’t say anything for sure, he took a blow to the head of his shin. That’s an unpleasant spot, it radiates a bit into the muscles,” Nagelsmann said. “I think he has to go to the X-ray to see if there is something there, because it is splintering easily. But I hope that nothing is wrong. I can’t say anything for sure yet.”

However, that is all in contrast to reports in France.

L’Equipe are this morning reporting that it’s an Achilles injury which Mane has suffered and, as a result, he’s set to miss the entire World Cup finals.

 (AFP via Getty Images) (AFP via Getty Images)

(AFP via Getty Images)

What time is the Wales World Cup squad announcement and where can I watch it?

09:45 , Karl Matchett

The deadline for every manager to name their World Cup 2022 squads is fast approaching, with initial long lists now being whittled down to just 26 players.

Most nations are getting ahead of the game though and confirming their final group across the course of this week; Brazil’s squad was named on Monday and England will follow suit on Thursday, but before the Three Lions it’s the turn of another of the home nations.

Wales are naming their squad on Wednesday evening, after taking a circuitous route to the finals. Head coach Robert Page is going back to his roots, making the announcement in his hometown of Tylorstown.

The Dragons secured the last play-off spot in the Uefa qualifying section, then beat Austria and Ukraine in the play-offs themselves to seal a first World Cup appearance since 1958.

Here’s everything you need to know on Wales’ announcement, including when and where to watch.

What time is Wales World Cup squad announcement and where to watch it?

World Cup injuries: Which players are out of Qatar 2022 and who is racing to be fit?

09:35 , Karl Matchett

On the back of those two latest injury worries, here’s an updated look at the players who are definitely out of Qatar 2022, and those who face a race to get back.

One positive for Germany is that both Leroy Sane and Manuel Neuer played last night, having previously been sidelined through injury.

Timo Werner (Germany), Ben Chilwell (England), Maxime Crepeau (Canada) and Yuta Nakayama (Japan) are the latest players confirmed to be injured and definitely out of the finals.

World Cup injuries: Which players are out of Qatar 2022 and who is racing to be fit?

Sadio Mane: Senegal forward taken off injured for Bayern Munich two weeks before World Cup

09:25 , Karl Matchett

James Justin isn’t the only player who suffered an injury on Tuesday night - a far bigger name and more important player to his national team also limped off.

Former Liverpool forward Sadio Mane was taken off injured during Bayern Munich’s 6-1 Bundesliga win over Werder Bremen on Tuesday night, giving rise to fears over his place at the World Cup 2022.

The 30-year-old was withdrawn with an apparent knee problem after only 21 minutes of the encounter and manager Julian Nagelsmann did not provide much clue after the game as to how significant the issue was.

“I didn’t see him after the game, I hope it’s not a big injury. But I don’t know at the moment. We’ll see tomorrow and then give an update,” he said.

Senegal’s first game is just 13 days away, as they face Netherlands in Group A before also playing hosts Qatar and Ecuador.

More details on Mane, who scored the penalty to send his nation to Qatar:

Sadio Mane taken off injured for Bayern two weeks before World Cup

England World Cup squad hopeful James Justin faces scan after injury during Leicester Carabao Cup win

09:15 , Karl Matchett

Leicester’s James Justin will have a scan on Wednesday to discover the extent of his injury after he was carried off against Newport.

The defender was forced off in the 3-0 Carabao Cup win after scoring the opener before Jamie Vardy’s brace eased the Foxes into the fourth round.

Justin’s injury overshadowed a routine victory and came following his first goal in almost two years.

He was understood to be on Gareth Southgate’s 55-man long list for the World Cup ahead of Thursday’s final squad announcement.

Leicester assistant boss Chris Davies said: “He felt something, he will have a scan to see what it was. I’m not sure where it is, he has felt something so we will have to see how it goes.”

Full story:

England squad hopeful Justin faces scan after injury during Leicester win

Qatar World Cup ambassador says homosexuality is ‘damage in the mind’

09:05 , Karl Matchett

A Qatar World Cup ambassador has told German television broadcaster ZDF that homosexuality was “damage in the mind”, as the Gulf state prepares to host the global tournament in less than two weeks.

In an interview filmed in Doha and to be screened later on Tuesday, former Qatari international Khalid Salman addressed the issue of homosexuality, which is illegal in the conservative Muslim country.

Some football players have raised concerns over the rights of fans travelling to the event, especially LGBT+ individuals and women, whom rights groups say Qatari laws discriminate against.

The country expects more than one million visitors for the World Cup.

Qatar World Cup ambassador says homosexuality is ‘damage in the mind’

World Cup 2022 latest news

08:10 , Karl Matchett

Good morning and welcome to The Independent for another day of live build-up to the 2022 World Cup.

It’s a big one on Wednesday too: several European nations are set to name their final 26 for the tournament in Qatar, including Wales and France.

Later on, Gregg Berhalter is set to light up the Empire State Building in red, white and blue as USA also name their squad in typically understated fashion.

We’ll also bring you reaction and comment from senior figures in the game, injury updates and plenty more.