Who made the final 2022 World Cup squads?
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Who made the final 2022 World Cup squads?

The 32 nations heading to Qatar have announced their 2022 World Cup squads, with the tournament about to get under way.

We have scoured through each selection to create teams of players who have something interesting in common.

Who are the best players set to miss the World Cup?

The Premier League’s runaway top scorer Erling Haaland will be getting a much-needed rest as Norway failed to qualify.

Likewise, last year’s Golden Boot winner Mo Salah will not be at the tournament, with Egypt having lost their qualification play-off against Senegal.

Among other key absentees, France have lost N’Golo Kante, Paul Pogba and Presnel Kimpembe to injury, while England’s conundrum of who to play at right-back was made a little easier by Reece James’ knee problem.

Who are the oldest players at the World Cup?

Several of the game’s ageing stars are likely to be playing in their final World Cup, although none will threaten Roger Milla’s record as the tournament’s oldest goalscorer (42).

Mexican goalkeeper Alfredo Talavera is the only 40-year-old at the tournament, with Canada’s captain and record appearance maker Atiba Hutchinson the oldest outfield player (39 years and 285 days).

Cristiano Ronaldo – who has struggled to make an impact for Manchester United this season – is playing in his fifth World Cup for Portugal at the age of 37, while his perennial rival for the title of ‘greatest of all-time’ – 35-year-old Lionel Messi – is reaching the same tally with Argentina.

Pepe (formerly of Real Madrid) and Dani Alves (ex-Barcelona) will feature for Portugal and Brazil respectively, having both already celebrated their 39th birthday.

Which players are close to a landmark?

The recently crowned Ballon d’Or winner Karim Benzema will become the 10th France player to reach 100 caps providing he plays in all of their group matches.

Meanwhile, Thibaut Courtois and Kevin De Bruyne will celebrate the milestone for Belgium if they are able to go deep into the tournament.

Injured Wolves striker Raul Jimenez could also bring up a century of appearances for Mexico, having been included in his country’s squad despite not playing since August.

Who will captain their nation at the World Cup?

France’s Hugo Lloris is bidding to become the first captain to lift the trophy more than once, while Tottenham team-mate Harry Kane is aiming to emulate Bobby Moore by winning the World Cup as England skipper.

Elsewhere, Sergio Busquets, Eden Hazard and Robert Lewandowski will captain Spain, Belgium and Poland respectively in what could prove to be their final shots at major tournament glory.

Andres Guardado also deserves a mention in his fifth World Cup – the Mexico midfielder is the second-most capped player at the tournament, behind Ronaldo.

Who are the youngest players at the World Cup?

The World Cup has a rich history of unearthing young talent, going all the way back to Pele, who burst onto the scene as a 17-year-old when Brazil triumphed in 1958.

At the age of just 19, England’s Jude Bellingham leads an array of gifted teenagers in Qatar.

Barcelona’s heirs apparent to Xavi and Andres Iniesta – Pedri and Gavi – are both likely starters for Spain.

It’s also worth looking out for Germany’s Jamal Musiala, who has cemented a place in Bayern Munich’s side this season.

The youngest players at the tournament are strikers Youssoufa Moukoko and Garang Kuol, who represent Germany and Australia respectively. Moukoko is the latest off the Borussia Dortmund talent production line, while Kuol is joining Newcastle in January.

Who will be making their World Cup debut in Qatar?

Finally, there is a crop of high-profile players making an overdue debut on football’s biggest stage among the 2022 World Cup squads.

Gareth Bale will at last get the chance to represent Wales at a World Cup, having led the Dragons to qualification for the first time since 1958.

Remarkably, Virgil van Dijk will be appearing in a major international tournament for the first time at the age of 31, after sitting out Euro 2020 with an injury.

Liverpool team-mates Fabinho and Darwin Nunez will also make their World Cup bows having only recently established themselves in their national set-ups.

Meanwhile, Manchester City trio Jack Grealish, Joao Cancelo and Aymeric Laporte might have cost more than £200million in transfer fees but none of them has previously been to a World Cup.

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