MANCHESTER, England ( Associated Press) – The pain on Rafael Varane’s face said it all.
The Manchester United central defender couldn’t hide his feelings thinking he might miss out on a World Cup clash with defending champions France.
Pulling his jersey across his face on the Stamford Bridge pitch last week, he tried to wipe away tears.
Varane was too nervous to speak to the team doctors after the match and there was growing uncertainty about his right thigh injury.
Earlier this month, Tottenham’s Richardson also appeared distraught as he suffered a calf injury.
The Brazil striker was in tears about the prospect, saying his “dream” of representing his country at the World Cup was over.
Varane and Richardson are expected to reach Qatar as the injuries were not as serious as they had feared.
But their reactions underscore players’ panic as the World Cup approaches, especially as football continues a week before the tournament begins.
France and Brazil are not the only victims. Argentina, England, Portugal and Mexico have players whose participation is unknown or have already been dropped.
Portugal have lost striker Diogo Jota forever, while England have almost knocked out right-back Reece James.
Argentina await the recovery of Angel Di Maria, Paulo Dybala and Joaquín Correa, who are all pieces of the Albiceleste attack. Mexico lights candles for Ral Jiménez and Jesus Corona, also key figures in its aggressive staging. Uruguay hopes Ronald Araujo will overcome an adductor injury to his right leg.
The congested schedule due to mid-season tournaments increases the chances of injury.
Major clubs have been playing matches twice a week from the start of the season to complete the early stages of European competition.
This has worried coaches, who will only have a week to be with their players when the domestic league is shut down.
“What I see is a packed schedule, a lot of players playing a lot of minutes and I know we will lose a lot,” England manager Gareth Southgate said last month.
Southgate plan to announce their call-up ahead of the final day of the Premier League over the weekend of 12-13 November.
In addition to James due to knee injuries, Manchester City’s Kyle Walker and Calvin Phillips are trying to recover from injuries from groin and shoulder operations and could therefore be ruled out shortly before kick-off. ,
But United manager Eric ten Haag has warned his players not to be distracted by Qatar’s views.
“Attention is important because the risk is high if you don’t have the necessary attention,” the Dutch coach said this week.
Southgate’s prediction that he would lose troops came true with James.
Whatever the attention of the players, it is possible that there will be more scenes like Varane at Stamford Bridge.