Benfica

Benfica slideshow

Ricardo Pereira (R) helped Porto hold off Benfica and Sporting Lisbon to win the Portuguese league title
Ricardo Pereira (R) helped Porto hold off Benfica and Sporting Lisbon to win the Portuguese league title
Ricardo Pereira (R) helped Porto hold off Benfica and Sporting Lisbon to win the Portuguese league title
Ricardo Pereira (R) helped Porto hold off Benfica and Sporting Lisbon to win the Portuguese league title (AFP Photo/MIGUEL RIOPA)
Ricardo Pereira (R) helped Porto hold off Benfica and Sporting Lisbon to win the Portuguese league title
Ricardo Pereira (R) helped Porto hold off Benfica and Sporting Lisbon to win the Portuguese league title (AFP Photo/MIGUEL RIOPA)
Next season, the Super Eagles right-back will line up for Rui Vitória's side after completing a deal that runs through till the winter of 2023
Benfica sign Tyronne Ebuehi from ADO Den Haag
Next season, the Super Eagles right-back will line up for Rui Vitória's side after completing a deal that runs through till the winter of 2023
Next season, the Super Eagles right-back will line up for Rui Vitória's side after completing a deal that runs through till the winter of 2023
Benfica sign Tyronne Ebuehi from ADO Den Haag
Next season, the Super Eagles right-back will line up for Rui Vitória's side after completing a deal that runs through till the winter of 2023
Next season, the Super Eagles right-back will line up for Rui Vitória's side after completing a deal that runs through till the winter of 2023
Benfica sign Tyronne Ebuehi from ADO Den Haag
Next season, the Super Eagles right-back will line up for Rui Vitória's side after completing a deal that runs through till the winter of 2023
Next season, the Super Eagles right-back will line up for Rui Vitória's side after completing a deal that runs through till the winter of 2023
Benfica sign Tyronne Ebuehi from ADO Den Haag
Next season, the Super Eagles right-back will line up for Rui Vitória's side after completing a deal that runs through till the winter of 2023
Next season, the Super Eagles right-back will line up for Rui Vitória's side after completing a deal that runs through till the winter of 2023
Benfica sign Tyronne Ebuehi from ADO Den Haag
Next season, the Super Eagles right-back will line up for Rui Vitória's side after completing a deal that runs through till the winter of 2023
Next season, the Super Eagles right-back will line up for Rui Vitória's side after completing a deal that runs through till the winter of 2023
Benfica sign Tyronne Ebuehi from ADO Den Haag
Next season, the Super Eagles right-back will line up for Rui Vitória's side after completing a deal that runs through till the winter of 2023
Next season, the Super Eagles right-back will line up for Rui Vitória's side after completing a deal that runs through till the winter of 2023
Benfica sign Tyronne Ebuehi from ADO Den Haag
Next season, the Super Eagles right-back will line up for Rui Vitória's side after completing a deal that runs through till the winter of 2023
Next season, the Super Eagles right-back will line up for Rui Vitória's side after completing a deal that runs through till the winter of 2023
Benfica sign Tyronne Ebuehi from ADO Den Haag
Next season, the Super Eagles right-back will line up for Rui Vitória's side after completing a deal that runs through till the winter of 2023
Rui Faria in line to be offered Benfica job after leaving Manchester United
Rui Faria in line to be offered Benfica job after leaving Manchester United
Rui Faria in line to be offered Benfica job after leaving Manchester United
Rui Faria in line to be offered Benfica job after leaving Manchester United
Rui Faria in line to be offered Benfica job after leaving Manchester United
Rui Faria in line to be offered Benfica job after leaving Manchester United
Rui Faria, Jose Mourinho’s long-serving assistant, is expected to be offered his first managerial job with Portuguese giants Benfica should they sack their coach. Rui Vitoria is under extreme pressure at the Lisbon club, having lost the Portuguese league to Porto this season and may be replaced. It was announced at the weekend that Faria is leaving Manchester United and severing his 17-year association with Mourinho, who has tipped the former fitness coach to take a top managerial job. Faria’s departure is a significant blow to Mourinho although he has long talked up the 42-year-old’s prospects of taking charge of a club in recent weeks, aware that he wants to go. The pair have been together throughout Mourinho’s trophy-winning spells at Porto, Chelsea, Inter Milan, Real Madrid and United. Mourinho first encountered Faria at Barcelona and then took him to Uniao Leiria as his fitness coach in 2001. Faria followed Mourinho to Porto, where they won the Uefa Cup and Champions League as well as back-to-back league titles and their careers took off. Mourinho believes Faria will go on to become a successful manager Credit: Getty Images Mourinho has already said he will not directly replace Faria but will re-organise his coaching staff – which will now include Michael Carrick, as he retires as a player – without a recognised number two for the time being. It remains to be seen whether despite Faria’s experience and impressive track record he has the temperament to succeed as a manager, especially when it comes to dealing with the media. Vitoria is in his third season at Benfica and won the Portuguese title in each of the last two, but this year he lost out to Sergio Conceicao’s Porto in the league. Best Man Utd XI of all time Mourinho had a brief three-month spell at Benfica himself before he started working with Faria back in 2000. It is understood that a return to Portugal may appeal to Faria who said in the statement announcing he was leaving United that he wanted to spend more time with his family and assess his options. Faria is not in the running to become the new head coach of Arsenal or, it seems, any other Premier League club despite the expected summer of upheaval in England.
Rui Faria in line to be offered Benfica job after leaving Manchester United
Rui Faria, Jose Mourinho’s long-serving assistant, is expected to be offered his first managerial job with Portuguese giants Benfica should they sack their coach. Rui Vitoria is under extreme pressure at the Lisbon club, having lost the Portuguese league to Porto this season and may be replaced. It was announced at the weekend that Faria is leaving Manchester United and severing his 17-year association with Mourinho, who has tipped the former fitness coach to take a top managerial job. Faria’s departure is a significant blow to Mourinho although he has long talked up the 42-year-old’s prospects of taking charge of a club in recent weeks, aware that he wants to go. The pair have been together throughout Mourinho’s trophy-winning spells at Porto, Chelsea, Inter Milan, Real Madrid and United. Mourinho first encountered Faria at Barcelona and then took him to Uniao Leiria as his fitness coach in 2001. Faria followed Mourinho to Porto, where they won the Uefa Cup and Champions League as well as back-to-back league titles and their careers took off. Mourinho believes Faria will go on to become a successful manager Credit: Getty Images Mourinho has already said he will not directly replace Faria but will re-organise his coaching staff – which will now include Michael Carrick, as he retires as a player – without a recognised number two for the time being. It remains to be seen whether despite Faria’s experience and impressive track record he has the temperament to succeed as a manager, especially when it comes to dealing with the media. Vitoria is in his third season at Benfica and won the Portuguese title in each of the last two, but this year he lost out to Sergio Conceicao’s Porto in the league. Best Man Utd XI of all time Mourinho had a brief three-month spell at Benfica himself before he started working with Faria back in 2000. It is understood that a return to Portugal may appeal to Faria who said in the statement announcing he was leaving United that he wanted to spend more time with his family and assess his options. Faria is not in the running to become the new head coach of Arsenal or, it seems, any other Premier League club despite the expected summer of upheaval in England.
Rui Faria in line to be offered Benfica job after leaving Manchester United
Rui Faria in line to be offered Benfica job after leaving Manchester United
Rui Faria in line to be offered Benfica job after leaving Manchester United
Rui Faria, Jose Mourinho’s long-serving assistant, is expected to be offered his first managerial job with Portuguese giants Benfica should they sack their coach. Rui Vitoria is under extreme pressure at the Lisbon club, having lost the Portuguese league to Porto this season and may be replaced. It was announced at the weekend that Faria is leaving Manchester United and severing his 17-year association with Mourinho, who has tipped the former fitness coach to take a top managerial job. Faria’s departure is a significant blow to Mourinho although he has long talked up the 42-year-old’s prospects of taking charge of a club in recent weeks, aware that he wants to go. The pair have been together throughout Mourinho’s trophy-winning spells at Porto, Chelsea, Inter Milan, Real Madrid and United. Mourinho first encountered Faria at Barcelona and then took him to Uniao Leiria as his fitness coach in 2001. Faria followed Mourinho to Porto, where they won the Uefa Cup and Champions League as well as back-to-back league titles and their careers took off. Mourinho believes Faria will go on to become a successful manager Credit: Getty Images Mourinho has already said he will not directly replace Faria but will re-organise his coaching staff – which will now include Michael Carrick, as he retires as a player – without a recognised number two for the time being. It remains to be seen whether despite Faria’s experience and impressive track record he has the temperament to succeed as a manager, especially when it comes to dealing with the media. Vitoria is in his third season at Benfica and won the Portuguese title in each of the last two, but this year he lost out to Sergio Conceicao’s Porto in the league. Best Man Utd XI of all time Mourinho had a brief three-month spell at Benfica himself before he started working with Faria back in 2000. It is understood that a return to Portugal may appeal to Faria who said in the statement announcing he was leaving United that he wanted to spend more time with his family and assess his options. Faria is not in the running to become the new head coach of Arsenal or, it seems, any other Premier League club despite the expected summer of upheaval in England.
Rui Faria in line to be offered Benfica job after leaving Manchester United
Rui Faria, Jose Mourinho’s long-serving assistant, is expected to be offered his first managerial job with Portuguese giants Benfica should they sack their coach. Rui Vitoria is under extreme pressure at the Lisbon club, having lost the Portuguese league to Porto this season and may be replaced. It was announced at the weekend that Faria is leaving Manchester United and severing his 17-year association with Mourinho, who has tipped the former fitness coach to take a top managerial job. Faria’s departure is a significant blow to Mourinho although he has long talked up the 42-year-old’s prospects of taking charge of a club in recent weeks, aware that he wants to go. The pair have been together throughout Mourinho’s trophy-winning spells at Porto, Chelsea, Inter Milan, Real Madrid and United. Mourinho first encountered Faria at Barcelona and then took him to Uniao Leiria as his fitness coach in 2001. Faria followed Mourinho to Porto, where they won the Uefa Cup and Champions League as well as back-to-back league titles and their careers took off. Mourinho believes Faria will go on to become a successful manager Credit: Getty Images Mourinho has already said he will not directly replace Faria but will re-organise his coaching staff – which will now include Michael Carrick, as he retires as a player – without a recognised number two for the time being. It remains to be seen whether despite Faria’s experience and impressive track record he has the temperament to succeed as a manager, especially when it comes to dealing with the media. Vitoria is in his third season at Benfica and won the Portuguese title in each of the last two, but this year he lost out to Sergio Conceicao’s Porto in the league. Best Man Utd XI of all time Mourinho had a brief three-month spell at Benfica himself before he started working with Faria back in 2000. It is understood that a return to Portugal may appeal to Faria who said in the statement announcing he was leaving United that he wanted to spend more time with his family and assess his options. Faria is not in the running to become the new head coach of Arsenal or, it seems, any other Premier League club despite the expected summer of upheaval in England.
​Manchester City stopper Ederson has signed a new seven year deal with the Premier League champions, tying him to the Etihad until the summer of 2025. The Brazil international joined the club from Benfica last summer in a €40m move, and has been at the heart of the club's blitz of English football this season with his impressive range of passing and assuredness under pressure. Amazing news!@edersonmoraes93 has signed a new deal and committed himself to the Club until 2025!  #mancity...
Man City Stopper Ederson Signs Monster 7-Year Deal at Etihad Just Hours After 100-Point Season Ends
​Manchester City stopper Ederson has signed a new seven year deal with the Premier League champions, tying him to the Etihad until the summer of 2025. The Brazil international joined the club from Benfica last summer in a €40m move, and has been at the heart of the club's blitz of English football this season with his impressive range of passing and assuredness under pressure. Amazing news!@edersonmoraes93 has signed a new deal and committed himself to the Club until 2025!  #mancity...
MAC. Lisbon (Portugal), 13/05/2018.- Benfica's players celebrate after scoring the first goal against Moreirense during their Portuguese First League soccer match held at Luz Stadium in Lisbon, Portugal, 13 May 2018. (Lisboa) EFE/EPA/MARIO CRUZ
MAC. Lisbon (Portugal), 13/05/2018.- Benfica's players celebrate after scoring the first goal against Moreirense during their Portuguese First League soccer match held at Luz Stadium in Lisbon, Portugal, 13 May 2018. (Lisboa) EFE/EPA/MARIO CRUZ
MAC. Lisbon (Portugal), 13/05/2018.- Benfica's players celebrate after scoring the first goal against Moreirense during their Portuguese First League soccer match held at Luz Stadium in Lisbon, Portugal, 13 May 2018. (Lisboa) EFE/EPA/MARIO CRUZ
MAC. Lisbon (Portugal), 13/05/2018.- Benfica's player Cervi (R) in action against Moreirense's player Pierre Sagna (L) during their Portuguese First League soccer match held at Luz Stadium in Lisbon, Portugal, 13 May 2018. (Lisboa) EFE/EPA/MARIO CRUZ
MAC. Lisbon (Portugal), 13/05/2018.- Benfica's player Cervi (R) in action against Moreirense's player Pierre Sagna (L) during their Portuguese First League soccer match held at Luz Stadium in Lisbon, Portugal, 13 May 2018. (Lisboa) EFE/EPA/MARIO CRUZ
MAC. Lisbon (Portugal), 13/05/2018.- Benfica's player Cervi (R) in action against Moreirense's player Pierre Sagna (L) during their Portuguese First League soccer match held at Luz Stadium in Lisbon, Portugal, 13 May 2018. (Lisboa) EFE/EPA/MARIO CRUZ
MAC. Lisbon (Portugal), 13/05/2018.- Benfica's player Jonas celebrates after scoring the first goal against Moreirense during the Portuguese First League soccer match against Moreirense held at Luz Stadium in Lisbon, Portugal, 13 May 2018. (Lisboa) EFE/EPA/MARIO CRUZ
MAC. Lisbon (Portugal), 13/05/2018.- Benfica's player Jonas celebrates after scoring the first goal against Moreirense during the Portuguese First League soccer match against Moreirense held at Luz Stadium in Lisbon, Portugal, 13 May 2018. (Lisboa) EFE/EPA/MARIO CRUZ
MAC. Lisbon (Portugal), 13/05/2018.- Benfica's player Jonas celebrates after scoring the first goal against Moreirense during the Portuguese First League soccer match against Moreirense held at Luz Stadium in Lisbon, Portugal, 13 May 2018. (Lisboa) EFE/EPA/MARIO CRUZ
MAC. Lisbon (Portugal), 13/05/2018.- Benfica's player Jonas celebrates after scoring the first goal against Moreirense during the Portuguese First League soccer match against Moreirense held at Luz Stadium in Lisbon, Portugal, 13 May 2018. (Lisboa) EFE/EPA/MARIO CRUZ
MAC. Lisbon (Portugal), 13/05/2018.- Benfica's player Jonas celebrates after scoring the first goal against Moreirense during the Portuguese First League soccer match against Moreirense held at Luz Stadium in Lisbon, Portugal, 13 May 2018. (Lisboa) EFE/EPA/MARIO CRUZ
MAC. Lisbon (Portugal), 13/05/2018.- Benfica's player Jonas celebrates after scoring the first goal against Moreirense during the Portuguese First League soccer match against Moreirense held at Luz Stadium in Lisbon, Portugal, 13 May 2018. (Lisboa) EFE/EPA/MARIO CRUZ
MAC. Lisbon (Portugal), 13/05/2018.- Benfica's player Jonas celebrates after scoring the first goal against Moreirense during the Portuguese First League soccer match against Moreirense held at Luz Stadium in Lisbon, Portugal, 13 May 2018. (Lisboa) EFE/EPA/MARIO CRUZ
MAC. Lisbon (Portugal), 13/05/2018.- Benfica's player Jonas celebrates after scoring the first goal against Moreirense during the Portuguese First League soccer match against Moreirense held at Luz Stadium in Lisbon, Portugal, 13 May 2018. (Lisboa) EFE/EPA/MARIO CRUZ
MAC. Lisbon (Portugal), 13/05/2018.- Benfica's player Jonas celebrates after scoring the first goal against Moreirense during the Portuguese First League soccer match against Moreirense held at Luz Stadium in Lisbon, Portugal, 13 May 2018. (Lisboa) EFE/EPA/MARIO CRUZ
MAC. Lisbon (Portugal), 13/05/2018.- Benfica's player Luisao (C-L) in action against Moreirense's player Ronaldo Pena (C-R) during the Portuguese First League soccer match against Moreirense held at Luz Stadium in Lisbon, Portugal, 13 May 2018. (Lisboa) EFE/EPA/MARIO CRUZ
MAC. Lisbon (Portugal), 13/05/2018.- Benfica's player Luisao (C-L) in action against Moreirense's player Ronaldo Pena (C-R) during the Portuguese First League soccer match against Moreirense held at Luz Stadium in Lisbon, Portugal, 13 May 2018. (Lisboa) EFE/EPA/MARIO CRUZ
MAC. Lisbon (Portugal), 13/05/2018.- Benfica's player Luisao (C-L) in action against Moreirense's player Ronaldo Pena (C-R) during the Portuguese First League soccer match against Moreirense held at Luz Stadium in Lisbon, Portugal, 13 May 2018. (Lisboa) EFE/EPA/MARIO CRUZ
MAC. Lisbon (Portugal), 13/05/2018.- Benfica's fans cheer during the Portuguese First League soccer match against Moreirense held at Luz Stadium in Lisbon, Portugal, 13 May 2018. (Lisboa) EFE/EPA/MARIO CRUZ
MAC. Lisbon (Portugal), 13/05/2018.- Benfica's fans cheer during the Portuguese First League soccer match against Moreirense held at Luz Stadium in Lisbon, Portugal, 13 May 2018. (Lisboa) EFE/EPA/MARIO CRUZ
MAC. Lisbon (Portugal), 13/05/2018.- Benfica's fans cheer during the Portuguese First League soccer match against Moreirense held at Luz Stadium in Lisbon, Portugal, 13 May 2018. (Lisboa) EFE/EPA/MARIO CRUZ
MAC. Lisbon (Portugal), 13/05/2018.- Benfica's head coach Rui Vitoria reacts during the Portuguese First League soccer match against Moreirense held at Luz Stadium in Lisbon, Portugal, 13 May 2018. (Lisboa) EFE/EPA/MARIO CRUZ
MAC. Lisbon (Portugal), 13/05/2018.- Benfica's head coach Rui Vitoria reacts during the Portuguese First League soccer match against Moreirense held at Luz Stadium in Lisbon, Portugal, 13 May 2018. (Lisboa) EFE/EPA/MARIO CRUZ
MAC. Lisbon (Portugal), 13/05/2018.- Benfica's head coach Rui Vitoria reacts during the Portuguese First League soccer match against Moreirense held at Luz Stadium in Lisbon, Portugal, 13 May 2018. (Lisboa) EFE/EPA/MARIO CRUZ
MAC. Lisbon (Portugal), 13/05/2018.- Benfica's head coach Rui Vitoria (L) reacts during the Portuguese First League soccer match against Moreirense held at Luz Stadium in Lisbon, Portugal, 13 May 2018. (Lisboa) EFE/EPA/MARIO CRUZ
MAC. Lisbon (Portugal), 13/05/2018.- Benfica's head coach Rui Vitoria (L) reacts during the Portuguese First League soccer match against Moreirense held at Luz Stadium in Lisbon, Portugal, 13 May 2018. (Lisboa) EFE/EPA/MARIO CRUZ
MAC. Lisbon (Portugal), 13/05/2018.- Benfica's head coach Rui Vitoria (L) reacts during the Portuguese First League soccer match against Moreirense held at Luz Stadium in Lisbon, Portugal, 13 May 2018. (Lisboa) EFE/EPA/MARIO CRUZ
MAC. Lisbon (Portugal), 13/05/2018.- Benfica's player Pizzi (C) in action against Moreirense's player Angelo Neto (L) during their Portuguese First League soccer match held at Luz Stadium in Lisbon, Portugal, 13 May 2018. (Lisboa) EFE/EPA/MARIO CRUZ
MAC. Lisbon (Portugal), 13/05/2018.- Benfica's player Pizzi (C) in action against Moreirense's player Angelo Neto (L) during their Portuguese First League soccer match held at Luz Stadium in Lisbon, Portugal, 13 May 2018. (Lisboa) EFE/EPA/MARIO CRUZ
MAC. Lisbon (Portugal), 13/05/2018.- Benfica's player Pizzi (C) in action against Moreirense's player Angelo Neto (L) during their Portuguese First League soccer match held at Luz Stadium in Lisbon, Portugal, 13 May 2018. (Lisboa) EFE/EPA/MARIO CRUZ
MAC. Lisbon (Portugal), 13/05/2018.- Benfica's player Douglas (R) in action against Moreirense's player Ruben Lima (L) during their Portuguese First League soccer match held at Luz Stadium in Lisbon, Portugal, 13 May 2018. (Lisboa) EFE/EPA/MARIO CRUZ
MAC. Lisbon (Portugal), 13/05/2018.- Benfica's player Douglas (R) in action against Moreirense's player Ruben Lima (L) during their Portuguese First League soccer match held at Luz Stadium in Lisbon, Portugal, 13 May 2018. (Lisboa) EFE/EPA/MARIO CRUZ
MAC. Lisbon (Portugal), 13/05/2018.- Benfica's player Douglas (R) in action against Moreirense's player Ruben Lima (L) during their Portuguese First League soccer match held at Luz Stadium in Lisbon, Portugal, 13 May 2018. (Lisboa) EFE/EPA/MARIO CRUZ
At Swansea's annual awards bash, the club’s star loan signing Renato Sanches was initially stopped at the door because security staff failed to recognise the Portuguese teenager. It summed up the minimal impact the Bayern Munich midfielder has made at the Liberty Stadium and as Swansea prepare to drop into the Championship following Sunday's clash with Stoke, the club have at last provided a searingly honest assessment of the 20-year-old. Barring a mathematical miracle, Swansea’s seven-year spell in the top-flight will end, with Sanches not even making the match day squad. “Renato knows he has had a very bad season. He is not at the level he was and when he had the injury in January, it finished him,” said Swansea manager Carlos Carvalhal, who is set to lose his job. “He would agree this has been a really bad season for him. Someone told me he could go back to Benfica and if he can, it is the best step for him. “It happens often with Portuguese players. Renato has a big talent, but he has much to learn. He stopped learning when he left Benfica and went to one of the biggest clubs in the world. Sanches has barely played for Swansea Credit: Reuters “I think by going back to Benfica and having his friends and mother and father around him - and a good club to support him - he can achieve the best level. He needs to go back to Portugal because he is a boy and he is not ready for Premier League level.” Sanches has made just 15 appearances for Swansea and has achieved nothing of note, despite the excitement which surrounded his arrival under Carvalhal’s predecessor Paul Clement. Club legend Leon Britton will take Sanches’ place on the bench against Stoke and will make his 527th and final appearance after announcing his retirement. Swansea supporters will protest against chairman Huw Jenkins and American owners Jason Levien and Steve Kaplan in the 28th minute by waving bank notes. This is not a happy club right now. RS emoji is coming ✌�� pic.twitter.com/2Wmjeqyx1T— renatosanches (@renatosanches35) May 9, 2018 Sanches – talented though he no doubt is – has summed up a campaign to forget and his tweeting to promote the launch of his new emoji on the day Swansea’s relegation was all but confirmed enraged the team’s supporters. For a man who will probably be best remembered at Swansea for passing the ball straight into touch against Chelsea because he thought an advertising hoarding was a player, it was far from the wisest of moves. “The majority of players are not dealing with their social media, they are dealing with people who support them,” Carvalhal said. “These people think they are doing a good thing, but they are doing one of the most stupid things in the world. “I have not spoken to Renato, but I believe this is what has happened. I have seen it happen before in my career and it has happened again. I always tell players not to put social media in the hands of other people because I have seen it cause trouble many times.”
Carlos Carvalhal: Renato Sanches has had a very bad season - he stopped learning when he left Benfica
At Swansea's annual awards bash, the club’s star loan signing Renato Sanches was initially stopped at the door because security staff failed to recognise the Portuguese teenager. It summed up the minimal impact the Bayern Munich midfielder has made at the Liberty Stadium and as Swansea prepare to drop into the Championship following Sunday's clash with Stoke, the club have at last provided a searingly honest assessment of the 20-year-old. Barring a mathematical miracle, Swansea’s seven-year spell in the top-flight will end, with Sanches not even making the match day squad. “Renato knows he has had a very bad season. He is not at the level he was and when he had the injury in January, it finished him,” said Swansea manager Carlos Carvalhal, who is set to lose his job. “He would agree this has been a really bad season for him. Someone told me he could go back to Benfica and if he can, it is the best step for him. “It happens often with Portuguese players. Renato has a big talent, but he has much to learn. He stopped learning when he left Benfica and went to one of the biggest clubs in the world. Sanches has barely played for Swansea Credit: Reuters “I think by going back to Benfica and having his friends and mother and father around him - and a good club to support him - he can achieve the best level. He needs to go back to Portugal because he is a boy and he is not ready for Premier League level.” Sanches has made just 15 appearances for Swansea and has achieved nothing of note, despite the excitement which surrounded his arrival under Carvalhal’s predecessor Paul Clement. Club legend Leon Britton will take Sanches’ place on the bench against Stoke and will make his 527th and final appearance after announcing his retirement. Swansea supporters will protest against chairman Huw Jenkins and American owners Jason Levien and Steve Kaplan in the 28th minute by waving bank notes. This is not a happy club right now. RS emoji is coming ✌�� pic.twitter.com/2Wmjeqyx1T— renatosanches (@renatosanches35) May 9, 2018 Sanches – talented though he no doubt is – has summed up a campaign to forget and his tweeting to promote the launch of his new emoji on the day Swansea’s relegation was all but confirmed enraged the team’s supporters. For a man who will probably be best remembered at Swansea for passing the ball straight into touch against Chelsea because he thought an advertising hoarding was a player, it was far from the wisest of moves. “The majority of players are not dealing with their social media, they are dealing with people who support them,” Carvalhal said. “These people think they are doing a good thing, but they are doing one of the most stupid things in the world. “I have not spoken to Renato, but I believe this is what has happened. I have seen it happen before in my career and it has happened again. I always tell players not to put social media in the hands of other people because I have seen it cause trouble many times.”
Carlos Carvalhal: Renato Sanches has had a very bad season - he stopped learning when he left Benfica
Carlos Carvalhal: Renato Sanches has had a very bad season - he stopped learning when he left Benfica
Carlos Carvalhal: Renato Sanches has had a very bad season - he stopped learning when he left Benfica
At Swansea's annual awards bash, the club’s star loan signing Renato Sanches was initially stopped at the door because security staff failed to recognise the Portuguese teenager. It summed up the minimal impact the Bayern Munich midfielder has made at the Liberty Stadium and as Swansea prepare to drop into the Championship following Sunday's clash with Stoke, the club have at last provided a searingly honest assessment of the 20-year-old. Barring a mathematical miracle, Swansea’s seven-year spell in the top-flight will end, with Sanches not even making the match day squad. “Renato knows he has had a very bad season. He is not at the level he was and when he had the injury in January, it finished him,” said Swansea manager Carlos Carvalhal, who is set to lose his job. “He would agree this has been a really bad season for him. Someone told me he could go back to Benfica and if he can, it is the best step for him. “It happens often with Portuguese players. Renato has a big talent, but he has much to learn. He stopped learning when he left Benfica and went to one of the biggest clubs in the world. Sanches has barely played for Swansea Credit: Reuters “I think by going back to Benfica and having his friends and mother and father around him - and a good club to support him - he can achieve the best level. He needs to go back to Portugal because he is a boy and he is not ready for Premier League level.” Sanches has made just 15 appearances for Swansea and has achieved nothing of note, despite the excitement which surrounded his arrival under Carvalhal’s predecessor Paul Clement. Club legend Leon Britton will take Sanches’ place on the bench against Stoke and will make his 527th and final appearance after announcing his retirement. Swansea supporters will protest against chairman Huw Jenkins and American owners Jason Levien and Steve Kaplan in the 28th minute by waving bank notes. This is not a happy club right now. RS emoji is coming ✌�� pic.twitter.com/2Wmjeqyx1T— renatosanches (@renatosanches35) May 9, 2018 Sanches – talented though he no doubt is – has summed up a campaign to forget and his tweeting to promote the launch of his new emoji on the day Swansea’s relegation was all but confirmed enraged the team’s supporters. For a man who will probably be best remembered at Swansea for passing the ball straight into touch against Chelsea because he thought an advertising hoarding was a player, it was far from the wisest of moves. “The majority of players are not dealing with their social media, they are dealing with people who support them,” Carvalhal said. “These people think they are doing a good thing, but they are doing one of the most stupid things in the world. “I have not spoken to Renato, but I believe this is what has happened. I have seen it happen before in my career and it has happened again. I always tell players not to put social media in the hands of other people because I have seen it cause trouble many times.”
Carlos Carvalhal: Renato Sanches has had a very bad season - he stopped learning when he left Benfica
At Swansea's annual awards bash, the club’s star loan signing Renato Sanches was initially stopped at the door because security staff failed to recognise the Portuguese teenager. It summed up the minimal impact the Bayern Munich midfielder has made at the Liberty Stadium and as Swansea prepare to drop into the Championship following Sunday's clash with Stoke, the club have at last provided a searingly honest assessment of the 20-year-old. Barring a mathematical miracle, Swansea’s seven-year spell in the top-flight will end, with Sanches not even making the match day squad. “Renato knows he has had a very bad season. He is not at the level he was and when he had the injury in January, it finished him,” said Swansea manager Carlos Carvalhal, who is set to lose his job. “He would agree this has been a really bad season for him. Someone told me he could go back to Benfica and if he can, it is the best step for him. “It happens often with Portuguese players. Renato has a big talent, but he has much to learn. He stopped learning when he left Benfica and went to one of the biggest clubs in the world. Sanches has barely played for Swansea Credit: Reuters “I think by going back to Benfica and having his friends and mother and father around him - and a good club to support him - he can achieve the best level. He needs to go back to Portugal because he is a boy and he is not ready for Premier League level.” Sanches has made just 15 appearances for Swansea and has achieved nothing of note, despite the excitement which surrounded his arrival under Carvalhal’s predecessor Paul Clement. Club legend Leon Britton will take Sanches’ place on the bench against Stoke and will make his 527th and final appearance after announcing his retirement. Swansea supporters will protest against chairman Huw Jenkins and American owners Jason Levien and Steve Kaplan in the 28th minute by waving bank notes. This is not a happy club right now. RS emoji is coming ✌�� pic.twitter.com/2Wmjeqyx1T— renatosanches (@renatosanches35) May 9, 2018 Sanches – talented though he no doubt is – has summed up a campaign to forget and his tweeting to promote the launch of his new emoji on the day Swansea’s relegation was all but confirmed enraged the team’s supporters. For a man who will probably be best remembered at Swansea for passing the ball straight into touch against Chelsea because he thought an advertising hoarding was a player, it was far from the wisest of moves. “The majority of players are not dealing with their social media, they are dealing with people who support them,” Carvalhal said. “These people think they are doing a good thing, but they are doing one of the most stupid things in the world. “I have not spoken to Renato, but I believe this is what has happened. I have seen it happen before in my career and it has happened again. I always tell players not to put social media in the hands of other people because I have seen it cause trouble many times.”
Carlos Carvalhal: Renato Sanches has had a very bad season - he stopped learning when he left Benfica
Carlos Carvalhal: Renato Sanches has had a very bad season - he stopped learning when he left Benfica
Carlos Carvalhal: Renato Sanches has had a very bad season - he stopped learning when he left Benfica
Having endured disappointment at Inter and Benfica, Gabriel Barbosa notched the first hat-trick of his career for Santos on Thursday.
Inter flop Gabigol scores first career hat-trick for Santos
Having endured disappointment at Inter and Benfica, Gabriel Barbosa notched the first hat-trick of his career for Santos on Thursday.
Each of the 31 qualifiers for the 2018 World Cup plus the hosts will name their provisional 35 man squads for the tournament by the deadline on May 14, exactly a month before the opening game between Russia and Saudi Arabia on June 14 at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow. They will then have until June 4 to cull the numbers down to 23. Those who do not make the cut are likely to be placed on standby in case they are needed to replace any injured players. Replacements can be made at any point until 24 hours before each team's first World Cup game. Here is what we know so far about who is available and who is struggling to make it. Group A Egypt No significant injury worries for Héctor Cúper, not even over the 45-year-old goalkeeper and captain Essam El-Hadary who is firmly on course to become the oldest player in finals history. There are wider concerns over the form of West Brom's shell-shocked Ahmed Hegazi but it is countered by Mohamed Salah's during his outstanding debut season at Liverpool. Russia Stanislav Cherchisov has been tasked with taking the hosts to the last four at least, which will be difficult given their results in a very taxing build-up programme - defeated by Portugal, Mexico, Argentina, Brazil and France. Aleksandr Kokorin, the 27-year-old Zenit winger who scored Russia's goal in the draw with Algeria during the 2014 tournament, is all but certain to miss the World Cup having damaged his ACL in mid March. Igor Denisov, the Lokomotiv defensive midfielder and Russia captain under Fabio Capello, fell out with Cherchisov years ago at Dynamo Moscow and the manager has refused to pick him while arguments between Cherchisov and the 6ft 5in striker Artem Dzyuba threaten his involvement. CSKA twins Aleksei and Vasily Berezutski retired after Euro 2016 and have refused the manager's entreaties to return to the squad at the age of 35 following the serious knee injuries suffered by Viktor Vasin and Georgi Dzhikiya. Saudi Arabia The only team at the tournament ranked lower than the hosts, it's a fortuitous coincidence for Russia that they were drawn out to play the curtain-raiser. A resounding defeat by Belgium in March was forgivable but their 4-1 loss inIraq the month before has provoked understandable disquiet. Decisions to send the midfielders Yahya Al-Shehri, Salem Al-Dawsari and Fahad Al-Muwallad on loan to Leganes, Villarreal and Levante respectively in January has backfired. None of the national team stalwarts had played a minute of Liga football by the end of March 2018. Uruguay Oscar Tabárez's team looks as powerful as ever, built around the relentless, uncompromising defensive work of Diego Godín, the attacking prowess of Edinson Cavani and Luis Suárez supplied by Gastón Ramírez and now with the young, athletic Juventus midfielder Rodrigo Bentancur to add drive to the usual steel. Veteran defender Martín Cáceres has a calf injury that had restricted him to only one appearance by the end of March following his transfer from Verona after that dreadful year at Southampton and remains the major doubt. World Cup predictor Group B Iran Ashkan Dejagah, a Bundesliga title-winner with Wolfsburg and fondly remembered by Fulham fans who elected him player of the year in 2013-14, returned to England with Nottingham Forest as a free agent in January but suffered a knee injury the following month that will keep him out until the end of April. The 31-year-old midfielder, who played all three group matches in Brazil four years ago, is Carlos Queiroz's only significant injury worry. Captain Masoud Shojaei has returned to the squad after seven months and has so far overcome opposition from the deputy sports minister and another parliamentarian for playing for Panionios against Maccabi Tel Aviv in a Europa League qualifier. A national team life ban for playing against a representative of a state Iran does not recognise had been proposed but Queiroz ignored the calls. Morocco The African Nations champions qualified without conceding a goal and three-quarters of the defence that earned them their enviable record - Nabil Dirar, Mehdi Benatia and Romain Saiss - are all fit and in impressive form. The versatile Real Madrid prodigy, Achraf Hakimi, however, was withdrawn from the squad for the March friendlies when injured on the first day of training and is likely to miss a few weeks while the midfielder Ait Bennasser, who hurt his thigh while playing for Caen against Angers in March, is not expected to be back on contention until the beginning of May at the earliest. Zouhair Feddal, who plays at left-back for Real Betis, ruptured his Achilles in February and, barring a miracle, will miss the World Cup. England's World Cup 2018 squad - ranked Portugal Renato Sanches, who was so sensational at Euro 2016 that Bayern Munich agreed a deal to sign the teenage midfielder that committed them to spending as much as £72m for him, has endured a wretched run of form and fitness ever since. His latest hamstring injury while on loan at Swansea has kept him sidelined since mid January and the Premier League club sent him back to Munich at the end of March for treatment, admitting he might not return. But, to much surprise, he returned to the matchday squad for the visit of Chelsea on April 28 but didn't get on in the 1-0 defeat. Major concerns persist over the durability of the veteran central defenders - Jose Fonte and Bruno Silva, 34 and 36 respectively - who are currently fit but have had lengthy lay-offs in recent months while the 35-year-old Pepe is nursing a broken toe. Spain No significant injury concerns so far for Julen Lopetegui but the form of Alvaro Morata at Chelsea has been a worry and led to him being left out of the squad for the spring friendlies. Diego Costa, in the rudest of health and spirit at Atlético Madrid, should lead the line which may make a romantic recall for Spain's top-scorer, New York City's David Villa, at the age of 36 far more remote than it seemed last autumn. Cesc Fabregas and Bayern Munich's Javi Martínez have been notable omissions from Lopetegui's squads ever since he took over from Vicente del Bosque in 2016 and while neither are resigned to missing out, recalls at this late stage are extremely unlikely. Group C Australia Bert van Marwijk, appointed in January on a seven-month contract, recalled the goalkeeper Brad Jones after four years out of international football in his first squad and the former Liverpool reserve, now with Feyenoord, has a good chance of making it to Russia in place of Adam Federici, the Bournemouth back-up, who has not played for 15 months after suffering back-to-back knee injuries. Matthew Spiranovic, a free agent since his release by Zhejiang Greentown in February, will pay the price for not heeding former manager Ange Postecoglou who repeatedly warned him that playing in the Chinese second division was not adequate preparation for a World Cup place. Melbourne Victory centre-half Rhys Williams, hoping to make his first World Cup after injury ruled him out of South Africa and Brazil, tore his calf on April 29 and looks like making it third time unlucky. Kaiserslautern's Brandon Borrello ruptured his ACL during a training session in the last week of April and has no chance of making it. Denmark Chelsea's Andreas Christensen and Brentford's Henrik Dalsgaard were sent home early from the squads for the spring friendlies, the former because of 'exhaustion' and the latter excused to spend some time with his newborn daughter. Both have been told that they are certainties for Age Hareide's 23.Central defender Andreas Bjelland has been troubled by an achilles injury but has returned to the Brentford squad while Lasse Vibe, who left Griffin Park in February for the Chinese Super League's Changchun Yatai, is running out of time to prove his fitness and sharpness after heel and hamstring injuries blighted the first half of his season. World Cup 2018 stadiums France Laurent Koscielny will miss the tournament after rupturing his achilles tendon in Arsenal's Europa League semi-final, second leg against Atletico Madrid. Benjamin Mendy has been out since September with a cruciate ligament injury but has been training with Manchester City's first-team squad since the beginning of March and should be back before the end of the season. If the left-back makes it he may go straight into the starting XI given Layvin Kurzawa's recent loss of form at PSG. Florian Thauvin, who has gone from zero to hero on his return from Newcastle to Marseille, should overcome a hamstring injury to make it but squad stalwarts Alexandre Lacazette, Moussa Sissoko and Dimitri Payet may all miss out after disappointing domestic seasons. Djibril Sidibe has injured the meniscus in his right knee and will miss the end of Monaco's season but the right-back hopes to be back in time to make Didier Deschamps' XXIII. Peru First-choice goalkeeper Pedro Gallese had knee surgery to correct a meniscus problem last February and though he is behind schedule to return for his Mexican league club Veracruz, remains confident that he will be ready for the friendly against Scotland on May 29. Veteran striker and captain Paolo Guerrero is currently serving a six-month ban after testing positive for cocaine and other banned drugs following Peru's draw with Argentina last October. Peru will bring their famous kit to the World Cup finals for the first time since 1982 Credit: FEDERICO PARRA/AFP/Getty Images His suspension, reduced on appeal, ends on May 3 but his second appeal will be heard by the Court of Arbitration for Sport before then as he continues to maintain he was the victim of contaminated food. Group D Argentina Ramiro Funes Mori's return to Everton's bench on the last day of March after more than a year out with a knee injury is a fillip to Jorge Sampaoli and his creaking defence. Roma winger Diego Perotti should return from a calf strain by the middle of April but Boca Juniors' playmaker Fernando Gago and centre-forward Dario Benedetto have been ruled out by their club who hope to have them back for pre-season training though neither severe knee-injury victim has given up hope of 11th-hour breakthroughs in their recovery regimes. World Cup Russian host cities you've never heard of Croatia Veterans Danijel Subasic, Dejan Lovren, Marcelo Brozovic, Ivan Perisic, Luka Modric, Nikola Kalinic and Mario Mandzukic all withdrew from last month's two-match tour to the United States to conserve their energies but they are fit and certainties for the squad barring any late setbacks. Ante Rebic, the Eintracht Frankfurt winger, and Fiorentina's defensive midfielder Milan Baldelj have missed games in April with a torn calf and rib injuries respectively but are due back before the end of the month and should take their places in Zlatko Dalic's 23. Iceland The medial ligament injury Gylfi Sigurdsson sustained in his right knee when playing for Everton against Brighton at the beginning of March was expected to end his domestic season while keeping a glimmer of hope alive that he would be fit for Russia. Sam Allardyce said he would personally deliver a 'b---------' to the employee who released a statement saying he was out for eight weeks and countered it by suggesting that the playmaker was a quick healer and may be back before May which gives Heimir Hallgrimsson grounds for optimism. Alfreð Finnbogason, the Augsburg centre-forward, who has been out since the end of January with a calf injury, is expected to make his comeback in mid April. Nigeria Wilfred Ndidi will miss the end of Leicester' season with a hamstring damaged during their walloping by Crystal Palace on April 28. His team-mate Kelechi Iheanacho broke his hand while playing for the Super Eagles during their defeat by Serbia last month but returned to bench duty for Leicester after missing only one Premier League game. Henry Onyekuru, the Everton forward who is spending 2017-18 on loan at Anderlecht, underwent knee ligament surgery in December but insisted he would be in contention to make the squad. On April 2 he returned to first-team training and says he will be ready to play and add to his nine league goals in 19 appearances before the month is out. Group E Brazil Neymar's metatarsal injury on Feb 25 threatened to turn into another bout of national self-flagellation and despondency but the initial prognosis that he would be out for 12 weeks still gives him time to recover and subsequent revisions of his estimated absence that have shaved four weeks off his return date should allow him to find some sharpness, too. Philippe Coutinho's ropey form since moving to Barcelona will not discourage Tite, who will use the Anfield friendly against Croatia at the start of June to reacquaint him with his best days alongside familiar faces in familiar surroundings. Filipe Luis, the Atlético left-back and back-up to Marcelo, fractured his fibula in mid-March but is hopeful of returning should Diego Simeone's team qualify for the Europa League final. Tite has never had much time for David Luiz's qualities and though the centre-back, whose knee injury has kept him out of Chelsea's squad since the middle of February, is striving to put himself in contention, his quest will probably be in vain. Costa Rica Joel Campbell, remarkably still an Arsenal player, injured his ankle while playing on loan for Real Betis at the end of October and has not played since. The forward reported that he was fit at the end of February and has returned to full training so seems likely to make the cut for the squad even if he will be woefully lacking match fitness, not that it did Paolo Rossi much harm in 1982 nor Marco van Basten at Euro 88. New York City left-back Ronald Matarrita has a hamstring injury that has hampered his preparations and Portland Timbers' defensive midfielder David Guzman has missed the past fortnight with a sprained knee sustained on international duty. The state of Neymar's health has become a Brazilian obsession Credit: REUTERS/Stephane Mahe Switzerland Vladimir Petkovic expects Udinese's Valon Behrami to recover from his shoulder injury in a couple of weeks and has no other pressing concerns. Eren Derdiyok. Admir Mehmedi and Xherdan Shaqiri all sat out the recent friendlies (a 1-0 victory over Greece and a 6-0 thrashing of Panama) but should make the final squad when it is announced on May 14. Serbia Matija Nastasic damaged knee ligaments on April 12 playing for Schalke and the best prognosis for the centre-half is a six-week recuperation. Mladen Krstajic, a fine defender for Partizan, Werder Bremen, Schalke and the national team but a rookie coach appointed to this, his first job, only last December, has all his core players fit and only Benfica's Ljubomir Fejsa, the defensive midfielder who has won 10 successive league titles across three countries, suffering from recurring but minor, niggling problems. Fejsa has not played for Serbia since 2016 and would be a back-up only to Nemanja Matic and Luka Milivojevic if he makes the squad but would be a contender for tattoo of the tournament for the chest tableau that commemorates his return from serious injury while playing for Partizan and his later triumphs with Olympiakos and Benfica. ...⚽️❗️....done✔️ #f5 #justdone #stillfresh Obrigado Mareeee���� @maretattoo A post shared by Fejsa Ljubomir & Suzana (@fejsa5) on Mar 25, 2018 at 1:42pm PDT Group F Germany Borussia Monchengladbach's Lars Stindl is out with an ankle injury but Manuel Neuer returned to full goalkeeper training on April 5 after six months out having fractured a metatarsal in his left foot for the third time in a year and undergone surgery to insert a plate to protect the bone. The Bayern Munich and Germany captain has manged only three Bundesliga appearances this season yet, although Joachim Löw has benefited from his absence by exploiting it to give Marc-Andre Ter Stegen valuable international experience, the world champions will go to the wire to include Neuer. Jerome Boateng, though, is a serious doubt after injuring his knee during the first leg of Bayern Munich's Champions League semi-final against Real Madrid. Boateng was injured during Bayern Munich's Champions League semi-final against Real Madrid Credit: ODD ANDERSEN/AFP/Getty Images Marco Reus, who missed the 2014 World Cup and Euro 2016 with ankle and groin injuries, made his comeback from cruciate ligament surgery in February after eight months out and Borussia Dortmund have nursed his return, allowing him time off to recover from soreness, over the past few weeks. "With Marco," said Löw, "it's important to us that he is brought to the top level carefully and without further pressure and that he gains in stability." Mario Götze, the scorer of the winning goal at Maracana, was left out of the squad for the spring friendlies after a dip in form while his Dortmund team-mate and World Cup final goal-provider Andre Schürrle, finally free of knee and achilles injuries, has impressed Löw sufficiently to reassure him that he still has a chance but has yet to earn a call-up. Mexico Giovani Dos Santos should be back for LA Galaxy by the end of April after his hamstring injury in early March and will resume his place in Mexico's midfield alongside Porto captain Hector Herrera who travelled with the national team for the spring double header against Iceland and Croatia but was sent back to his club for treatment because of an unspecified muscle injury. Starting central defender Carlos Salcedeo broke his collarbone during the defeat by Croatia and had surgery to have it pinned but is expected to return for Eintracht Frankfurt just before the end of the season. Another key defender, Nestor Araujo who plays for Santos Laguna, was also injured in the same match and has had keyhole surgery to repair meniscus damage. He, too, is expected to make a first-team comeback before the squad deadline of May 14. South Korea Shin Tae-yong's greatest concern last month as he prepares for his first tournament since moving up from U-20 manager to secure qualification centred not on fitness but the fatigue of Son Heung-min after a long season and a gruelling buil-up to it. "For most Europe-based players, they are used to getting in shape in August before the new season starts. I'm really worried that Son's form might go down from May, with his concentration waning and him becoming physically exhausted," he said. Former Middlesbrough striker Lee Dong-gook, a member of the France 98 squad at the age of 18, harbours hopes of a place after a recall last September for the final qualifier against Uzbekistan but he has not been picked since. The sitter he missed against Uruguay at the 2010 World Cup haunted him for years but most supporters seem to have forgiven him and would welcome the selection of the K-League's highest scorer. Sweden It would be unfair for Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who played no part in qualification having retired after Euro 2016, to overshadow the preparations of the squad in making it to Russia but his possible return, despite his controversial link-up with a betting firm that would seem to preclude him being recalled under Fifa regulations, is dominating their build-up. "Just as with the national team, if I want to play, I’ll play," he said. Zlatan Ibrahimovic has not ruled out a comeback Credit: AP Photo/Jae C. Hong “This is not a question for Fifa, it’s a question for me and what I want.” Janne Andersson has no injury worries with a month to go but the inexperience of all his goalkeepers must be a cause of some disquiet. Robin Olsen performed heroically against Italy in the second leg of the play-off but he has only 16 caps and the manager has tried several alternatives in pursuit of an undisputed No1. Group G Belgium Michy Batshuayi, having scored nine goals in 14 games during a terrific loan spell at Dortmund, left the field on a stretcher on April 15 after sustaining an ankle injury during the derby defeat by Schalke that has ended his season but not his World Cup chances even if they are now very slim indeed. Vincent Kompany's return to form and fitness has removed Roberto Martínez's most long-standing doubt though Christian Benteke's travails in front of goal for Crystal Palace had put his chances of a squad place as a back-up to Romelu Lukaku at serious risk until Batshuayi's injury. Nacer Chadli has missed West Brom's doomed 'fight' against relegation since December with hip and thigh injuries but Albion report that he is ready to return on April 21 after an impressive showing in training. Thibaut Courtois has recovered from the hamstring injury that kept him out of the spring friendlies and Chelsea's defeat by Spurs for whom Toby Alderweireld remains on the peripheries, which must be a worry for Martínez. England Liverpool pair Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Joe Gomez miss the tournament through injury but team-mate Nathaniel Clyne is making gradual returns to first-team football and may be a late contender for a squad place. Phil Jones has suffered recurrent hamstring injuries this season and, although he is now fit while Jack Wilshere, who withdrew from the spring squads, remains an outsider as does Ruben Loftus-Cheek who has returned to Palace's side after three months out with an ankle injury and knee pain. Adam Lallana has endured a desperate run with injuries Credit: Action Images via Reuters/Matthew Childs Nathaniel Chalobah joined the England squad in March to continue his rehabilitation from a fractured knee-cap but is unlikely to play for Watford before the season's end while Daniel Sturridge was out for two months with a hamstring injury that has turned his loan move to West Bromwich into an exorbitant farce. Adam Lallana has gone to South Africa for rehab therapy on his injured hamstring and Gareth Southgate is understood to be willing to give him until May 13 to prove he can make it but that has to be a serious doubt after a couple of injury-wrecked seasons. Panama The World Cup finals debutants have no injuries to report and Hernán Darío Gómez has a full-strength squad of relatively unknown but remarkably experienced players - the 24 men picked for the spring friendlies averaged 59 caps each - ready for Russia. Tunisia Tunisia have suffered the worst blow of all 32 teams to date, losing their playmaker Youssef Msakni, who suffered a cruciate knee ligament injury on April 7 that will keep him out for at least six months. The attacking midfielder, who has 49 caps, tore an anterior ligament playing for his Qatar Stars League club, Al-Duhail, against Al-Sailiya. Nabil Maloul, Tunisia's manager, was asked in March what Msakni's absence would mean when the player could not feature in the spring friendlies because of a minor meniscus problem that required 10 days' rest, he said it would be like Argentina going to Russia without Lionel Messi. Group H Colombia Juan Cuadrado gave Jose Pekerman a scare by injuring his groin back in January and the initial prognosis, that he would be out for at least three months after surgery, possibly six, was discouraging. But the winger made his return for Juventus ahead of schedule last month while Sampdoria's Duvan Zapata, who missed their match with Cagliari on April 28, should also make it back before the end of the season. Japan Turmoil at management level - Akira Nishino replaced Vahid Halilhodzic at the beginning of April - contrasts with relative serenity over options for selection. Second-choice keeper, Masaaki Higashiguchi, fractured his cheekbone on April 21 but is likely to make the World Cup 23 even if he has to play in a face mask for precautionary reasons. Marseille defender Hiroki Sakai was ruled out for three weeks in April with a medial collateral ligament strain in his left knee and misses both legs of their Europa League semifinal against Red Bull Salzburg but is confident of recovering in time to participate in Russia. World Cup 2018 venues Poland Veteran midfielder, the live blogger's friend Jakub Blaszczykowski, made his first start for Hamburg since February on April 28 and should be fit to make a squad that has no major current concerns about its key components. Artur Boruc, who had 60 caps, announced his international retirement last year bur had long since taken the role of third banana behind Lukasz Fabianski and Wojciech Szczesny. Senegal Monaco's fiery forward Keita Balde has been out since April 7 with a hamstring injury but should be back for the St Etienne game on May 12.The principal worry for Aliou Cisse concered his centre-back and vice-captain Kara Mbodji, who has not played since before Christmas following knee surgery for an injury he picked up playing for Anderlecht. After thrice-daily rehab sessions, Kara says he hopes to be involved for their final league game against Club Brugge on May 6.
World Cup 2018 squad guide: Latest group news and updates
Each of the 31 qualifiers for the 2018 World Cup plus the hosts will name their provisional 35 man squads for the tournament by the deadline on May 14, exactly a month before the opening game between Russia and Saudi Arabia on June 14 at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow. They will then have until June 4 to cull the numbers down to 23. Those who do not make the cut are likely to be placed on standby in case they are needed to replace any injured players. Replacements can be made at any point until 24 hours before each team's first World Cup game. Here is what we know so far about who is available and who is struggling to make it. Group A Egypt No significant injury worries for Héctor Cúper, not even over the 45-year-old goalkeeper and captain Essam El-Hadary who is firmly on course to become the oldest player in finals history. There are wider concerns over the form of West Brom's shell-shocked Ahmed Hegazi but it is countered by Mohamed Salah's during his outstanding debut season at Liverpool. Russia Stanislav Cherchisov has been tasked with taking the hosts to the last four at least, which will be difficult given their results in a very taxing build-up programme - defeated by Portugal, Mexico, Argentina, Brazil and France. Aleksandr Kokorin, the 27-year-old Zenit winger who scored Russia's goal in the draw with Algeria during the 2014 tournament, is all but certain to miss the World Cup having damaged his ACL in mid March. Igor Denisov, the Lokomotiv defensive midfielder and Russia captain under Fabio Capello, fell out with Cherchisov years ago at Dynamo Moscow and the manager has refused to pick him while arguments between Cherchisov and the 6ft 5in striker Artem Dzyuba threaten his involvement. CSKA twins Aleksei and Vasily Berezutski retired after Euro 2016 and have refused the manager's entreaties to return to the squad at the age of 35 following the serious knee injuries suffered by Viktor Vasin and Georgi Dzhikiya. Saudi Arabia The only team at the tournament ranked lower than the hosts, it's a fortuitous coincidence for Russia that they were drawn out to play the curtain-raiser. A resounding defeat by Belgium in March was forgivable but their 4-1 loss inIraq the month before has provoked understandable disquiet. Decisions to send the midfielders Yahya Al-Shehri, Salem Al-Dawsari and Fahad Al-Muwallad on loan to Leganes, Villarreal and Levante respectively in January has backfired. None of the national team stalwarts had played a minute of Liga football by the end of March 2018. Uruguay Oscar Tabárez's team looks as powerful as ever, built around the relentless, uncompromising defensive work of Diego Godín, the attacking prowess of Edinson Cavani and Luis Suárez supplied by Gastón Ramírez and now with the young, athletic Juventus midfielder Rodrigo Bentancur to add drive to the usual steel. Veteran defender Martín Cáceres has a calf injury that had restricted him to only one appearance by the end of March following his transfer from Verona after that dreadful year at Southampton and remains the major doubt. World Cup predictor Group B Iran Ashkan Dejagah, a Bundesliga title-winner with Wolfsburg and fondly remembered by Fulham fans who elected him player of the year in 2013-14, returned to England with Nottingham Forest as a free agent in January but suffered a knee injury the following month that will keep him out until the end of April. The 31-year-old midfielder, who played all three group matches in Brazil four years ago, is Carlos Queiroz's only significant injury worry. Captain Masoud Shojaei has returned to the squad after seven months and has so far overcome opposition from the deputy sports minister and another parliamentarian for playing for Panionios against Maccabi Tel Aviv in a Europa League qualifier. A national team life ban for playing against a representative of a state Iran does not recognise had been proposed but Queiroz ignored the calls. Morocco The African Nations champions qualified without conceding a goal and three-quarters of the defence that earned them their enviable record - Nabil Dirar, Mehdi Benatia and Romain Saiss - are all fit and in impressive form. The versatile Real Madrid prodigy, Achraf Hakimi, however, was withdrawn from the squad for the March friendlies when injured on the first day of training and is likely to miss a few weeks while the midfielder Ait Bennasser, who hurt his thigh while playing for Caen against Angers in March, is not expected to be back on contention until the beginning of May at the earliest. Zouhair Feddal, who plays at left-back for Real Betis, ruptured his Achilles in February and, barring a miracle, will miss the World Cup. England's World Cup 2018 squad - ranked Portugal Renato Sanches, who was so sensational at Euro 2016 that Bayern Munich agreed a deal to sign the teenage midfielder that committed them to spending as much as £72m for him, has endured a wretched run of form and fitness ever since. His latest hamstring injury while on loan at Swansea has kept him sidelined since mid January and the Premier League club sent him back to Munich at the end of March for treatment, admitting he might not return. But, to much surprise, he returned to the matchday squad for the visit of Chelsea on April 28 but didn't get on in the 1-0 defeat. Major concerns persist over the durability of the veteran central defenders - Jose Fonte and Bruno Silva, 34 and 36 respectively - who are currently fit but have had lengthy lay-offs in recent months while the 35-year-old Pepe is nursing a broken toe. Spain No significant injury concerns so far for Julen Lopetegui but the form of Alvaro Morata at Chelsea has been a worry and led to him being left out of the squad for the spring friendlies. Diego Costa, in the rudest of health and spirit at Atlético Madrid, should lead the line which may make a romantic recall for Spain's top-scorer, New York City's David Villa, at the age of 36 far more remote than it seemed last autumn. Cesc Fabregas and Bayern Munich's Javi Martínez have been notable omissions from Lopetegui's squads ever since he took over from Vicente del Bosque in 2016 and while neither are resigned to missing out, recalls at this late stage are extremely unlikely. Group C Australia Bert van Marwijk, appointed in January on a seven-month contract, recalled the goalkeeper Brad Jones after four years out of international football in his first squad and the former Liverpool reserve, now with Feyenoord, has a good chance of making it to Russia in place of Adam Federici, the Bournemouth back-up, who has not played for 15 months after suffering back-to-back knee injuries. Matthew Spiranovic, a free agent since his release by Zhejiang Greentown in February, will pay the price for not heeding former manager Ange Postecoglou who repeatedly warned him that playing in the Chinese second division was not adequate preparation for a World Cup place. Melbourne Victory centre-half Rhys Williams, hoping to make his first World Cup after injury ruled him out of South Africa and Brazil, tore his calf on April 29 and looks like making it third time unlucky. Kaiserslautern's Brandon Borrello ruptured his ACL during a training session in the last week of April and has no chance of making it. Denmark Chelsea's Andreas Christensen and Brentford's Henrik Dalsgaard were sent home early from the squads for the spring friendlies, the former because of 'exhaustion' and the latter excused to spend some time with his newborn daughter. Both have been told that they are certainties for Age Hareide's 23.Central defender Andreas Bjelland has been troubled by an achilles injury but has returned to the Brentford squad while Lasse Vibe, who left Griffin Park in February for the Chinese Super League's Changchun Yatai, is running out of time to prove his fitness and sharpness after heel and hamstring injuries blighted the first half of his season. World Cup 2018 stadiums France Laurent Koscielny will miss the tournament after rupturing his achilles tendon in Arsenal's Europa League semi-final, second leg against Atletico Madrid. Benjamin Mendy has been out since September with a cruciate ligament injury but has been training with Manchester City's first-team squad since the beginning of March and should be back before the end of the season. If the left-back makes it he may go straight into the starting XI given Layvin Kurzawa's recent loss of form at PSG. Florian Thauvin, who has gone from zero to hero on his return from Newcastle to Marseille, should overcome a hamstring injury to make it but squad stalwarts Alexandre Lacazette, Moussa Sissoko and Dimitri Payet may all miss out after disappointing domestic seasons. Djibril Sidibe has injured the meniscus in his right knee and will miss the end of Monaco's season but the right-back hopes to be back in time to make Didier Deschamps' XXIII. Peru First-choice goalkeeper Pedro Gallese had knee surgery to correct a meniscus problem last February and though he is behind schedule to return for his Mexican league club Veracruz, remains confident that he will be ready for the friendly against Scotland on May 29. Veteran striker and captain Paolo Guerrero is currently serving a six-month ban after testing positive for cocaine and other banned drugs following Peru's draw with Argentina last October. Peru will bring their famous kit to the World Cup finals for the first time since 1982 Credit: FEDERICO PARRA/AFP/Getty Images His suspension, reduced on appeal, ends on May 3 but his second appeal will be heard by the Court of Arbitration for Sport before then as he continues to maintain he was the victim of contaminated food. Group D Argentina Ramiro Funes Mori's return to Everton's bench on the last day of March after more than a year out with a knee injury is a fillip to Jorge Sampaoli and his creaking defence. Roma winger Diego Perotti should return from a calf strain by the middle of April but Boca Juniors' playmaker Fernando Gago and centre-forward Dario Benedetto have been ruled out by their club who hope to have them back for pre-season training though neither severe knee-injury victim has given up hope of 11th-hour breakthroughs in their recovery regimes. World Cup Russian host cities you've never heard of Croatia Veterans Danijel Subasic, Dejan Lovren, Marcelo Brozovic, Ivan Perisic, Luka Modric, Nikola Kalinic and Mario Mandzukic all withdrew from last month's two-match tour to the United States to conserve their energies but they are fit and certainties for the squad barring any late setbacks. Ante Rebic, the Eintracht Frankfurt winger, and Fiorentina's defensive midfielder Milan Baldelj have missed games in April with a torn calf and rib injuries respectively but are due back before the end of the month and should take their places in Zlatko Dalic's 23. Iceland The medial ligament injury Gylfi Sigurdsson sustained in his right knee when playing for Everton against Brighton at the beginning of March was expected to end his domestic season while keeping a glimmer of hope alive that he would be fit for Russia. Sam Allardyce said he would personally deliver a 'b---------' to the employee who released a statement saying he was out for eight weeks and countered it by suggesting that the playmaker was a quick healer and may be back before May which gives Heimir Hallgrimsson grounds for optimism. Alfreð Finnbogason, the Augsburg centre-forward, who has been out since the end of January with a calf injury, is expected to make his comeback in mid April. Nigeria Wilfred Ndidi will miss the end of Leicester' season with a hamstring damaged during their walloping by Crystal Palace on April 28. His team-mate Kelechi Iheanacho broke his hand while playing for the Super Eagles during their defeat by Serbia last month but returned to bench duty for Leicester after missing only one Premier League game. Henry Onyekuru, the Everton forward who is spending 2017-18 on loan at Anderlecht, underwent knee ligament surgery in December but insisted he would be in contention to make the squad. On April 2 he returned to first-team training and says he will be ready to play and add to his nine league goals in 19 appearances before the month is out. Group E Brazil Neymar's metatarsal injury on Feb 25 threatened to turn into another bout of national self-flagellation and despondency but the initial prognosis that he would be out for 12 weeks still gives him time to recover and subsequent revisions of his estimated absence that have shaved four weeks off his return date should allow him to find some sharpness, too. Philippe Coutinho's ropey form since moving to Barcelona will not discourage Tite, who will use the Anfield friendly against Croatia at the start of June to reacquaint him with his best days alongside familiar faces in familiar surroundings. Filipe Luis, the Atlético left-back and back-up to Marcelo, fractured his fibula in mid-March but is hopeful of returning should Diego Simeone's team qualify for the Europa League final. Tite has never had much time for David Luiz's qualities and though the centre-back, whose knee injury has kept him out of Chelsea's squad since the middle of February, is striving to put himself in contention, his quest will probably be in vain. Costa Rica Joel Campbell, remarkably still an Arsenal player, injured his ankle while playing on loan for Real Betis at the end of October and has not played since. The forward reported that he was fit at the end of February and has returned to full training so seems likely to make the cut for the squad even if he will be woefully lacking match fitness, not that it did Paolo Rossi much harm in 1982 nor Marco van Basten at Euro 88. New York City left-back Ronald Matarrita has a hamstring injury that has hampered his preparations and Portland Timbers' defensive midfielder David Guzman has missed the past fortnight with a sprained knee sustained on international duty. The state of Neymar's health has become a Brazilian obsession Credit: REUTERS/Stephane Mahe Switzerland Vladimir Petkovic expects Udinese's Valon Behrami to recover from his shoulder injury in a couple of weeks and has no other pressing concerns. Eren Derdiyok. Admir Mehmedi and Xherdan Shaqiri all sat out the recent friendlies (a 1-0 victory over Greece and a 6-0 thrashing of Panama) but should make the final squad when it is announced on May 14. Serbia Matija Nastasic damaged knee ligaments on April 12 playing for Schalke and the best prognosis for the centre-half is a six-week recuperation. Mladen Krstajic, a fine defender for Partizan, Werder Bremen, Schalke and the national team but a rookie coach appointed to this, his first job, only last December, has all his core players fit and only Benfica's Ljubomir Fejsa, the defensive midfielder who has won 10 successive league titles across three countries, suffering from recurring but minor, niggling problems. Fejsa has not played for Serbia since 2016 and would be a back-up only to Nemanja Matic and Luka Milivojevic if he makes the squad but would be a contender for tattoo of the tournament for the chest tableau that commemorates his return from serious injury while playing for Partizan and his later triumphs with Olympiakos and Benfica. ...⚽️❗️....done✔️ #f5 #justdone #stillfresh Obrigado Mareeee���� @maretattoo A post shared by Fejsa Ljubomir & Suzana (@fejsa5) on Mar 25, 2018 at 1:42pm PDT Group F Germany Borussia Monchengladbach's Lars Stindl is out with an ankle injury but Manuel Neuer returned to full goalkeeper training on April 5 after six months out having fractured a metatarsal in his left foot for the third time in a year and undergone surgery to insert a plate to protect the bone. The Bayern Munich and Germany captain has manged only three Bundesliga appearances this season yet, although Joachim Löw has benefited from his absence by exploiting it to give Marc-Andre Ter Stegen valuable international experience, the world champions will go to the wire to include Neuer. Jerome Boateng, though, is a serious doubt after injuring his knee during the first leg of Bayern Munich's Champions League semi-final against Real Madrid. Boateng was injured during Bayern Munich's Champions League semi-final against Real Madrid Credit: ODD ANDERSEN/AFP/Getty Images Marco Reus, who missed the 2014 World Cup and Euro 2016 with ankle and groin injuries, made his comeback from cruciate ligament surgery in February after eight months out and Borussia Dortmund have nursed his return, allowing him time off to recover from soreness, over the past few weeks. "With Marco," said Löw, "it's important to us that he is brought to the top level carefully and without further pressure and that he gains in stability." Mario Götze, the scorer of the winning goal at Maracana, was left out of the squad for the spring friendlies after a dip in form while his Dortmund team-mate and World Cup final goal-provider Andre Schürrle, finally free of knee and achilles injuries, has impressed Löw sufficiently to reassure him that he still has a chance but has yet to earn a call-up. Mexico Giovani Dos Santos should be back for LA Galaxy by the end of April after his hamstring injury in early March and will resume his place in Mexico's midfield alongside Porto captain Hector Herrera who travelled with the national team for the spring double header against Iceland and Croatia but was sent back to his club for treatment because of an unspecified muscle injury. Starting central defender Carlos Salcedeo broke his collarbone during the defeat by Croatia and had surgery to have it pinned but is expected to return for Eintracht Frankfurt just before the end of the season. Another key defender, Nestor Araujo who plays for Santos Laguna, was also injured in the same match and has had keyhole surgery to repair meniscus damage. He, too, is expected to make a first-team comeback before the squad deadline of May 14. South Korea Shin Tae-yong's greatest concern last month as he prepares for his first tournament since moving up from U-20 manager to secure qualification centred not on fitness but the fatigue of Son Heung-min after a long season and a gruelling buil-up to it. "For most Europe-based players, they are used to getting in shape in August before the new season starts. I'm really worried that Son's form might go down from May, with his concentration waning and him becoming physically exhausted," he said. Former Middlesbrough striker Lee Dong-gook, a member of the France 98 squad at the age of 18, harbours hopes of a place after a recall last September for the final qualifier against Uzbekistan but he has not been picked since. The sitter he missed against Uruguay at the 2010 World Cup haunted him for years but most supporters seem to have forgiven him and would welcome the selection of the K-League's highest scorer. Sweden It would be unfair for Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who played no part in qualification having retired after Euro 2016, to overshadow the preparations of the squad in making it to Russia but his possible return, despite his controversial link-up with a betting firm that would seem to preclude him being recalled under Fifa regulations, is dominating their build-up. "Just as with the national team, if I want to play, I’ll play," he said. Zlatan Ibrahimovic has not ruled out a comeback Credit: AP Photo/Jae C. Hong “This is not a question for Fifa, it’s a question for me and what I want.” Janne Andersson has no injury worries with a month to go but the inexperience of all his goalkeepers must be a cause of some disquiet. Robin Olsen performed heroically against Italy in the second leg of the play-off but he has only 16 caps and the manager has tried several alternatives in pursuit of an undisputed No1. Group G Belgium Michy Batshuayi, having scored nine goals in 14 games during a terrific loan spell at Dortmund, left the field on a stretcher on April 15 after sustaining an ankle injury during the derby defeat by Schalke that has ended his season but not his World Cup chances even if they are now very slim indeed. Vincent Kompany's return to form and fitness has removed Roberto Martínez's most long-standing doubt though Christian Benteke's travails in front of goal for Crystal Palace had put his chances of a squad place as a back-up to Romelu Lukaku at serious risk until Batshuayi's injury. Nacer Chadli has missed West Brom's doomed 'fight' against relegation since December with hip and thigh injuries but Albion report that he is ready to return on April 21 after an impressive showing in training. Thibaut Courtois has recovered from the hamstring injury that kept him out of the spring friendlies and Chelsea's defeat by Spurs for whom Toby Alderweireld remains on the peripheries, which must be a worry for Martínez. England Liverpool pair Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Joe Gomez miss the tournament through injury but team-mate Nathaniel Clyne is making gradual returns to first-team football and may be a late contender for a squad place. Phil Jones has suffered recurrent hamstring injuries this season and, although he is now fit while Jack Wilshere, who withdrew from the spring squads, remains an outsider as does Ruben Loftus-Cheek who has returned to Palace's side after three months out with an ankle injury and knee pain. Adam Lallana has endured a desperate run with injuries Credit: Action Images via Reuters/Matthew Childs Nathaniel Chalobah joined the England squad in March to continue his rehabilitation from a fractured knee-cap but is unlikely to play for Watford before the season's end while Daniel Sturridge was out for two months with a hamstring injury that has turned his loan move to West Bromwich into an exorbitant farce. Adam Lallana has gone to South Africa for rehab therapy on his injured hamstring and Gareth Southgate is understood to be willing to give him until May 13 to prove he can make it but that has to be a serious doubt after a couple of injury-wrecked seasons. Panama The World Cup finals debutants have no injuries to report and Hernán Darío Gómez has a full-strength squad of relatively unknown but remarkably experienced players - the 24 men picked for the spring friendlies averaged 59 caps each - ready for Russia. Tunisia Tunisia have suffered the worst blow of all 32 teams to date, losing their playmaker Youssef Msakni, who suffered a cruciate knee ligament injury on April 7 that will keep him out for at least six months. The attacking midfielder, who has 49 caps, tore an anterior ligament playing for his Qatar Stars League club, Al-Duhail, against Al-Sailiya. Nabil Maloul, Tunisia's manager, was asked in March what Msakni's absence would mean when the player could not feature in the spring friendlies because of a minor meniscus problem that required 10 days' rest, he said it would be like Argentina going to Russia without Lionel Messi. Group H Colombia Juan Cuadrado gave Jose Pekerman a scare by injuring his groin back in January and the initial prognosis, that he would be out for at least three months after surgery, possibly six, was discouraging. But the winger made his return for Juventus ahead of schedule last month while Sampdoria's Duvan Zapata, who missed their match with Cagliari on April 28, should also make it back before the end of the season. Japan Turmoil at management level - Akira Nishino replaced Vahid Halilhodzic at the beginning of April - contrasts with relative serenity over options for selection. Second-choice keeper, Masaaki Higashiguchi, fractured his cheekbone on April 21 but is likely to make the World Cup 23 even if he has to play in a face mask for precautionary reasons. Marseille defender Hiroki Sakai was ruled out for three weeks in April with a medial collateral ligament strain in his left knee and misses both legs of their Europa League semifinal against Red Bull Salzburg but is confident of recovering in time to participate in Russia. World Cup 2018 venues Poland Veteran midfielder, the live blogger's friend Jakub Blaszczykowski, made his first start for Hamburg since February on April 28 and should be fit to make a squad that has no major current concerns about its key components. Artur Boruc, who had 60 caps, announced his international retirement last year bur had long since taken the role of third banana behind Lukasz Fabianski and Wojciech Szczesny. Senegal Monaco's fiery forward Keita Balde has been out since April 7 with a hamstring injury but should be back for the St Etienne game on May 12.The principal worry for Aliou Cisse concered his centre-back and vice-captain Kara Mbodji, who has not played since before Christmas following knee surgery for an injury he picked up playing for Anderlecht. After thrice-daily rehab sessions, Kara says he hopes to be involved for their final league game against Club Brugge on May 6.
Each of the 31 qualifiers for the 2018 World Cup plus the hosts will name their provisional 35 man squads for the tournament by the deadline on May 14, exactly a month before the opening game between Russia and Saudi Arabia on June 14 at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow. They will then have until June 4 to cull the numbers down to 23. Those who do not make the cut are likely to be placed on standby in case they are needed to replace any injured players. Replacements can be made at any point until 24 hours before each team's first World Cup game. Here is what we know so far about who is available and who is struggling to make it. Group A Egypt No significant injury worries for Héctor Cúper, not even over the 45-year-old goalkeeper and captain Essam El-Hadary who is firmly on course to become the oldest player in finals history. There are wider concerns over the form of West Brom's shell-shocked Ahmed Hegazi but it is countered by Mohamed Salah's during his outstanding debut season at Liverpool. Russia Stanislav Cherchisov has been tasked with taking the hosts to the last four at least, which will be difficult given their results in a very taxing build-up programme - defeated by Portugal, Mexico, Argentina, Brazil and France. Aleksandr Kokorin, the 27-year-old Zenit winger who scored Russia's goal in the draw with Algeria during the 2014 tournament, is all but certain to miss the World Cup having damaged his ACL in mid March. Igor Denisov, the Lokomotiv defensive midfielder and Russia captain under Fabio Capello, fell out with Cherchisov years ago at Dynamo Moscow and the manager has refused to pick him while arguments between Cherchisov and the 6ft 5in striker Artem Dzyuba threaten his involvement. CSKA twins Aleksei and Vasily Berezutski retired after Euro 2016 and have refused the manager's entreaties to return to the squad at the age of 35 following the serious knee injuries suffered by Viktor Vasin and Georgi Dzhikiya. Saudi Arabia The only team at the tournament ranked lower than the hosts, it's a fortuitous coincidence for Russia that they were drawn out to play the curtain-raiser. A resounding defeat by Belgium in March was forgivable but their 4-1 loss inIraq the month before has provoked understandable disquiet. Decisions to send the midfielders Yahya Al-Shehri, Salem Al-Dawsari and Fahad Al-Muwallad on loan to Leganes, Villarreal and Levante respectively in January has backfired. None of the national team stalwarts had played a minute of Liga football by the end of March 2018. Uruguay Oscar Tabárez's team looks as powerful as ever, built around the relentless, uncompromising defensive work of Diego Godín, the attacking prowess of Edinson Cavani and Luis Suárez supplied by Gastón Ramírez and now with the young, athletic Juventus midfielder Rodrigo Bentancur to add drive to the usual steel. Veteran defender Martín Cáceres has a calf injury that had restricted him to only one appearance by the end of March following his transfer from Verona after that dreadful year at Southampton and remains the major doubt. World Cup predictor Group B Iran Ashkan Dejagah, a Bundesliga title-winner with Wolfsburg and fondly remembered by Fulham fans who elected him player of the year in 2013-14, returned to England with Nottingham Forest as a free agent in January but suffered a knee injury the following month that will keep him out until the end of April. The 31-year-old midfielder, who played all three group matches in Brazil four years ago, is Carlos Queiroz's only significant injury worry. Captain Masoud Shojaei has returned to the squad after seven months and has so far overcome opposition from the deputy sports minister and another parliamentarian for playing for Panionios against Maccabi Tel Aviv in a Europa League qualifier. A national team life ban for playing against a representative of a state Iran does not recognise had been proposed but Queiroz ignored the calls. Morocco The African Nations champions qualified without conceding a goal and three-quarters of the defence that earned them their enviable record - Nabil Dirar, Mehdi Benatia and Romain Saiss - are all fit and in impressive form. The versatile Real Madrid prodigy, Achraf Hakimi, however, was withdrawn from the squad for the March friendlies when injured on the first day of training and is likely to miss a few weeks while the midfielder Ait Bennasser, who hurt his thigh while playing for Caen against Angers in March, is not expected to be back on contention until the beginning of May at the earliest. Zouhair Feddal, who plays at left-back for Real Betis, ruptured his Achilles in February and, barring a miracle, will miss the World Cup. England's World Cup 2018 squad - ranked Portugal Renato Sanches, who was so sensational at Euro 2016 that Bayern Munich agreed a deal to sign the teenage midfielder that committed them to spending as much as £72m for him, has endured a wretched run of form and fitness ever since. His latest hamstring injury while on loan at Swansea has kept him sidelined since mid January and the Premier League club sent him back to Munich at the end of March for treatment, admitting he might not return. But, to much surprise, he returned to the matchday squad for the visit of Chelsea on April 28 but didn't get on in the 1-0 defeat. Major concerns persist over the durability of the veteran central defenders - Jose Fonte and Bruno Silva, 34 and 36 respectively - who are currently fit but have had lengthy lay-offs in recent months while the 35-year-old Pepe is nursing a broken toe. Spain No significant injury concerns so far for Julen Lopetegui but the form of Alvaro Morata at Chelsea has been a worry and led to him being left out of the squad for the spring friendlies. Diego Costa, in the rudest of health and spirit at Atlético Madrid, should lead the line which may make a romantic recall for Spain's top-scorer, New York City's David Villa, at the age of 36 far more remote than it seemed last autumn. Cesc Fabregas and Bayern Munich's Javi Martínez have been notable omissions from Lopetegui's squads ever since he took over from Vicente del Bosque in 2016 and while neither are resigned to missing out, recalls at this late stage are extremely unlikely. Group C Australia Bert van Marwijk, appointed in January on a seven-month contract, recalled the goalkeeper Brad Jones after four years out of international football in his first squad and the former Liverpool reserve, now with Feyenoord, has a good chance of making it to Russia in place of Adam Federici, the Bournemouth back-up, who has not played for 15 months after suffering back-to-back knee injuries. Matthew Spiranovic, a free agent since his release by Zhejiang Greentown in February, will pay the price for not heeding former manager Ange Postecoglou who repeatedly warned him that playing in the Chinese second division was not adequate preparation for a World Cup place. Melbourne Victory centre-half Rhys Williams, hoping to make his first World Cup after injury ruled him out of South Africa and Brazil, tore his calf on April 29 and looks like making it third time unlucky. Kaiserslautern's Brandon Borrello ruptured his ACL during a training session in the last week of April and has no chance of making it. Denmark Chelsea's Andreas Christensen and Brentford's Henrik Dalsgaard were sent home early from the squads for the spring friendlies, the former because of 'exhaustion' and the latter excused to spend some time with his newborn daughter. Both have been told that they are certainties for Age Hareide's 23.Central defender Andreas Bjelland has been troubled by an achilles injury but has returned to the Brentford squad while Lasse Vibe, who left Griffin Park in February for the Chinese Super League's Changchun Yatai, is running out of time to prove his fitness and sharpness after heel and hamstring injuries blighted the first half of his season. World Cup 2018 stadiums France Laurent Koscielny will miss the tournament after rupturing his achilles tendon in Arsenal's Europa League semi-final, second leg against Atletico Madrid. Benjamin Mendy has been out since September with a cruciate ligament injury but has been training with Manchester City's first-team squad since the beginning of March and should be back before the end of the season. If the left-back makes it he may go straight into the starting XI given Layvin Kurzawa's recent loss of form at PSG. Florian Thauvin, who has gone from zero to hero on his return from Newcastle to Marseille, should overcome a hamstring injury to make it but squad stalwarts Alexandre Lacazette, Moussa Sissoko and Dimitri Payet may all miss out after disappointing domestic seasons. Djibril Sidibe has injured the meniscus in his right knee and will miss the end of Monaco's season but the right-back hopes to be back in time to make Didier Deschamps' XXIII. Peru First-choice goalkeeper Pedro Gallese had knee surgery to correct a meniscus problem last February and though he is behind schedule to return for his Mexican league club Veracruz, remains confident that he will be ready for the friendly against Scotland on May 29. Veteran striker and captain Paolo Guerrero is currently serving a six-month ban after testing positive for cocaine and other banned drugs following Peru's draw with Argentina last October. Peru will bring their famous kit to the World Cup finals for the first time since 1982 Credit: FEDERICO PARRA/AFP/Getty Images His suspension, reduced on appeal, ends on May 3 but his second appeal will be heard by the Court of Arbitration for Sport before then as he continues to maintain he was the victim of contaminated food. Group D Argentina Ramiro Funes Mori's return to Everton's bench on the last day of March after more than a year out with a knee injury is a fillip to Jorge Sampaoli and his creaking defence. Roma winger Diego Perotti should return from a calf strain by the middle of April but Boca Juniors' playmaker Fernando Gago and centre-forward Dario Benedetto have been ruled out by their club who hope to have them back for pre-season training though neither severe knee-injury victim has given up hope of 11th-hour breakthroughs in their recovery regimes. World Cup Russian host cities you've never heard of Croatia Veterans Danijel Subasic, Dejan Lovren, Marcelo Brozovic, Ivan Perisic, Luka Modric, Nikola Kalinic and Mario Mandzukic all withdrew from last month's two-match tour to the United States to conserve their energies but they are fit and certainties for the squad barring any late setbacks. Ante Rebic, the Eintracht Frankfurt winger, and Fiorentina's defensive midfielder Milan Baldelj have missed games in April with a torn calf and rib injuries respectively but are due back before the end of the month and should take their places in Zlatko Dalic's 23. Iceland The medial ligament injury Gylfi Sigurdsson sustained in his right knee when playing for Everton against Brighton at the beginning of March was expected to end his domestic season while keeping a glimmer of hope alive that he would be fit for Russia. Sam Allardyce said he would personally deliver a 'b---------' to the employee who released a statement saying he was out for eight weeks and countered it by suggesting that the playmaker was a quick healer and may be back before May which gives Heimir Hallgrimsson grounds for optimism. Alfreð Finnbogason, the Augsburg centre-forward, who has been out since the end of January with a calf injury, is expected to make his comeback in mid April. Nigeria Wilfred Ndidi will miss the end of Leicester' season with a hamstring damaged during their walloping by Crystal Palace on April 28. His team-mate Kelechi Iheanacho broke his hand while playing for the Super Eagles during their defeat by Serbia last month but returned to bench duty for Leicester after missing only one Premier League game. Henry Onyekuru, the Everton forward who is spending 2017-18 on loan at Anderlecht, underwent knee ligament surgery in December but insisted he would be in contention to make the squad. On April 2 he returned to first-team training and says he will be ready to play and add to his nine league goals in 19 appearances before the month is out. Group E Brazil Neymar's metatarsal injury on Feb 25 threatened to turn into another bout of national self-flagellation and despondency but the initial prognosis that he would be out for 12 weeks still gives him time to recover and subsequent revisions of his estimated absence that have shaved four weeks off his return date should allow him to find some sharpness, too. Philippe Coutinho's ropey form since moving to Barcelona will not discourage Tite, who will use the Anfield friendly against Croatia at the start of June to reacquaint him with his best days alongside familiar faces in familiar surroundings. Filipe Luis, the Atlético left-back and back-up to Marcelo, fractured his fibula in mid-March but is hopeful of returning should Diego Simeone's team qualify for the Europa League final. Tite has never had much time for David Luiz's qualities and though the centre-back, whose knee injury has kept him out of Chelsea's squad since the middle of February, is striving to put himself in contention, his quest will probably be in vain. Costa Rica Joel Campbell, remarkably still an Arsenal player, injured his ankle while playing on loan for Real Betis at the end of October and has not played since. The forward reported that he was fit at the end of February and has returned to full training so seems likely to make the cut for the squad even if he will be woefully lacking match fitness, not that it did Paolo Rossi much harm in 1982 nor Marco van Basten at Euro 88. New York City left-back Ronald Matarrita has a hamstring injury that has hampered his preparations and Portland Timbers' defensive midfielder David Guzman has missed the past fortnight with a sprained knee sustained on international duty. The state of Neymar's health has become a Brazilian obsession Credit: REUTERS/Stephane Mahe Switzerland Vladimir Petkovic expects Udinese's Valon Behrami to recover from his shoulder injury in a couple of weeks and has no other pressing concerns. Eren Derdiyok. Admir Mehmedi and Xherdan Shaqiri all sat out the recent friendlies (a 1-0 victory over Greece and a 6-0 thrashing of Panama) but should make the final squad when it is announced on May 14. Serbia Matija Nastasic damaged knee ligaments on April 12 playing for Schalke and the best prognosis for the centre-half is a six-week recuperation. Mladen Krstajic, a fine defender for Partizan, Werder Bremen, Schalke and the national team but a rookie coach appointed to this, his first job, only last December, has all his core players fit and only Benfica's Ljubomir Fejsa, the defensive midfielder who has won 10 successive league titles across three countries, suffering from recurring but minor, niggling problems. Fejsa has not played for Serbia since 2016 and would be a back-up only to Nemanja Matic and Luka Milivojevic if he makes the squad but would be a contender for tattoo of the tournament for the chest tableau that commemorates his return from serious injury while playing for Partizan and his later triumphs with Olympiakos and Benfica. ...⚽️❗️....done✔️ #f5 #justdone #stillfresh Obrigado Mareeee���� @maretattoo A post shared by Fejsa Ljubomir & Suzana (@fejsa5) on Mar 25, 2018 at 1:42pm PDT Group F Germany Borussia Monchengladbach's Lars Stindl is out with an ankle injury but Manuel Neuer returned to full goalkeeper training on April 5 after six months out having fractured a metatarsal in his left foot for the third time in a year and undergone surgery to insert a plate to protect the bone. The Bayern Munich and Germany captain has manged only three Bundesliga appearances this season yet, although Joachim Löw has benefited from his absence by exploiting it to give Marc-Andre Ter Stegen valuable international experience, the world champions will go to the wire to include Neuer. Jerome Boateng, though, is a serious doubt after injuring his knee during the first leg of Bayern Munich's Champions League semi-final against Real Madrid. Boateng was injured during Bayern Munich's Champions League semi-final against Real Madrid Credit: ODD ANDERSEN/AFP/Getty Images Marco Reus, who missed the 2014 World Cup and Euro 2016 with ankle and groin injuries, made his comeback from cruciate ligament surgery in February after eight months out and Borussia Dortmund have nursed his return, allowing him time off to recover from soreness, over the past few weeks. "With Marco," said Löw, "it's important to us that he is brought to the top level carefully and without further pressure and that he gains in stability." Mario Götze, the scorer of the winning goal at Maracana, was left out of the squad for the spring friendlies after a dip in form while his Dortmund team-mate and World Cup final goal-provider Andre Schürrle, finally free of knee and achilles injuries, has impressed Löw sufficiently to reassure him that he still has a chance but has yet to earn a call-up. Mexico Giovani Dos Santos should be back for LA Galaxy by the end of April after his hamstring injury in early March and will resume his place in Mexico's midfield alongside Porto captain Hector Herrera who travelled with the national team for the spring double header against Iceland and Croatia but was sent back to his club for treatment because of an unspecified muscle injury. Starting central defender Carlos Salcedeo broke his collarbone during the defeat by Croatia and had surgery to have it pinned but is expected to return for Eintracht Frankfurt just before the end of the season. Another key defender, Nestor Araujo who plays for Santos Laguna, was also injured in the same match and has had keyhole surgery to repair meniscus damage. He, too, is expected to make a first-team comeback before the squad deadline of May 14. South Korea Shin Tae-yong's greatest concern last month as he prepares for his first tournament since moving up from U-20 manager to secure qualification centred not on fitness but the fatigue of Son Heung-min after a long season and a gruelling buil-up to it. "For most Europe-based players, they are used to getting in shape in August before the new season starts. I'm really worried that Son's form might go down from May, with his concentration waning and him becoming physically exhausted," he said. Former Middlesbrough striker Lee Dong-gook, a member of the France 98 squad at the age of 18, harbours hopes of a place after a recall last September for the final qualifier against Uzbekistan but he has not been picked since. The sitter he missed against Uruguay at the 2010 World Cup haunted him for years but most supporters seem to have forgiven him and would welcome the selection of the K-League's highest scorer. Sweden It would be unfair for Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who played no part in qualification having retired after Euro 2016, to overshadow the preparations of the squad in making it to Russia but his possible return, despite his controversial link-up with a betting firm that would seem to preclude him being recalled under Fifa regulations, is dominating their build-up. "Just as with the national team, if I want to play, I’ll play," he said. Zlatan Ibrahimovic has not ruled out a comeback Credit: AP Photo/Jae C. Hong “This is not a question for Fifa, it’s a question for me and what I want.” Janne Andersson has no injury worries with a month to go but the inexperience of all his goalkeepers must be a cause of some disquiet. Robin Olsen performed heroically against Italy in the second leg of the play-off but he has only 16 caps and the manager has tried several alternatives in pursuit of an undisputed No1. Group G Belgium Michy Batshuayi, having scored nine goals in 14 games during a terrific loan spell at Dortmund, left the field on a stretcher on April 15 after sustaining an ankle injury during the derby defeat by Schalke that has ended his season but not his World Cup chances even if they are now very slim indeed. Vincent Kompany's return to form and fitness has removed Roberto Martínez's most long-standing doubt though Christian Benteke's travails in front of goal for Crystal Palace had put his chances of a squad place as a back-up to Romelu Lukaku at serious risk until Batshuayi's injury. Nacer Chadli has missed West Brom's doomed 'fight' against relegation since December with hip and thigh injuries but Albion report that he is ready to return on April 21 after an impressive showing in training. Thibaut Courtois has recovered from the hamstring injury that kept him out of the spring friendlies and Chelsea's defeat by Spurs for whom Toby Alderweireld remains on the peripheries, which must be a worry for Martínez. England Liverpool pair Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Joe Gomez miss the tournament through injury but team-mate Nathaniel Clyne is making gradual returns to first-team football and may be a late contender for a squad place. Phil Jones has suffered recurrent hamstring injuries this season and, although he is now fit while Jack Wilshere, who withdrew from the spring squads, remains an outsider as does Ruben Loftus-Cheek who has returned to Palace's side after three months out with an ankle injury and knee pain. Adam Lallana has endured a desperate run with injuries Credit: Action Images via Reuters/Matthew Childs Nathaniel Chalobah joined the England squad in March to continue his rehabilitation from a fractured knee-cap but is unlikely to play for Watford before the season's end while Daniel Sturridge was out for two months with a hamstring injury that has turned his loan move to West Bromwich into an exorbitant farce. Adam Lallana has gone to South Africa for rehab therapy on his injured hamstring and Gareth Southgate is understood to be willing to give him until May 13 to prove he can make it but that has to be a serious doubt after a couple of injury-wrecked seasons. Panama The World Cup finals debutants have no injuries to report and Hernán Darío Gómez has a full-strength squad of relatively unknown but remarkably experienced players - the 24 men picked for the spring friendlies averaged 59 caps each - ready for Russia. Tunisia Tunisia have suffered the worst blow of all 32 teams to date, losing their playmaker Youssef Msakni, who suffered a cruciate knee ligament injury on April 7 that will keep him out for at least six months. The attacking midfielder, who has 49 caps, tore an anterior ligament playing for his Qatar Stars League club, Al-Duhail, against Al-Sailiya. Nabil Maloul, Tunisia's manager, was asked in March what Msakni's absence would mean when the player could not feature in the spring friendlies because of a minor meniscus problem that required 10 days' rest, he said it would be like Argentina going to Russia without Lionel Messi. Group H Colombia Juan Cuadrado gave Jose Pekerman a scare by injuring his groin back in January and the initial prognosis, that he would be out for at least three months after surgery, possibly six, was discouraging. But the winger made his return for Juventus ahead of schedule last month while Sampdoria's Duvan Zapata, who missed their match with Cagliari on April 28, should also make it back before the end of the season. Japan Turmoil at management level - Akira Nishino replaced Vahid Halilhodzic at the beginning of April - contrasts with relative serenity over options for selection. Second-choice keeper, Masaaki Higashiguchi, fractured his cheekbone on April 21 but is likely to make the World Cup 23 even if he has to play in a face mask for precautionary reasons. Marseille defender Hiroki Sakai was ruled out for three weeks in April with a medial collateral ligament strain in his left knee and misses both legs of their Europa League semifinal against Red Bull Salzburg but is confident of recovering in time to participate in Russia. World Cup 2018 venues Poland Veteran midfielder, the live blogger's friend Jakub Blaszczykowski, made his first start for Hamburg since February on April 28 and should be fit to make a squad that has no major current concerns about its key components. Artur Boruc, who had 60 caps, announced his international retirement last year bur had long since taken the role of third banana behind Lukasz Fabianski and Wojciech Szczesny. Senegal Monaco's fiery forward Keita Balde has been out since April 7 with a hamstring injury but should be back for the St Etienne game on May 12.The principal worry for Aliou Cisse concered his centre-back and vice-captain Kara Mbodji, who has not played since before Christmas following knee surgery for an injury he picked up playing for Anderlecht. After thrice-daily rehab sessions, Kara says he hopes to be involved for their final league game against Club Brugge on May 6.
World Cup 2018 squad guide: Latest group news and updates
Each of the 31 qualifiers for the 2018 World Cup plus the hosts will name their provisional 35 man squads for the tournament by the deadline on May 14, exactly a month before the opening game between Russia and Saudi Arabia on June 14 at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow. They will then have until June 4 to cull the numbers down to 23. Those who do not make the cut are likely to be placed on standby in case they are needed to replace any injured players. Replacements can be made at any point until 24 hours before each team's first World Cup game. Here is what we know so far about who is available and who is struggling to make it. Group A Egypt No significant injury worries for Héctor Cúper, not even over the 45-year-old goalkeeper and captain Essam El-Hadary who is firmly on course to become the oldest player in finals history. There are wider concerns over the form of West Brom's shell-shocked Ahmed Hegazi but it is countered by Mohamed Salah's during his outstanding debut season at Liverpool. Russia Stanislav Cherchisov has been tasked with taking the hosts to the last four at least, which will be difficult given their results in a very taxing build-up programme - defeated by Portugal, Mexico, Argentina, Brazil and France. Aleksandr Kokorin, the 27-year-old Zenit winger who scored Russia's goal in the draw with Algeria during the 2014 tournament, is all but certain to miss the World Cup having damaged his ACL in mid March. Igor Denisov, the Lokomotiv defensive midfielder and Russia captain under Fabio Capello, fell out with Cherchisov years ago at Dynamo Moscow and the manager has refused to pick him while arguments between Cherchisov and the 6ft 5in striker Artem Dzyuba threaten his involvement. CSKA twins Aleksei and Vasily Berezutski retired after Euro 2016 and have refused the manager's entreaties to return to the squad at the age of 35 following the serious knee injuries suffered by Viktor Vasin and Georgi Dzhikiya. Saudi Arabia The only team at the tournament ranked lower than the hosts, it's a fortuitous coincidence for Russia that they were drawn out to play the curtain-raiser. A resounding defeat by Belgium in March was forgivable but their 4-1 loss inIraq the month before has provoked understandable disquiet. Decisions to send the midfielders Yahya Al-Shehri, Salem Al-Dawsari and Fahad Al-Muwallad on loan to Leganes, Villarreal and Levante respectively in January has backfired. None of the national team stalwarts had played a minute of Liga football by the end of March 2018. Uruguay Oscar Tabárez's team looks as powerful as ever, built around the relentless, uncompromising defensive work of Diego Godín, the attacking prowess of Edinson Cavani and Luis Suárez supplied by Gastón Ramírez and now with the young, athletic Juventus midfielder Rodrigo Bentancur to add drive to the usual steel. Veteran defender Martín Cáceres has a calf injury that had restricted him to only one appearance by the end of March following his transfer from Verona after that dreadful year at Southampton and remains the major doubt. World Cup predictor Group B Iran Ashkan Dejagah, a Bundesliga title-winner with Wolfsburg and fondly remembered by Fulham fans who elected him player of the year in 2013-14, returned to England with Nottingham Forest as a free agent in January but suffered a knee injury the following month that will keep him out until the end of April. The 31-year-old midfielder, who played all three group matches in Brazil four years ago, is Carlos Queiroz's only significant injury worry. Captain Masoud Shojaei has returned to the squad after seven months and has so far overcome opposition from the deputy sports minister and another parliamentarian for playing for Panionios against Maccabi Tel Aviv in a Europa League qualifier. A national team life ban for playing against a representative of a state Iran does not recognise had been proposed but Queiroz ignored the calls. Morocco The African Nations champions qualified without conceding a goal and three-quarters of the defence that earned them their enviable record - Nabil Dirar, Mehdi Benatia and Romain Saiss - are all fit and in impressive form. The versatile Real Madrid prodigy, Achraf Hakimi, however, was withdrawn from the squad for the March friendlies when injured on the first day of training and is likely to miss a few weeks while the midfielder Ait Bennasser, who hurt his thigh while playing for Caen against Angers in March, is not expected to be back on contention until the beginning of May at the earliest. Zouhair Feddal, who plays at left-back for Real Betis, ruptured his Achilles in February and, barring a miracle, will miss the World Cup. England's World Cup 2018 squad - ranked Portugal Renato Sanches, who was so sensational at Euro 2016 that Bayern Munich agreed a deal to sign the teenage midfielder that committed them to spending as much as £72m for him, has endured a wretched run of form and fitness ever since. His latest hamstring injury while on loan at Swansea has kept him sidelined since mid January and the Premier League club sent him back to Munich at the end of March for treatment, admitting he might not return. But, to much surprise, he returned to the matchday squad for the visit of Chelsea on April 28 but didn't get on in the 1-0 defeat. Major concerns persist over the durability of the veteran central defenders - Jose Fonte and Bruno Silva, 34 and 36 respectively - who are currently fit but have had lengthy lay-offs in recent months while the 35-year-old Pepe is nursing a broken toe. Spain No significant injury concerns so far for Julen Lopetegui but the form of Alvaro Morata at Chelsea has been a worry and led to him being left out of the squad for the spring friendlies. Diego Costa, in the rudest of health and spirit at Atlético Madrid, should lead the line which may make a romantic recall for Spain's top-scorer, New York City's David Villa, at the age of 36 far more remote than it seemed last autumn. Cesc Fabregas and Bayern Munich's Javi Martínez have been notable omissions from Lopetegui's squads ever since he took over from Vicente del Bosque in 2016 and while neither are resigned to missing out, recalls at this late stage are extremely unlikely. Group C Australia Bert van Marwijk, appointed in January on a seven-month contract, recalled the goalkeeper Brad Jones after four years out of international football in his first squad and the former Liverpool reserve, now with Feyenoord, has a good chance of making it to Russia in place of Adam Federici, the Bournemouth back-up, who has not played for 15 months after suffering back-to-back knee injuries. Matthew Spiranovic, a free agent since his release by Zhejiang Greentown in February, will pay the price for not heeding former manager Ange Postecoglou who repeatedly warned him that playing in the Chinese second division was not adequate preparation for a World Cup place. Melbourne Victory centre-half Rhys Williams, hoping to make his first World Cup after injury ruled him out of South Africa and Brazil, tore his calf on April 29 and looks like making it third time unlucky. Kaiserslautern's Brandon Borrello ruptured his ACL during a training session in the last week of April and has no chance of making it. Denmark Chelsea's Andreas Christensen and Brentford's Henrik Dalsgaard were sent home early from the squads for the spring friendlies, the former because of 'exhaustion' and the latter excused to spend some time with his newborn daughter. Both have been told that they are certainties for Age Hareide's 23.Central defender Andreas Bjelland has been troubled by an achilles injury but has returned to the Brentford squad while Lasse Vibe, who left Griffin Park in February for the Chinese Super League's Changchun Yatai, is running out of time to prove his fitness and sharpness after heel and hamstring injuries blighted the first half of his season. World Cup 2018 stadiums France Laurent Koscielny will miss the tournament after rupturing his achilles tendon in Arsenal's Europa League semi-final, second leg against Atletico Madrid. Benjamin Mendy has been out since September with a cruciate ligament injury but has been training with Manchester City's first-team squad since the beginning of March and should be back before the end of the season. If the left-back makes it he may go straight into the starting XI given Layvin Kurzawa's recent loss of form at PSG. Florian Thauvin, who has gone from zero to hero on his return from Newcastle to Marseille, should overcome a hamstring injury to make it but squad stalwarts Alexandre Lacazette, Moussa Sissoko and Dimitri Payet may all miss out after disappointing domestic seasons. Djibril Sidibe has injured the meniscus in his right knee and will miss the end of Monaco's season but the right-back hopes to be back in time to make Didier Deschamps' XXIII. Peru First-choice goalkeeper Pedro Gallese had knee surgery to correct a meniscus problem last February and though he is behind schedule to return for his Mexican league club Veracruz, remains confident that he will be ready for the friendly against Scotland on May 29. Veteran striker and captain Paolo Guerrero is currently serving a six-month ban after testing positive for cocaine and other banned drugs following Peru's draw with Argentina last October. Peru will bring their famous kit to the World Cup finals for the first time since 1982 Credit: FEDERICO PARRA/AFP/Getty Images His suspension, reduced on appeal, ends on May 3 but his second appeal will be heard by the Court of Arbitration for Sport before then as he continues to maintain he was the victim of contaminated food. Group D Argentina Ramiro Funes Mori's return to Everton's bench on the last day of March after more than a year out with a knee injury is a fillip to Jorge Sampaoli and his creaking defence. Roma winger Diego Perotti should return from a calf strain by the middle of April but Boca Juniors' playmaker Fernando Gago and centre-forward Dario Benedetto have been ruled out by their club who hope to have them back for pre-season training though neither severe knee-injury victim has given up hope of 11th-hour breakthroughs in their recovery regimes. World Cup Russian host cities you've never heard of Croatia Veterans Danijel Subasic, Dejan Lovren, Marcelo Brozovic, Ivan Perisic, Luka Modric, Nikola Kalinic and Mario Mandzukic all withdrew from last month's two-match tour to the United States to conserve their energies but they are fit and certainties for the squad barring any late setbacks. Ante Rebic, the Eintracht Frankfurt winger, and Fiorentina's defensive midfielder Milan Baldelj have missed games in April with a torn calf and rib injuries respectively but are due back before the end of the month and should take their places in Zlatko Dalic's 23. Iceland The medial ligament injury Gylfi Sigurdsson sustained in his right knee when playing for Everton against Brighton at the beginning of March was expected to end his domestic season while keeping a glimmer of hope alive that he would be fit for Russia. Sam Allardyce said he would personally deliver a 'b---------' to the employee who released a statement saying he was out for eight weeks and countered it by suggesting that the playmaker was a quick healer and may be back before May which gives Heimir Hallgrimsson grounds for optimism. Alfreð Finnbogason, the Augsburg centre-forward, who has been out since the end of January with a calf injury, is expected to make his comeback in mid April. Nigeria Wilfred Ndidi will miss the end of Leicester' season with a hamstring damaged during their walloping by Crystal Palace on April 28. His team-mate Kelechi Iheanacho broke his hand while playing for the Super Eagles during their defeat by Serbia last month but returned to bench duty for Leicester after missing only one Premier League game. Henry Onyekuru, the Everton forward who is spending 2017-18 on loan at Anderlecht, underwent knee ligament surgery in December but insisted he would be in contention to make the squad. On April 2 he returned to first-team training and says he will be ready to play and add to his nine league goals in 19 appearances before the month is out. Group E Brazil Neymar's metatarsal injury on Feb 25 threatened to turn into another bout of national self-flagellation and despondency but the initial prognosis that he would be out for 12 weeks still gives him time to recover and subsequent revisions of his estimated absence that have shaved four weeks off his return date should allow him to find some sharpness, too. Philippe Coutinho's ropey form since moving to Barcelona will not discourage Tite, who will use the Anfield friendly against Croatia at the start of June to reacquaint him with his best days alongside familiar faces in familiar surroundings. Filipe Luis, the Atlético left-back and back-up to Marcelo, fractured his fibula in mid-March but is hopeful of returning should Diego Simeone's team qualify for the Europa League final. Tite has never had much time for David Luiz's qualities and though the centre-back, whose knee injury has kept him out of Chelsea's squad since the middle of February, is striving to put himself in contention, his quest will probably be in vain. Costa Rica Joel Campbell, remarkably still an Arsenal player, injured his ankle while playing on loan for Real Betis at the end of October and has not played since. The forward reported that he was fit at the end of February and has returned to full training so seems likely to make the cut for the squad even if he will be woefully lacking match fitness, not that it did Paolo Rossi much harm in 1982 nor Marco van Basten at Euro 88. New York City left-back Ronald Matarrita has a hamstring injury that has hampered his preparations and Portland Timbers' defensive midfielder David Guzman has missed the past fortnight with a sprained knee sustained on international duty. The state of Neymar's health has become a Brazilian obsession Credit: REUTERS/Stephane Mahe Switzerland Vladimir Petkovic expects Udinese's Valon Behrami to recover from his shoulder injury in a couple of weeks and has no other pressing concerns. Eren Derdiyok. Admir Mehmedi and Xherdan Shaqiri all sat out the recent friendlies (a 1-0 victory over Greece and a 6-0 thrashing of Panama) but should make the final squad when it is announced on May 14. Serbia Matija Nastasic damaged knee ligaments on April 12 playing for Schalke and the best prognosis for the centre-half is a six-week recuperation. Mladen Krstajic, a fine defender for Partizan, Werder Bremen, Schalke and the national team but a rookie coach appointed to this, his first job, only last December, has all his core players fit and only Benfica's Ljubomir Fejsa, the defensive midfielder who has won 10 successive league titles across three countries, suffering from recurring but minor, niggling problems. Fejsa has not played for Serbia since 2016 and would be a back-up only to Nemanja Matic and Luka Milivojevic if he makes the squad but would be a contender for tattoo of the tournament for the chest tableau that commemorates his return from serious injury while playing for Partizan and his later triumphs with Olympiakos and Benfica. ...⚽️❗️....done✔️ #f5 #justdone #stillfresh Obrigado Mareeee���� @maretattoo A post shared by Fejsa Ljubomir & Suzana (@fejsa5) on Mar 25, 2018 at 1:42pm PDT Group F Germany Borussia Monchengladbach's Lars Stindl is out with an ankle injury but Manuel Neuer returned to full goalkeeper training on April 5 after six months out having fractured a metatarsal in his left foot for the third time in a year and undergone surgery to insert a plate to protect the bone. The Bayern Munich and Germany captain has manged only three Bundesliga appearances this season yet, although Joachim Löw has benefited from his absence by exploiting it to give Marc-Andre Ter Stegen valuable international experience, the world champions will go to the wire to include Neuer. Jerome Boateng, though, is a serious doubt after injuring his knee during the first leg of Bayern Munich's Champions League semi-final against Real Madrid. Boateng was injured during Bayern Munich's Champions League semi-final against Real Madrid Credit: ODD ANDERSEN/AFP/Getty Images Marco Reus, who missed the 2014 World Cup and Euro 2016 with ankle and groin injuries, made his comeback from cruciate ligament surgery in February after eight months out and Borussia Dortmund have nursed his return, allowing him time off to recover from soreness, over the past few weeks. "With Marco," said Löw, "it's important to us that he is brought to the top level carefully and without further pressure and that he gains in stability." Mario Götze, the scorer of the winning goal at Maracana, was left out of the squad for the spring friendlies after a dip in form while his Dortmund team-mate and World Cup final goal-provider Andre Schürrle, finally free of knee and achilles injuries, has impressed Löw sufficiently to reassure him that he still has a chance but has yet to earn a call-up. Mexico Giovani Dos Santos should be back for LA Galaxy by the end of April after his hamstring injury in early March and will resume his place in Mexico's midfield alongside Porto captain Hector Herrera who travelled with the national team for the spring double header against Iceland and Croatia but was sent back to his club for treatment because of an unspecified muscle injury. Starting central defender Carlos Salcedeo broke his collarbone during the defeat by Croatia and had surgery to have it pinned but is expected to return for Eintracht Frankfurt just before the end of the season. Another key defender, Nestor Araujo who plays for Santos Laguna, was also injured in the same match and has had keyhole surgery to repair meniscus damage. He, too, is expected to make a first-team comeback before the squad deadline of May 14. South Korea Shin Tae-yong's greatest concern last month as he prepares for his first tournament since moving up from U-20 manager to secure qualification centred not on fitness but the fatigue of Son Heung-min after a long season and a gruelling buil-up to it. "For most Europe-based players, they are used to getting in shape in August before the new season starts. I'm really worried that Son's form might go down from May, with his concentration waning and him becoming physically exhausted," he said. Former Middlesbrough striker Lee Dong-gook, a member of the France 98 squad at the age of 18, harbours hopes of a place after a recall last September for the final qualifier against Uzbekistan but he has not been picked since. The sitter he missed against Uruguay at the 2010 World Cup haunted him for years but most supporters seem to have forgiven him and would welcome the selection of the K-League's highest scorer. Sweden It would be unfair for Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who played no part in qualification having retired after Euro 2016, to overshadow the preparations of the squad in making it to Russia but his possible return, despite his controversial link-up with a betting firm that would seem to preclude him being recalled under Fifa regulations, is dominating their build-up. "Just as with the national team, if I want to play, I’ll play," he said. Zlatan Ibrahimovic has not ruled out a comeback Credit: AP Photo/Jae C. Hong “This is not a question for Fifa, it’s a question for me and what I want.” Janne Andersson has no injury worries with a month to go but the inexperience of all his goalkeepers must be a cause of some disquiet. Robin Olsen performed heroically against Italy in the second leg of the play-off but he has only 16 caps and the manager has tried several alternatives in pursuit of an undisputed No1. Group G Belgium Michy Batshuayi, having scored nine goals in 14 games during a terrific loan spell at Dortmund, left the field on a stretcher on April 15 after sustaining an ankle injury during the derby defeat by Schalke that has ended his season but not his World Cup chances even if they are now very slim indeed. Vincent Kompany's return to form and fitness has removed Roberto Martínez's most long-standing doubt though Christian Benteke's travails in front of goal for Crystal Palace had put his chances of a squad place as a back-up to Romelu Lukaku at serious risk until Batshuayi's injury. Nacer Chadli has missed West Brom's doomed 'fight' against relegation since December with hip and thigh injuries but Albion report that he is ready to return on April 21 after an impressive showing in training. Thibaut Courtois has recovered from the hamstring injury that kept him out of the spring friendlies and Chelsea's defeat by Spurs for whom Toby Alderweireld remains on the peripheries, which must be a worry for Martínez. England Liverpool pair Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Joe Gomez miss the tournament through injury but team-mate Nathaniel Clyne is making gradual returns to first-team football and may be a late contender for a squad place. Phil Jones has suffered recurrent hamstring injuries this season and, although he is now fit while Jack Wilshere, who withdrew from the spring squads, remains an outsider as does Ruben Loftus-Cheek who has returned to Palace's side after three months out with an ankle injury and knee pain. Adam Lallana has endured a desperate run with injuries Credit: Action Images via Reuters/Matthew Childs Nathaniel Chalobah joined the England squad in March to continue his rehabilitation from a fractured knee-cap but is unlikely to play for Watford before the season's end while Daniel Sturridge was out for two months with a hamstring injury that has turned his loan move to West Bromwich into an exorbitant farce. Adam Lallana has gone to South Africa for rehab therapy on his injured hamstring and Gareth Southgate is understood to be willing to give him until May 13 to prove he can make it but that has to be a serious doubt after a couple of injury-wrecked seasons. Panama The World Cup finals debutants have no injuries to report and Hernán Darío Gómez has a full-strength squad of relatively unknown but remarkably experienced players - the 24 men picked for the spring friendlies averaged 59 caps each - ready for Russia. Tunisia Tunisia have suffered the worst blow of all 32 teams to date, losing their playmaker Youssef Msakni, who suffered a cruciate knee ligament injury on April 7 that will keep him out for at least six months. The attacking midfielder, who has 49 caps, tore an anterior ligament playing for his Qatar Stars League club, Al-Duhail, against Al-Sailiya. Nabil Maloul, Tunisia's manager, was asked in March what Msakni's absence would mean when the player could not feature in the spring friendlies because of a minor meniscus problem that required 10 days' rest, he said it would be like Argentina going to Russia without Lionel Messi. Group H Colombia Juan Cuadrado gave Jose Pekerman a scare by injuring his groin back in January and the initial prognosis, that he would be out for at least three months after surgery, possibly six, was discouraging. But the winger made his return for Juventus ahead of schedule last month while Sampdoria's Duvan Zapata, who missed their match with Cagliari on April 28, should also make it back before the end of the season. Japan Turmoil at management level - Akira Nishino replaced Vahid Halilhodzic at the beginning of April - contrasts with relative serenity over options for selection. Second-choice keeper, Masaaki Higashiguchi, fractured his cheekbone on April 21 but is likely to make the World Cup 23 even if he has to play in a face mask for precautionary reasons. Marseille defender Hiroki Sakai was ruled out for three weeks in April with a medial collateral ligament strain in his left knee and misses both legs of their Europa League semifinal against Red Bull Salzburg but is confident of recovering in time to participate in Russia. World Cup 2018 venues Poland Veteran midfielder, the live blogger's friend Jakub Blaszczykowski, made his first start for Hamburg since February on April 28 and should be fit to make a squad that has no major current concerns about its key components. Artur Boruc, who had 60 caps, announced his international retirement last year bur had long since taken the role of third banana behind Lukasz Fabianski and Wojciech Szczesny. Senegal Monaco's fiery forward Keita Balde has been out since April 7 with a hamstring injury but should be back for the St Etienne game on May 12.The principal worry for Aliou Cisse concered his centre-back and vice-captain Kara Mbodji, who has not played since before Christmas following knee surgery for an injury he picked up playing for Anderlecht. After thrice-daily rehab sessions, Kara says he hopes to be involved for their final league game against Club Brugge on May 6.
Each of the 31 qualifiers for the 2018 World Cup plus the hosts will name their provisional 35 man squads for the tournament by the deadline on May 14, exactly a month before the opening game between Russia and Saudi Arabia on June 14 at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow. They will then have until June 4 to cull the numbers down to 23. Those who do not make the cut are likely to be placed on standby in case they are needed to replace any injured players. Replacements can be made at any point until 24 hours before each team's first World Cup game. Here is what we know so far about who is available and who is struggling to make it. Group A Egypt No significant injury worries for Héctor Cúper, not even over the 45-year-old goalkeeper and captain Essam El-Hadary who is firmly on course to become the oldest player in finals history. There are wider concerns over the form of West Brom's shell-shocked Ahmed Hegazi but it is countered by Mohamed Salah's during his outstanding debut season at Liverpool. Russia Stanislav Cherchisov has been tasked with taking the hosts to the last four at least, which will be difficult given their results in a very taxing build-up programme - defeated by Portugal, Mexico, Argentina, Brazil and France. Aleksandr Kokorin, the 27-year-old Zenit winger who scored Russia's goal in the draw with Algeria during the 2014 tournament, is all but certain to miss the World Cup having damaged his ACL in mid March. Igor Denisov, the Lokomotiv defensive midfielder and Russia captain under Fabio Capello, fell out with Cherchisov years ago at Dynamo Moscow and the manager has refused to pick him while arguments between Cherchisov and the 6ft 5in striker Artem Dzyuba threaten his involvement. CSKA twins Aleksei and Vasily Berezutski retired after Euro 2016 and have refused the manager's entreaties to return to the squad at the age of 35 following the serious knee injuries suffered by Viktor Vasin and Georgi Dzhikiya. Saudi Arabia The only team at the tournament ranked lower than the hosts, it's a fortuitous coincidence for Russia that they were drawn out to play the curtain-raiser. A resounding defeat by Belgium in March was forgivable but their 4-1 loss inIraq the month before has provoked understandable disquiet. Decisions to send the midfielders Yahya Al-Shehri, Salem Al-Dawsari and Fahad Al-Muwallad on loan to Leganes, Villarreal and Levante respectively in January has backfired. None of the national team stalwarts had played a minute of Liga football by the end of March 2018. Uruguay Oscar Tabárez's team looks as powerful as ever, built around the relentless, uncompromising defensive work of Diego Godín, the attacking prowess of Edinson Cavani and Luis Suárez supplied by Gastón Ramírez and now with the young, athletic Juventus midfielder Rodrigo Bentancur to add drive to the usual steel. Veteran defender Martín Cáceres has a calf injury that had restricted him to only one appearance by the end of March following his transfer from Verona after that dreadful year at Southampton and remains the major doubt. World Cup predictor Group B Iran Ashkan Dejagah, a Bundesliga title-winner with Wolfsburg and fondly remembered by Fulham fans who elected him player of the year in 2013-14, returned to England with Nottingham Forest as a free agent in January but suffered a knee injury the following month that will keep him out until the end of April. The 31-year-old midfielder, who played all three group matches in Brazil four years ago, is Carlos Queiroz's only significant injury worry. Captain Masoud Shojaei has returned to the squad after seven months and has so far overcome opposition from the deputy sports minister and another parliamentarian for playing for Panionios against Maccabi Tel Aviv in a Europa League qualifier. A national team life ban for playing against a representative of a state Iran does not recognise had been proposed but Queiroz ignored the calls. Morocco The African Nations champions qualified without conceding a goal and three-quarters of the defence that earned them their enviable record - Nabil Dirar, Mehdi Benatia and Romain Saiss - are all fit and in impressive form. The versatile Real Madrid prodigy, Achraf Hakimi, however, was withdrawn from the squad for the March friendlies when injured on the first day of training and is likely to miss a few weeks while the midfielder Ait Bennasser, who hurt his thigh while playing for Caen against Angers in March, is not expected to be back on contention until the beginning of May at the earliest. Zouhair Feddal, who plays at left-back for Real Betis, ruptured his Achilles in February and, barring a miracle, will miss the World Cup. England's World Cup 2018 squad - ranked Portugal Renato Sanches, who was so sensational at Euro 2016 that Bayern Munich agreed a deal to sign the teenage midfielder that committed them to spending as much as £72m for him, has endured a wretched run of form and fitness ever since. His latest hamstring injury while on loan at Swansea has kept him sidelined since mid January and the Premier League club sent him back to Munich at the end of March for treatment, admitting he might not return. But, to much surprise, he returned to the matchday squad for the visit of Chelsea on April 28 but didn't get on in the 1-0 defeat. Major concerns persist over the durability of the veteran central defenders - Jose Fonte and Bruno Silva, 34 and 36 respectively - who are currently fit but have had lengthy lay-offs in recent months while the 35-year-old Pepe is nursing a broken toe. Spain No significant injury concerns so far for Julen Lopetegui but the form of Alvaro Morata at Chelsea has been a worry and led to him being left out of the squad for the spring friendlies. Diego Costa, in the rudest of health and spirit at Atlético Madrid, should lead the line which may make a romantic recall for Spain's top-scorer, New York City's David Villa, at the age of 36 far more remote than it seemed last autumn. Cesc Fabregas and Bayern Munich's Javi Martínez have been notable omissions from Lopetegui's squads ever since he took over from Vicente del Bosque in 2016 and while neither are resigned to missing out, recalls at this late stage are extremely unlikely. Group C Australia Bert van Marwijk, appointed in January on a seven-month contract, recalled the goalkeeper Brad Jones after four years out of international football in his first squad and the former Liverpool reserve, now with Feyenoord, has a good chance of making it to Russia in place of Adam Federici, the Bournemouth back-up, who has not played for 15 months after suffering back-to-back knee injuries. Matthew Spiranovic, a free agent since his release by Zhejiang Greentown in February, will pay the price for not heeding former manager Ange Postecoglou who repeatedly warned him that playing in the Chinese second division was not adequate preparation for a World Cup place. Melbourne Victory centre-half Rhys Williams, hoping to make his first World Cup after injury ruled him out of South Africa and Brazil, tore his calf on April 29 and looks like making it third time unlucky. Kaiserslautern's Brandon Borrello ruptured his ACL during a training session in the last week of April and has no chance of making it. Denmark Chelsea's Andreas Christensen and Brentford's Henrik Dalsgaard were sent home early from the squads for the spring friendlies, the former because of 'exhaustion' and the latter excused to spend some time with his newborn daughter. Both have been told that they are certainties for Age Hareide's 23.Central defender Andreas Bjelland has been troubled by an achilles injury but has returned to the Brentford squad while Lasse Vibe, who left Griffin Park in February for the Chinese Super League's Changchun Yatai, is running out of time to prove his fitness and sharpness after heel and hamstring injuries blighted the first half of his season. World Cup 2018 stadiums France Laurent Koscielny will miss the tournament after rupturing his achilles tendon in Arsenal's Europa League semi-final, second leg against Atletico Madrid. Benjamin Mendy has been out since September with a cruciate ligament injury but has been training with Manchester City's first-team squad since the beginning of March and should be back before the end of the season. If the left-back makes it he may go straight into the starting XI given Layvin Kurzawa's recent loss of form at PSG. Florian Thauvin, who has gone from zero to hero on his return from Newcastle to Marseille, should overcome a hamstring injury to make it but squad stalwarts Alexandre Lacazette, Moussa Sissoko and Dimitri Payet may all miss out after disappointing domestic seasons. Djibril Sidibe has injured the meniscus in his right knee and will miss the end of Monaco's season but the right-back hopes to be back in time to make Didier Deschamps' XXIII. Peru First-choice goalkeeper Pedro Gallese had knee surgery to correct a meniscus problem last February and though he is behind schedule to return for his Mexican league club Veracruz, remains confident that he will be ready for the friendly against Scotland on May 29. Veteran striker and captain Paolo Guerrero is currently serving a six-month ban after testing positive for cocaine and other banned drugs following Peru's draw with Argentina last October. Peru will bring their famous kit to the World Cup finals for the first time since 1982 Credit: FEDERICO PARRA/AFP/Getty Images His suspension, reduced on appeal, ends on May 3 but his second appeal will be heard by the Court of Arbitration for Sport before then as he continues to maintain he was the victim of contaminated food. Group D Argentina Ramiro Funes Mori's return to Everton's bench on the last day of March after more than a year out with a knee injury is a fillip to Jorge Sampaoli and his creaking defence. Roma winger Diego Perotti should return from a calf strain by the middle of April but Boca Juniors' playmaker Fernando Gago and centre-forward Dario Benedetto have been ruled out by their club who hope to have them back for pre-season training though neither severe knee-injury victim has given up hope of 11th-hour breakthroughs in their recovery regimes. World Cup Russian host cities you've never heard of Croatia Veterans Danijel Subasic, Dejan Lovren, Marcelo Brozovic, Ivan Perisic, Luka Modric, Nikola Kalinic and Mario Mandzukic all withdrew from last month's two-match tour to the United States to conserve their energies but they are fit and certainties for the squad barring any late setbacks. Ante Rebic, the Eintracht Frankfurt winger, and Fiorentina's defensive midfielder Milan Baldelj have missed games in April with a torn calf and rib injuries respectively but are due back before the end of the month and should take their places in Zlatko Dalic's 23. Iceland The medial ligament injury Gylfi Sigurdsson sustained in his right knee when playing for Everton against Brighton at the beginning of March was expected to end his domestic season while keeping a glimmer of hope alive that he would be fit for Russia. Sam Allardyce said he would personally deliver a 'b---------' to the employee who released a statement saying he was out for eight weeks and countered it by suggesting that the playmaker was a quick healer and may be back before May which gives Heimir Hallgrimsson grounds for optimism. Alfreð Finnbogason, the Augsburg centre-forward, who has been out since the end of January with a calf injury, is expected to make his comeback in mid April. Nigeria Wilfred Ndidi will miss the end of Leicester' season with a hamstring damaged during their walloping by Crystal Palace on April 28. His team-mate Kelechi Iheanacho broke his hand while playing for the Super Eagles during their defeat by Serbia last month but returned to bench duty for Leicester after missing only one Premier League game. Henry Onyekuru, the Everton forward who is spending 2017-18 on loan at Anderlecht, underwent knee ligament surgery in December but insisted he would be in contention to make the squad. On April 2 he returned to first-team training and says he will be ready to play and add to his nine league goals in 19 appearances before the month is out. Group E Brazil Neymar's metatarsal injury on Feb 25 threatened to turn into another bout of national self-flagellation and despondency but the initial prognosis that he would be out for 12 weeks still gives him time to recover and subsequent revisions of his estimated absence that have shaved four weeks off his return date should allow him to find some sharpness, too. Philippe Coutinho's ropey form since moving to Barcelona will not discourage Tite, who will use the Anfield friendly against Croatia at the start of June to reacquaint him with his best days alongside familiar faces in familiar surroundings. Filipe Luis, the Atlético left-back and back-up to Marcelo, fractured his fibula in mid-March but is hopeful of returning should Diego Simeone's team qualify for the Europa League final. Tite has never had much time for David Luiz's qualities and though the centre-back, whose knee injury has kept him out of Chelsea's squad since the middle of February, is striving to put himself in contention, his quest will probably be in vain. Costa Rica Joel Campbell, remarkably still an Arsenal player, injured his ankle while playing on loan for Real Betis at the end of October and has not played since. The forward reported that he was fit at the end of February and has returned to full training so seems likely to make the cut for the squad even if he will be woefully lacking match fitness, not that it did Paolo Rossi much harm in 1982 nor Marco van Basten at Euro 88. New York City left-back Ronald Matarrita has a hamstring injury that has hampered his preparations and Portland Timbers' defensive midfielder David Guzman has missed the past fortnight with a sprained knee sustained on international duty. The state of Neymar's health has become a Brazilian obsession Credit: REUTERS/Stephane Mahe Switzerland Vladimir Petkovic expects Udinese's Valon Behrami to recover from his shoulder injury in a couple of weeks and has no other pressing concerns. Eren Derdiyok. Admir Mehmedi and Xherdan Shaqiri all sat out the recent friendlies (a 1-0 victory over Greece and a 6-0 thrashing of Panama) but should make the final squad when it is announced on May 14. Serbia Matija Nastasic damaged knee ligaments on April 12 playing for Schalke and the best prognosis for the centre-half is a six-week recuperation. Mladen Krstajic, a fine defender for Partizan, Werder Bremen, Schalke and the national team but a rookie coach appointed to this, his first job, only last December, has all his core players fit and only Benfica's Ljubomir Fejsa, the defensive midfielder who has won 10 successive league titles across three countries, suffering from recurring but minor, niggling problems. Fejsa has not played for Serbia since 2016 and would be a back-up only to Nemanja Matic and Luka Milivojevic if he makes the squad but would be a contender for tattoo of the tournament for the chest tableau that commemorates his return from serious injury while playing for Partizan and his later triumphs with Olympiakos and Benfica. ...⚽️❗️....done✔️ #f5 #justdone #stillfresh Obrigado Mareeee���� @maretattoo A post shared by Fejsa Ljubomir & Suzana (@fejsa5) on Mar 25, 2018 at 1:42pm PDT Group F Germany Borussia Monchengladbach's Lars Stindl is out with an ankle injury but Manuel Neuer returned to full goalkeeper training on April 5 after six months out having fractured a metatarsal in his left foot for the third time in a year and undergone surgery to insert a plate to protect the bone. The Bayern Munich and Germany captain has manged only three Bundesliga appearances this season yet, although Joachim Löw has benefited from his absence by exploiting it to give Marc-Andre Ter Stegen valuable international experience, the world champions will go to the wire to include Neuer. Jerome Boateng, though, is a serious doubt after injuring his knee during the first leg of Bayern Munich's Champions League semi-final against Real Madrid. Boateng was injured during Bayern Munich's Champions League semi-final against Real Madrid Credit: ODD ANDERSEN/AFP/Getty Images Marco Reus, who missed the 2014 World Cup and Euro 2016 with ankle and groin injuries, made his comeback from cruciate ligament surgery in February after eight months out and Borussia Dortmund have nursed his return, allowing him time off to recover from soreness, over the past few weeks. "With Marco," said Löw, "it's important to us that he is brought to the top level carefully and without further pressure and that he gains in stability." Mario Götze, the scorer of the winning goal at Maracana, was left out of the squad for the spring friendlies after a dip in form while his Dortmund team-mate and World Cup final goal-provider Andre Schürrle, finally free of knee and achilles injuries, has impressed Löw sufficiently to reassure him that he still has a chance but has yet to earn a call-up. Mexico Giovani Dos Santos should be back for LA Galaxy by the end of April after his hamstring injury in early March and will resume his place in Mexico's midfield alongside Porto captain Hector Herrera who travelled with the national team for the spring double header against Iceland and Croatia but was sent back to his club for treatment because of an unspecified muscle injury. Starting central defender Carlos Salcedeo broke his collarbone during the defeat by Croatia and had surgery to have it pinned but is expected to return for Eintracht Frankfurt just before the end of the season. Another key defender, Nestor Araujo who plays for Santos Laguna, was also injured in the same match and has had keyhole surgery to repair meniscus damage. He, too, is expected to make a first-team comeback before the squad deadline of May 14. South Korea Shin Tae-yong's greatest concern last month as he prepares for his first tournament since moving up from U-20 manager to secure qualification centred not on fitness but the fatigue of Son Heung-min after a long season and a gruelling buil-up to it. "For most Europe-based players, they are used to getting in shape in August before the new season starts. I'm really worried that Son's form might go down from May, with his concentration waning and him becoming physically exhausted," he said. Former Middlesbrough striker Lee Dong-gook, a member of the France 98 squad at the age of 18, harbours hopes of a place after a recall last September for the final qualifier against Uzbekistan but he has not been picked since. The sitter he missed against Uruguay at the 2010 World Cup haunted him for years but most supporters seem to have forgiven him and would welcome the selection of the K-League's highest scorer. Sweden It would be unfair for Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who played no part in qualification having retired after Euro 2016, to overshadow the preparations of the squad in making it to Russia but his possible return, despite his controversial link-up with a betting firm that would seem to preclude him being recalled under Fifa regulations, is dominating their build-up. "Just as with the national team, if I want to play, I’ll play," he said. Zlatan Ibrahimovic has not ruled out a comeback Credit: AP Photo/Jae C. Hong “This is not a question for Fifa, it’s a question for me and what I want.” Janne Andersson has no injury worries with a month to go but the inexperience of all his goalkeepers must be a cause of some disquiet. Robin Olsen performed heroically against Italy in the second leg of the play-off but he has only 16 caps and the manager has tried several alternatives in pursuit of an undisputed No1. Group G Belgium Michy Batshuayi, having scored nine goals in 14 games during a terrific loan spell at Dortmund, left the field on a stretcher on April 15 after sustaining an ankle injury during the derby defeat by Schalke that has ended his season but not his World Cup chances even if they are now very slim indeed. Vincent Kompany's return to form and fitness has removed Roberto Martínez's most long-standing doubt though Christian Benteke's travails in front of goal for Crystal Palace had put his chances of a squad place as a back-up to Romelu Lukaku at serious risk until Batshuayi's injury. Nacer Chadli has missed West Brom's doomed 'fight' against relegation since December with hip and thigh injuries but Albion report that he is ready to return on April 21 after an impressive showing in training. Thibaut Courtois has recovered from the hamstring injury that kept him out of the spring friendlies and Chelsea's defeat by Spurs for whom Toby Alderweireld remains on the peripheries, which must be a worry for Martínez. England Liverpool pair Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Joe Gomez miss the tournament through injury but team-mate Nathaniel Clyne is making gradual returns to first-team football and may be a late contender for a squad place. Phil Jones has suffered recurrent hamstring injuries this season and, although he is now fit while Jack Wilshere, who withdrew from the spring squads, remains an outsider as does Ruben Loftus-Cheek who has returned to Palace's side after three months out with an ankle injury and knee pain. Adam Lallana has endured a desperate run with injuries Credit: Action Images via Reuters/Matthew Childs Nathaniel Chalobah joined the England squad in March to continue his rehabilitation from a fractured knee-cap but is unlikely to play for Watford before the season's end while Daniel Sturridge was out for two months with a hamstring injury that has turned his loan move to West Bromwich into an exorbitant farce. Adam Lallana has gone to South Africa for rehab therapy on his injured hamstring and Gareth Southgate is understood to be willing to give him until May 13 to prove he can make it but that has to be a serious doubt after a couple of injury-wrecked seasons. Panama The World Cup finals debutants have no injuries to report and Hernán Darío Gómez has a full-strength squad of relatively unknown but remarkably experienced players - the 24 men picked for the spring friendlies averaged 59 caps each - ready for Russia. Tunisia Tunisia have suffered the worst blow of all 32 teams to date, losing their playmaker Youssef Msakni, who suffered a cruciate knee ligament injury on April 7 that will keep him out for at least six months. The attacking midfielder, who has 49 caps, tore an anterior ligament playing for his Qatar Stars League club, Al-Duhail, against Al-Sailiya. Nabil Maloul, Tunisia's manager, was asked in March what Msakni's absence would mean when the player could not feature in the spring friendlies because of a minor meniscus problem that required 10 days' rest, he said it would be like Argentina going to Russia without Lionel Messi. Group H Colombia Juan Cuadrado gave Jose Pekerman a scare by injuring his groin back in January and the initial prognosis, that he would be out for at least three months after surgery, possibly six, was discouraging. But the winger made his return for Juventus ahead of schedule last month while Sampdoria's Duvan Zapata, who missed their match with Cagliari on April 28, should also make it back before the end of the season. Japan Turmoil at management level - Akira Nishino replaced Vahid Halilhodzic at the beginning of April - contrasts with relative serenity over options for selection. Second-choice keeper, Masaaki Higashiguchi, fractured his cheekbone on April 21 but is likely to make the World Cup 23 even if he has to play in a face mask for precautionary reasons. Marseille defender Hiroki Sakai was ruled out for three weeks in April with a medial collateral ligament strain in his left knee and misses both legs of their Europa League semifinal against Red Bull Salzburg but is confident of recovering in time to participate in Russia. World Cup 2018 venues Poland Veteran midfielder, the live blogger's friend Jakub Blaszczykowski, made his first start for Hamburg since February on April 28 and should be fit to make a squad that has no major current concerns about its key components. Artur Boruc, who had 60 caps, announced his international retirement last year bur had long since taken the role of third banana behind Lukasz Fabianski and Wojciech Szczesny. Senegal Monaco's fiery forward Keita Balde has been out since April 7 with a hamstring injury but should be back for the St Etienne game on May 12.The principal worry for Aliou Cisse concered his centre-back and vice-captain Kara Mbodji, who has not played since before Christmas following knee surgery for an injury he picked up playing for Anderlecht. After thrice-daily rehab sessions, Kara says he hopes to be involved for their final league game against Club Brugge on May 6.
World Cup 2018 squad guide: Latest group news and updates
Each of the 31 qualifiers for the 2018 World Cup plus the hosts will name their provisional 35 man squads for the tournament by the deadline on May 14, exactly a month before the opening game between Russia and Saudi Arabia on June 14 at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow. They will then have until June 4 to cull the numbers down to 23. Those who do not make the cut are likely to be placed on standby in case they are needed to replace any injured players. Replacements can be made at any point until 24 hours before each team's first World Cup game. Here is what we know so far about who is available and who is struggling to make it. Group A Egypt No significant injury worries for Héctor Cúper, not even over the 45-year-old goalkeeper and captain Essam El-Hadary who is firmly on course to become the oldest player in finals history. There are wider concerns over the form of West Brom's shell-shocked Ahmed Hegazi but it is countered by Mohamed Salah's during his outstanding debut season at Liverpool. Russia Stanislav Cherchisov has been tasked with taking the hosts to the last four at least, which will be difficult given their results in a very taxing build-up programme - defeated by Portugal, Mexico, Argentina, Brazil and France. Aleksandr Kokorin, the 27-year-old Zenit winger who scored Russia's goal in the draw with Algeria during the 2014 tournament, is all but certain to miss the World Cup having damaged his ACL in mid March. Igor Denisov, the Lokomotiv defensive midfielder and Russia captain under Fabio Capello, fell out with Cherchisov years ago at Dynamo Moscow and the manager has refused to pick him while arguments between Cherchisov and the 6ft 5in striker Artem Dzyuba threaten his involvement. CSKA twins Aleksei and Vasily Berezutski retired after Euro 2016 and have refused the manager's entreaties to return to the squad at the age of 35 following the serious knee injuries suffered by Viktor Vasin and Georgi Dzhikiya. Saudi Arabia The only team at the tournament ranked lower than the hosts, it's a fortuitous coincidence for Russia that they were drawn out to play the curtain-raiser. A resounding defeat by Belgium in March was forgivable but their 4-1 loss inIraq the month before has provoked understandable disquiet. Decisions to send the midfielders Yahya Al-Shehri, Salem Al-Dawsari and Fahad Al-Muwallad on loan to Leganes, Villarreal and Levante respectively in January has backfired. None of the national team stalwarts had played a minute of Liga football by the end of March 2018. Uruguay Oscar Tabárez's team looks as powerful as ever, built around the relentless, uncompromising defensive work of Diego Godín, the attacking prowess of Edinson Cavani and Luis Suárez supplied by Gastón Ramírez and now with the young, athletic Juventus midfielder Rodrigo Bentancur to add drive to the usual steel. Veteran defender Martín Cáceres has a calf injury that had restricted him to only one appearance by the end of March following his transfer from Verona after that dreadful year at Southampton and remains the major doubt. World Cup predictor Group B Iran Ashkan Dejagah, a Bundesliga title-winner with Wolfsburg and fondly remembered by Fulham fans who elected him player of the year in 2013-14, returned to England with Nottingham Forest as a free agent in January but suffered a knee injury the following month that will keep him out until the end of April. The 31-year-old midfielder, who played all three group matches in Brazil four years ago, is Carlos Queiroz's only significant injury worry. Captain Masoud Shojaei has returned to the squad after seven months and has so far overcome opposition from the deputy sports minister and another parliamentarian for playing for Panionios against Maccabi Tel Aviv in a Europa League qualifier. A national team life ban for playing against a representative of a state Iran does not recognise had been proposed but Queiroz ignored the calls. Morocco The African Nations champions qualified without conceding a goal and three-quarters of the defence that earned them their enviable record - Nabil Dirar, Mehdi Benatia and Romain Saiss - are all fit and in impressive form. The versatile Real Madrid prodigy, Achraf Hakimi, however, was withdrawn from the squad for the March friendlies when injured on the first day of training and is likely to miss a few weeks while the midfielder Ait Bennasser, who hurt his thigh while playing for Caen against Angers in March, is not expected to be back on contention until the beginning of May at the earliest. Zouhair Feddal, who plays at left-back for Real Betis, ruptured his Achilles in February and, barring a miracle, will miss the World Cup. England's World Cup 2018 squad - ranked Portugal Renato Sanches, who was so sensational at Euro 2016 that Bayern Munich agreed a deal to sign the teenage midfielder that committed them to spending as much as £72m for him, has endured a wretched run of form and fitness ever since. His latest hamstring injury while on loan at Swansea has kept him sidelined since mid January and the Premier League club sent him back to Munich at the end of March for treatment, admitting he might not return. But, to much surprise, he returned to the matchday squad for the visit of Chelsea on April 28 but didn't get on in the 1-0 defeat. Major concerns persist over the durability of the veteran central defenders - Jose Fonte and Bruno Silva, 34 and 36 respectively - who are currently fit but have had lengthy lay-offs in recent months while the 35-year-old Pepe is nursing a broken toe. Spain No significant injury concerns so far for Julen Lopetegui but the form of Alvaro Morata at Chelsea has been a worry and led to him being left out of the squad for the spring friendlies. Diego Costa, in the rudest of health and spirit at Atlético Madrid, should lead the line which may make a romantic recall for Spain's top-scorer, New York City's David Villa, at the age of 36 far more remote than it seemed last autumn. Cesc Fabregas and Bayern Munich's Javi Martínez have been notable omissions from Lopetegui's squads ever since he took over from Vicente del Bosque in 2016 and while neither are resigned to missing out, recalls at this late stage are extremely unlikely. Group C Australia Bert van Marwijk, appointed in January on a seven-month contract, recalled the goalkeeper Brad Jones after four years out of international football in his first squad and the former Liverpool reserve, now with Feyenoord, has a good chance of making it to Russia in place of Adam Federici, the Bournemouth back-up, who has not played for 15 months after suffering back-to-back knee injuries. Matthew Spiranovic, a free agent since his release by Zhejiang Greentown in February, will pay the price for not heeding former manager Ange Postecoglou who repeatedly warned him that playing in the Chinese second division was not adequate preparation for a World Cup place. Melbourne Victory centre-half Rhys Williams, hoping to make his first World Cup after injury ruled him out of South Africa and Brazil, tore his calf on April 29 and looks like making it third time unlucky. Kaiserslautern's Brandon Borrello ruptured his ACL during a training session in the last week of April and has no chance of making it. Denmark Chelsea's Andreas Christensen and Brentford's Henrik Dalsgaard were sent home early from the squads for the spring friendlies, the former because of 'exhaustion' and the latter excused to spend some time with his newborn daughter. Both have been told that they are certainties for Age Hareide's 23.Central defender Andreas Bjelland has been troubled by an achilles injury but has returned to the Brentford squad while Lasse Vibe, who left Griffin Park in February for the Chinese Super League's Changchun Yatai, is running out of time to prove his fitness and sharpness after heel and hamstring injuries blighted the first half of his season. World Cup 2018 stadiums France Laurent Koscielny will miss the tournament after rupturing his achilles tendon in Arsenal's Europa League semi-final, second leg against Atletico Madrid. Benjamin Mendy has been out since September with a cruciate ligament injury but has been training with Manchester City's first-team squad since the beginning of March and should be back before the end of the season. If the left-back makes it he may go straight into the starting XI given Layvin Kurzawa's recent loss of form at PSG. Florian Thauvin, who has gone from zero to hero on his return from Newcastle to Marseille, should overcome a hamstring injury to make it but squad stalwarts Alexandre Lacazette, Moussa Sissoko and Dimitri Payet may all miss out after disappointing domestic seasons. Djibril Sidibe has injured the meniscus in his right knee and will miss the end of Monaco's season but the right-back hopes to be back in time to make Didier Deschamps' XXIII. Peru First-choice goalkeeper Pedro Gallese had knee surgery to correct a meniscus problem last February and though he is behind schedule to return for his Mexican league club Veracruz, remains confident that he will be ready for the friendly against Scotland on May 29. Veteran striker and captain Paolo Guerrero is currently serving a six-month ban after testing positive for cocaine and other banned drugs following Peru's draw with Argentina last October. Peru will bring their famous kit to the World Cup finals for the first time since 1982 Credit: FEDERICO PARRA/AFP/Getty Images His suspension, reduced on appeal, ends on May 3 but his second appeal will be heard by the Court of Arbitration for Sport before then as he continues to maintain he was the victim of contaminated food. Group D Argentina Ramiro Funes Mori's return to Everton's bench on the last day of March after more than a year out with a knee injury is a fillip to Jorge Sampaoli and his creaking defence. Roma winger Diego Perotti should return from a calf strain by the middle of April but Boca Juniors' playmaker Fernando Gago and centre-forward Dario Benedetto have been ruled out by their club who hope to have them back for pre-season training though neither severe knee-injury victim has given up hope of 11th-hour breakthroughs in their recovery regimes. World Cup Russian host cities you've never heard of Croatia Veterans Danijel Subasic, Dejan Lovren, Marcelo Brozovic, Ivan Perisic, Luka Modric, Nikola Kalinic and Mario Mandzukic all withdrew from last month's two-match tour to the United States to conserve their energies but they are fit and certainties for the squad barring any late setbacks. Ante Rebic, the Eintracht Frankfurt winger, and Fiorentina's defensive midfielder Milan Baldelj have missed games in April with a torn calf and rib injuries respectively but are due back before the end of the month and should take their places in Zlatko Dalic's 23. Iceland The medial ligament injury Gylfi Sigurdsson sustained in his right knee when playing for Everton against Brighton at the beginning of March was expected to end his domestic season while keeping a glimmer of hope alive that he would be fit for Russia. Sam Allardyce said he would personally deliver a 'b---------' to the employee who released a statement saying he was out for eight weeks and countered it by suggesting that the playmaker was a quick healer and may be back before May which gives Heimir Hallgrimsson grounds for optimism. Alfreð Finnbogason, the Augsburg centre-forward, who has been out since the end of January with a calf injury, is expected to make his comeback in mid April. Nigeria Wilfred Ndidi will miss the end of Leicester' season with a hamstring damaged during their walloping by Crystal Palace on April 28. His team-mate Kelechi Iheanacho broke his hand while playing for the Super Eagles during their defeat by Serbia last month but returned to bench duty for Leicester after missing only one Premier League game. Henry Onyekuru, the Everton forward who is spending 2017-18 on loan at Anderlecht, underwent knee ligament surgery in December but insisted he would be in contention to make the squad. On April 2 he returned to first-team training and says he will be ready to play and add to his nine league goals in 19 appearances before the month is out. Group E Brazil Neymar's metatarsal injury on Feb 25 threatened to turn into another bout of national self-flagellation and despondency but the initial prognosis that he would be out for 12 weeks still gives him time to recover and subsequent revisions of his estimated absence that have shaved four weeks off his return date should allow him to find some sharpness, too. Philippe Coutinho's ropey form since moving to Barcelona will not discourage Tite, who will use the Anfield friendly against Croatia at the start of June to reacquaint him with his best days alongside familiar faces in familiar surroundings. Filipe Luis, the Atlético left-back and back-up to Marcelo, fractured his fibula in mid-March but is hopeful of returning should Diego Simeone's team qualify for the Europa League final. Tite has never had much time for David Luiz's qualities and though the centre-back, whose knee injury has kept him out of Chelsea's squad since the middle of February, is striving to put himself in contention, his quest will probably be in vain. Costa Rica Joel Campbell, remarkably still an Arsenal player, injured his ankle while playing on loan for Real Betis at the end of October and has not played since. The forward reported that he was fit at the end of February and has returned to full training so seems likely to make the cut for the squad even if he will be woefully lacking match fitness, not that it did Paolo Rossi much harm in 1982 nor Marco van Basten at Euro 88. New York City left-back Ronald Matarrita has a hamstring injury that has hampered his preparations and Portland Timbers' defensive midfielder David Guzman has missed the past fortnight with a sprained knee sustained on international duty. The state of Neymar's health has become a Brazilian obsession Credit: REUTERS/Stephane Mahe Switzerland Vladimir Petkovic expects Udinese's Valon Behrami to recover from his shoulder injury in a couple of weeks and has no other pressing concerns. Eren Derdiyok. Admir Mehmedi and Xherdan Shaqiri all sat out the recent friendlies (a 1-0 victory over Greece and a 6-0 thrashing of Panama) but should make the final squad when it is announced on May 14. Serbia Matija Nastasic damaged knee ligaments on April 12 playing for Schalke and the best prognosis for the centre-half is a six-week recuperation. Mladen Krstajic, a fine defender for Partizan, Werder Bremen, Schalke and the national team but a rookie coach appointed to this, his first job, only last December, has all his core players fit and only Benfica's Ljubomir Fejsa, the defensive midfielder who has won 10 successive league titles across three countries, suffering from recurring but minor, niggling problems. Fejsa has not played for Serbia since 2016 and would be a back-up only to Nemanja Matic and Luka Milivojevic if he makes the squad but would be a contender for tattoo of the tournament for the chest tableau that commemorates his return from serious injury while playing for Partizan and his later triumphs with Olympiakos and Benfica. ...⚽️❗️....done✔️ #f5 #justdone #stillfresh Obrigado Mareeee���� @maretattoo A post shared by Fejsa Ljubomir & Suzana (@fejsa5) on Mar 25, 2018 at 1:42pm PDT Group F Germany Borussia Monchengladbach's Lars Stindl is out with an ankle injury but Manuel Neuer returned to full goalkeeper training on April 5 after six months out having fractured a metatarsal in his left foot for the third time in a year and undergone surgery to insert a plate to protect the bone. The Bayern Munich and Germany captain has manged only three Bundesliga appearances this season yet, although Joachim Löw has benefited from his absence by exploiting it to give Marc-Andre Ter Stegen valuable international experience, the world champions will go to the wire to include Neuer. Jerome Boateng, though, is a serious doubt after injuring his knee during the first leg of Bayern Munich's Champions League semi-final against Real Madrid. Boateng was injured during Bayern Munich's Champions League semi-final against Real Madrid Credit: ODD ANDERSEN/AFP/Getty Images Marco Reus, who missed the 2014 World Cup and Euro 2016 with ankle and groin injuries, made his comeback from cruciate ligament surgery in February after eight months out and Borussia Dortmund have nursed his return, allowing him time off to recover from soreness, over the past few weeks. "With Marco," said Löw, "it's important to us that he is brought to the top level carefully and without further pressure and that he gains in stability." Mario Götze, the scorer of the winning goal at Maracana, was left out of the squad for the spring friendlies after a dip in form while his Dortmund team-mate and World Cup final goal-provider Andre Schürrle, finally free of knee and achilles injuries, has impressed Löw sufficiently to reassure him that he still has a chance but has yet to earn a call-up. Mexico Giovani Dos Santos should be back for LA Galaxy by the end of April after his hamstring injury in early March and will resume his place in Mexico's midfield alongside Porto captain Hector Herrera who travelled with the national team for the spring double header against Iceland and Croatia but was sent back to his club for treatment because of an unspecified muscle injury. Starting central defender Carlos Salcedeo broke his collarbone during the defeat by Croatia and had surgery to have it pinned but is expected to return for Eintracht Frankfurt just before the end of the season. Another key defender, Nestor Araujo who plays for Santos Laguna, was also injured in the same match and has had keyhole surgery to repair meniscus damage. He, too, is expected to make a first-team comeback before the squad deadline of May 14. South Korea Shin Tae-yong's greatest concern last month as he prepares for his first tournament since moving up from U-20 manager to secure qualification centred not on fitness but the fatigue of Son Heung-min after a long season and a gruelling buil-up to it. "For most Europe-based players, they are used to getting in shape in August before the new season starts. I'm really worried that Son's form might go down from May, with his concentration waning and him becoming physically exhausted," he said. Former Middlesbrough striker Lee Dong-gook, a member of the France 98 squad at the age of 18, harbours hopes of a place after a recall last September for the final qualifier against Uzbekistan but he has not been picked since. The sitter he missed against Uruguay at the 2010 World Cup haunted him for years but most supporters seem to have forgiven him and would welcome the selection of the K-League's highest scorer. Sweden It would be unfair for Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who played no part in qualification having retired after Euro 2016, to overshadow the preparations of the squad in making it to Russia but his possible return, despite his controversial link-up with a betting firm that would seem to preclude him being recalled under Fifa regulations, is dominating their build-up. "Just as with the national team, if I want to play, I’ll play," he said. Zlatan Ibrahimovic has not ruled out a comeback Credit: AP Photo/Jae C. Hong “This is not a question for Fifa, it’s a question for me and what I want.” Janne Andersson has no injury worries with a month to go but the inexperience of all his goalkeepers must be a cause of some disquiet. Robin Olsen performed heroically against Italy in the second leg of the play-off but he has only 16 caps and the manager has tried several alternatives in pursuit of an undisputed No1. Group G Belgium Michy Batshuayi, having scored nine goals in 14 games during a terrific loan spell at Dortmund, left the field on a stretcher on April 15 after sustaining an ankle injury during the derby defeat by Schalke that has ended his season but not his World Cup chances even if they are now very slim indeed. Vincent Kompany's return to form and fitness has removed Roberto Martínez's most long-standing doubt though Christian Benteke's travails in front of goal for Crystal Palace had put his chances of a squad place as a back-up to Romelu Lukaku at serious risk until Batshuayi's injury. Nacer Chadli has missed West Brom's doomed 'fight' against relegation since December with hip and thigh injuries but Albion report that he is ready to return on April 21 after an impressive showing in training. Thibaut Courtois has recovered from the hamstring injury that kept him out of the spring friendlies and Chelsea's defeat by Spurs for whom Toby Alderweireld remains on the peripheries, which must be a worry for Martínez. England Liverpool pair Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Joe Gomez miss the tournament through injury but team-mate Nathaniel Clyne is making gradual returns to first-team football and may be a late contender for a squad place. Phil Jones has suffered recurrent hamstring injuries this season and, although he is now fit while Jack Wilshere, who withdrew from the spring squads, remains an outsider as does Ruben Loftus-Cheek who has returned to Palace's side after three months out with an ankle injury and knee pain. Adam Lallana has endured a desperate run with injuries Credit: Action Images via Reuters/Matthew Childs Nathaniel Chalobah joined the England squad in March to continue his rehabilitation from a fractured knee-cap but is unlikely to play for Watford before the season's end while Daniel Sturridge was out for two months with a hamstring injury that has turned his loan move to West Bromwich into an exorbitant farce. Adam Lallana has gone to South Africa for rehab therapy on his injured hamstring and Gareth Southgate is understood to be willing to give him until May 13 to prove he can make it but that has to be a serious doubt after a couple of injury-wrecked seasons. Panama The World Cup finals debutants have no injuries to report and Hernán Darío Gómez has a full-strength squad of relatively unknown but remarkably experienced players - the 24 men picked for the spring friendlies averaged 59 caps each - ready for Russia. Tunisia Tunisia have suffered the worst blow of all 32 teams to date, losing their playmaker Youssef Msakni, who suffered a cruciate knee ligament injury on April 7 that will keep him out for at least six months. The attacking midfielder, who has 49 caps, tore an anterior ligament playing for his Qatar Stars League club, Al-Duhail, against Al-Sailiya. Nabil Maloul, Tunisia's manager, was asked in March what Msakni's absence would mean when the player could not feature in the spring friendlies because of a minor meniscus problem that required 10 days' rest, he said it would be like Argentina going to Russia without Lionel Messi. Group H Colombia Juan Cuadrado gave Jose Pekerman a scare by injuring his groin back in January and the initial prognosis, that he would be out for at least three months after surgery, possibly six, was discouraging. But the winger made his return for Juventus ahead of schedule last month while Sampdoria's Duvan Zapata, who missed their match with Cagliari on April 28, should also make it back before the end of the season. Japan Turmoil at management level - Akira Nishino replaced Vahid Halilhodzic at the beginning of April - contrasts with relative serenity over options for selection. Second-choice keeper, Masaaki Higashiguchi, fractured his cheekbone on April 21 but is likely to make the World Cup 23 even if he has to play in a face mask for precautionary reasons. Marseille defender Hiroki Sakai was ruled out for three weeks in April with a medial collateral ligament strain in his left knee and misses both legs of their Europa League semifinal against Red Bull Salzburg but is confident of recovering in time to participate in Russia. World Cup 2018 venues Poland Veteran midfielder, the live blogger's friend Jakub Blaszczykowski, made his first start for Hamburg since February on April 28 and should be fit to make a squad that has no major current concerns about its key components. Artur Boruc, who had 60 caps, announced his international retirement last year bur had long since taken the role of third banana behind Lukasz Fabianski and Wojciech Szczesny. Senegal Monaco's fiery forward Keita Balde has been out since April 7 with a hamstring injury but should be back for the St Etienne game on May 12.The principal worry for Aliou Cisse concered his centre-back and vice-captain Kara Mbodji, who has not played since before Christmas following knee surgery for an injury he picked up playing for Anderlecht. After thrice-daily rehab sessions, Kara says he hopes to be involved for their final league game against Club Brugge on May 6.
Each of the 31 qualifiers for the 2018 World Cup plus the hosts will name their provisional 35 man squads for the tournament by the deadline on May 14, exactly a month before the opening game between Russia and Saudi Arabia on June 14 at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow. They will then have until June 4 to cull the numbers down to 23. Those who do not make the cut are likely to be placed on standby in case they are needed to replace any injured players. Replacements can be made at any point until 24 hours before each team's first World Cup game. Here is what we know so far about who is available and who is struggling to make it. Group A Egypt No significant injury worries for Héctor Cúper, not even over the 45-year-old goalkeeper and captain Essam El-Hadary who is firmly on course to become the oldest player in finals history. There are wider concerns over the form of West Brom's shell-shocked Ahmed Hegazi but it is countered by Mohamed Salah's during his outstanding debut season at Liverpool. Russia Stanislav Cherchisov has been tasked with taking the hosts to the last four at least, which will be difficult given their results in a very taxing build-up programme - defeated by Portugal, Mexico, Argentina, Brazil and France. Aleksandr Kokorin, the 27-year-old Zenit winger who scored Russia's goal in the draw with Algeria during the 2014 tournament, is all but certain to miss the World Cup having damaged his ACL in mid March. Igor Denisov, the Lokomotiv defensive midfielder and Russia captain under Fabio Capello, fell out with Cherchisov years ago at Dynamo Moscow and the manager has refused to pick him while arguments between Cherchisov and the 6ft 5in striker Artem Dzyuba threaten his involvement. CSKA twins Aleksei and Vasily Berezutski retired after Euro 2016 and have refused the manager's entreaties to return to the squad at the age of 35 following the serious knee injuries suffered by Viktor Vasin and Georgi Dzhikiya. Saudi Arabia The only team at the tournament ranked lower than the hosts, it's a fortuitous coincidence for Russia that they were drawn out to play the curtain-raiser. A resounding defeat by Belgium in March was forgivable but their 4-1 loss inIraq the month before has provoked understandable disquiet. Decisions to send the midfielders Yahya Al-Shehri, Salem Al-Dawsari and Fahad Al-Muwallad on loan to Leganes, Villarreal and Levante respectively in January has backfired. None of the national team stalwarts had played a minute of Liga football by the end of March 2018. Uruguay Oscar Tabárez's team looks as powerful as ever, built around the relentless, uncompromising defensive work of Diego Godín, the attacking prowess of Edinson Cavani and Luis Suárez supplied by Gastón Ramírez and now with the young, athletic Juventus midfielder Rodrigo Bentancur to add drive to the usual steel. Veteran defender Martín Cáceres has a calf injury that had restricted him to only one appearance by the end of March following his transfer from Verona after that dreadful year at Southampton and remains the major doubt. World Cup predictor Group B Iran Ashkan Dejagah, a Bundesliga title-winner with Wolfsburg and fondly remembered by Fulham fans who elected him player of the year in 2013-14, returned to England with Nottingham Forest as a free agent in January but suffered a knee injury the following month that will keep him out until the end of April. The 31-year-old midfielder, who played all three group matches in Brazil four years ago, is Carlos Queiroz's only significant injury worry. Captain Masoud Shojaei has returned to the squad after seven months and has so far overcome opposition from the deputy sports minister and another parliamentarian for playing for Panionios against Maccabi Tel Aviv in a Europa League qualifier. A national team life ban for playing against a representative of a state Iran does not recognise had been proposed but Queiroz ignored the calls. Morocco The African Nations champions qualified without conceding a goal and three-quarters of the defence that earned them their enviable record - Nabil Dirar, Mehdi Benatia and Romain Saiss - are all fit and in impressive form. The versatile Real Madrid prodigy, Achraf Hakimi, however, was withdrawn from the squad for the March friendlies when injured on the first day of training and is likely to miss a few weeks while the midfielder Ait Bennasser, who hurt his thigh while playing for Caen against Angers in March, is not expected to be back on contention until the beginning of May at the earliest. Zouhair Feddal, who plays at left-back for Real Betis, ruptured his Achilles in February and, barring a miracle, will miss the World Cup. England's World Cup 2018 squad - ranked Portugal Renato Sanches, who was so sensational at Euro 2016 that Bayern Munich agreed a deal to sign the teenage midfielder that committed them to spending as much as £72m for him, has endured a wretched run of form and fitness ever since. His latest hamstring injury while on loan at Swansea has kept him sidelined since mid January and the Premier League club sent him back to Munich at the end of March for treatment, admitting he might not return. But, to much surprise, he returned to the matchday squad for the visit of Chelsea on April 28 but didn't get on in the 1-0 defeat. Major concerns persist over the durability of the veteran central defenders - Jose Fonte and Bruno Silva, 34 and 36 respectively - who are currently fit but have had lengthy lay-offs in recent months while the 35-year-old Pepe is nursing a broken toe. Spain No significant injury concerns so far for Julen Lopetegui but the form of Alvaro Morata at Chelsea has been a worry and led to him being left out of the squad for the spring friendlies. Diego Costa, in the rudest of health and spirit at Atlético Madrid, should lead the line which may make a romantic recall for Spain's top-scorer, New York City's David Villa, at the age of 36 far more remote than it seemed last autumn. Cesc Fabregas and Bayern Munich's Javi Martínez have been notable omissions from Lopetegui's squads ever since he took over from Vicente del Bosque in 2016 and while neither are resigned to missing out, recalls at this late stage are extremely unlikely. Group C Australia Bert van Marwijk, appointed in January on a seven-month contract, recalled the goalkeeper Brad Jones after four years out of international football in his first squad and the former Liverpool reserve, now with Feyenoord, has a good chance of making it to Russia in place of Adam Federici, the Bournemouth back-up, who has not played for 15 months after suffering back-to-back knee injuries. Matthew Spiranovic, a free agent since his release by Zhejiang Greentown in February, will pay the price for not heeding former manager Ange Postecoglou who repeatedly warned him that playing in the Chinese second division was not adequate preparation for a World Cup place. Melbourne Victory centre-half Rhys Williams, hoping to make his first World Cup after injury ruled him out of South Africa and Brazil, tore his calf on April 29 and looks like making it third time unlucky. Kaiserslautern's Brandon Borrello ruptured his ACL during a training session in the last week of April and has no chance of making it. Denmark Chelsea's Andreas Christensen and Brentford's Henrik Dalsgaard were sent home early from the squads for the spring friendlies, the former because of 'exhaustion' and the latter excused to spend some time with his newborn daughter. Both have been told that they are certainties for Age Hareide's 23.Central defender Andreas Bjelland has been troubled by an achilles injury but has returned to the Brentford squad while Lasse Vibe, who left Griffin Park in February for the Chinese Super League's Changchun Yatai, is running out of time to prove his fitness and sharpness after heel and hamstring injuries blighted the first half of his season. World Cup 2018 stadiums France Laurent Koscielny will miss the tournament after rupturing his achilles tendon in Arsenal's Europa League semi-final, second leg against Atletico Madrid. Benjamin Mendy has been out since September with a cruciate ligament injury but has been training with Manchester City's first-team squad since the beginning of March and should be back before the end of the season. If the left-back makes it he may go straight into the starting XI given Layvin Kurzawa's recent loss of form at PSG. Florian Thauvin, who has gone from zero to hero on his return from Newcastle to Marseille, should overcome a hamstring injury to make it but squad stalwarts Alexandre Lacazette, Moussa Sissoko and Dimitri Payet may all miss out after disappointing domestic seasons. Djibril Sidibe has injured the meniscus in his right knee and will miss the end of Monaco's season but the right-back hopes to be back in time to make Didier Deschamps' XXIII. Peru First-choice goalkeeper Pedro Gallese had knee surgery to correct a meniscus problem last February and though he is behind schedule to return for his Mexican league club Veracruz, remains confident that he will be ready for the friendly against Scotland on May 29. Veteran striker and captain Paolo Guerrero is currently serving a six-month ban after testing positive for cocaine and other banned drugs following Peru's draw with Argentina last October. Peru will bring their famous kit to the World Cup finals for the first time since 1982 Credit: FEDERICO PARRA/AFP/Getty Images His suspension, reduced on appeal, ends on May 3 but his second appeal will be heard by the Court of Arbitration for Sport before then as he continues to maintain he was the victim of contaminated food. Group D Argentina Ramiro Funes Mori's return to Everton's bench on the last day of March after more than a year out with a knee injury is a fillip to Jorge Sampaoli and his creaking defence. Roma winger Diego Perotti should return from a calf strain by the middle of April but Boca Juniors' playmaker Fernando Gago and centre-forward Dario Benedetto have been ruled out by their club who hope to have them back for pre-season training though neither severe knee-injury victim has given up hope of 11th-hour breakthroughs in their recovery regimes. World Cup Russian host cities you've never heard of Croatia Veterans Danijel Subasic, Dejan Lovren, Marcelo Brozovic, Ivan Perisic, Luka Modric, Nikola Kalinic and Mario Mandzukic all withdrew from last month's two-match tour to the United States to conserve their energies but they are fit and certainties for the squad barring any late setbacks. Ante Rebic, the Eintracht Frankfurt winger, and Fiorentina's defensive midfielder Milan Baldelj have missed games in April with a torn calf and rib injuries respectively but are due back before the end of the month and should take their places in Zlatko Dalic's 23. Iceland The medial ligament injury Gylfi Sigurdsson sustained in his right knee when playing for Everton against Brighton at the beginning of March was expected to end his domestic season while keeping a glimmer of hope alive that he would be fit for Russia. Sam Allardyce said he would personally deliver a 'b---------' to the employee who released a statement saying he was out for eight weeks and countered it by suggesting that the playmaker was a quick healer and may be back before May which gives Heimir Hallgrimsson grounds for optimism. Alfreð Finnbogason, the Augsburg centre-forward, who has been out since the end of January with a calf injury, is expected to make his comeback in mid April. Nigeria Wilfred Ndidi will miss the end of Leicester' season with a hamstring damaged during their walloping by Crystal Palace on April 28. His team-mate Kelechi Iheanacho broke his hand while playing for the Super Eagles during their defeat by Serbia last month but returned to bench duty for Leicester after missing only one Premier League game. Henry Onyekuru, the Everton forward who is spending 2017-18 on loan at Anderlecht, underwent knee ligament surgery in December but insisted he would be in contention to make the squad. On April 2 he returned to first-team training and says he will be ready to play and add to his nine league goals in 19 appearances before the month is out. Group E Brazil Neymar's metatarsal injury on Feb 25 threatened to turn into another bout of national self-flagellation and despondency but the initial prognosis that he would be out for 12 weeks still gives him time to recover and subsequent revisions of his estimated absence that have shaved four weeks off his return date should allow him to find some sharpness, too. Philippe Coutinho's ropey form since moving to Barcelona will not discourage Tite, who will use the Anfield friendly against Croatia at the start of June to reacquaint him with his best days alongside familiar faces in familiar surroundings. Filipe Luis, the Atlético left-back and back-up to Marcelo, fractured his fibula in mid-March but is hopeful of returning should Diego Simeone's team qualify for the Europa League final. Tite has never had much time for David Luiz's qualities and though the centre-back, whose knee injury has kept him out of Chelsea's squad since the middle of February, is striving to put himself in contention, his quest will probably be in vain. Costa Rica Joel Campbell, remarkably still an Arsenal player, injured his ankle while playing on loan for Real Betis at the end of October and has not played since. The forward reported that he was fit at the end of February and has returned to full training so seems likely to make the cut for the squad even if he will be woefully lacking match fitness, not that it did Paolo Rossi much harm in 1982 nor Marco van Basten at Euro 88. New York City left-back Ronald Matarrita has a hamstring injury that has hampered his preparations and Portland Timbers' defensive midfielder David Guzman has missed the past fortnight with a sprained knee sustained on international duty. The state of Neymar's health has become a Brazilian obsession Credit: REUTERS/Stephane Mahe Switzerland Vladimir Petkovic expects Udinese's Valon Behrami to recover from his shoulder injury in a couple of weeks and has no other pressing concerns. Eren Derdiyok. Admir Mehmedi and Xherdan Shaqiri all sat out the recent friendlies (a 1-0 victory over Greece and a 6-0 thrashing of Panama) but should make the final squad when it is announced on May 14. Serbia Matija Nastasic damaged knee ligaments on April 12 playing for Schalke and the best prognosis for the centre-half is a six-week recuperation. Mladen Krstajic, a fine defender for Partizan, Werder Bremen, Schalke and the national team but a rookie coach appointed to this, his first job, only last December, has all his core players fit and only Benfica's Ljubomir Fejsa, the defensive midfielder who has won 10 successive league titles across three countries, suffering from recurring but minor, niggling problems. Fejsa has not played for Serbia since 2016 and would be a back-up only to Nemanja Matic and Luka Milivojevic if he makes the squad but would be a contender for tattoo of the tournament for the chest tableau that commemorates his return from serious injury while playing for Partizan and his later triumphs with Olympiakos and Benfica. ...⚽️❗️....done✔️ #f5 #justdone #stillfresh Obrigado Mareeee���� @maretattoo A post shared by Fejsa Ljubomir & Suzana (@fejsa5) on Mar 25, 2018 at 1:42pm PDT Group F Germany Borussia Monchengladbach's Lars Stindl is out with an ankle injury but Manuel Neuer returned to full goalkeeper training on April 5 after six months out having fractured a metatarsal in his left foot for the third time in a year and undergone surgery to insert a plate to protect the bone. The Bayern Munich and Germany captain has manged only three Bundesliga appearances this season yet, although Joachim Löw has benefited from his absence by exploiting it to give Marc-Andre Ter Stegen valuable international experience, the world champions will go to the wire to include Neuer. Jerome Boateng, though, is a serious doubt after injuring his knee during the first leg of Bayern Munich's Champions League semi-final against Real Madrid. Boateng was injured during Bayern Munich's Champions League semi-final against Real Madrid Credit: ODD ANDERSEN/AFP/Getty Images Marco Reus, who missed the 2014 World Cup and Euro 2016 with ankle and groin injuries, made his comeback from cruciate ligament surgery in February after eight months out and Borussia Dortmund have nursed his return, allowing him time off to recover from soreness, over the past few weeks. "With Marco," said Löw, "it's important to us that he is brought to the top level carefully and without further pressure and that he gains in stability." Mario Götze, the scorer of the winning goal at Maracana, was left out of the squad for the spring friendlies after a dip in form while his Dortmund team-mate and World Cup final goal-provider Andre Schürrle, finally free of knee and achilles injuries, has impressed Löw sufficiently to reassure him that he still has a chance but has yet to earn a call-up. Mexico Giovani Dos Santos should be back for LA Galaxy by the end of April after his hamstring injury in early March and will resume his place in Mexico's midfield alongside Porto captain Hector Herrera who travelled with the national team for the spring double header against Iceland and Croatia but was sent back to his club for treatment because of an unspecified muscle injury. Starting central defender Carlos Salcedeo broke his collarbone during the defeat by Croatia and had surgery to have it pinned but is expected to return for Eintracht Frankfurt just before the end of the season. Another key defender, Nestor Araujo who plays for Santos Laguna, was also injured in the same match and has had keyhole surgery to repair meniscus damage. He, too, is expected to make a first-team comeback before the squad deadline of May 14. South Korea Shin Tae-yong's greatest concern last month as he prepares for his first tournament since moving up from U-20 manager to secure qualification centred not on fitness but the fatigue of Son Heung-min after a long season and a gruelling buil-up to it. "For most Europe-based players, they are used to getting in shape in August before the new season starts. I'm really worried that Son's form might go down from May, with his concentration waning and him becoming physically exhausted," he said. Former Middlesbrough striker Lee Dong-gook, a member of the France 98 squad at the age of 18, harbours hopes of a place after a recall last September for the final qualifier against Uzbekistan but he has not been picked since. The sitter he missed against Uruguay at the 2010 World Cup haunted him for years but most supporters seem to have forgiven him and would welcome the selection of the K-League's highest scorer. Sweden It would be unfair for Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who played no part in qualification having retired after Euro 2016, to overshadow the preparations of the squad in making it to Russia but his possible return, despite his controversial link-up with a betting firm that would seem to preclude him being recalled under Fifa regulations, is dominating their build-up. "Just as with the national team, if I want to play, I’ll play," he said. Zlatan Ibrahimovic has not ruled out a comeback Credit: AP Photo/Jae C. Hong “This is not a question for Fifa, it’s a question for me and what I want.” Janne Andersson has no injury worries with a month to go but the inexperience of all his goalkeepers must be a cause of some disquiet. Robin Olsen performed heroically against Italy in the second leg of the play-off but he has only 16 caps and the manager has tried several alternatives in pursuit of an undisputed No1. Group G Belgium Michy Batshuayi, having scored nine goals in 14 games during a terrific loan spell at Dortmund, left the field on a stretcher on April 15 after sustaining an ankle injury during the derby defeat by Schalke that has ended his season but not his World Cup chances even if they are now very slim indeed. Vincent Kompany's return to form and fitness has removed Roberto Martínez's most long-standing doubt though Christian Benteke's travails in front of goal for Crystal Palace had put his chances of a squad place as a back-up to Romelu Lukaku at serious risk until Batshuayi's injury. Nacer Chadli has missed West Brom's doomed 'fight' against relegation since December with hip and thigh injuries but Albion report that he is ready to return on April 21 after an impressive showing in training. Thibaut Courtois has recovered from the hamstring injury that kept him out of the spring friendlies and Chelsea's defeat by Spurs for whom Toby Alderweireld remains on the peripheries, which must be a worry for Martínez. England Liverpool pair Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Joe Gomez miss the tournament through injury but team-mate Nathaniel Clyne is making gradual returns to first-team football and may be a late contender for a squad place. Phil Jones has suffered recurrent hamstring injuries this season and, although he is now fit while Jack Wilshere, who withdrew from the spring squads, remains an outsider as does Ruben Loftus-Cheek who has returned to Palace's side after three months out with an ankle injury and knee pain. Adam Lallana has endured a desperate run with injuries Credit: Action Images via Reuters/Matthew Childs Nathaniel Chalobah joined the England squad in March to continue his rehabilitation from a fractured knee-cap but is unlikely to play for Watford before the season's end while Daniel Sturridge was out for two months with a hamstring injury that has turned his loan move to West Bromwich into an exorbitant farce. Adam Lallana has gone to South Africa for rehab therapy on his injured hamstring and Gareth Southgate is understood to be willing to give him until May 13 to prove he can make it but that has to be a serious doubt after a couple of injury-wrecked seasons. Panama The World Cup finals debutants have no injuries to report and Hernán Darío Gómez has a full-strength squad of relatively unknown but remarkably experienced players - the 24 men picked for the spring friendlies averaged 59 caps each - ready for Russia. Tunisia Tunisia have suffered the worst blow of all 32 teams to date, losing their playmaker Youssef Msakni, who suffered a cruciate knee ligament injury on April 7 that will keep him out for at least six months. The attacking midfielder, who has 49 caps, tore an anterior ligament playing for his Qatar Stars League club, Al-Duhail, against Al-Sailiya. Nabil Maloul, Tunisia's manager, was asked in March what Msakni's absence would mean when the player could not feature in the spring friendlies because of a minor meniscus problem that required 10 days' rest, he said it would be like Argentina going to Russia without Lionel Messi. Group H Colombia Juan Cuadrado gave Jose Pekerman a scare by injuring his groin back in January and the initial prognosis, that he would be out for at least three months after surgery, possibly six, was discouraging. But the winger made his return for Juventus ahead of schedule last month while Sampdoria's Duvan Zapata, who missed their match with Cagliari on April 28, should also make it back before the end of the season. Japan Turmoil at management level - Akira Nishino replaced Vahid Halilhodzic at the beginning of April - contrasts with relative serenity over options for selection. Second-choice keeper, Masaaki Higashiguchi, fractured his cheekbone on April 21 but is likely to make the World Cup 23 even if he has to play in a face mask for precautionary reasons. Marseille defender Hiroki Sakai was ruled out for three weeks in April with a medial collateral ligament strain in his left knee and misses both legs of their Europa League semifinal against Red Bull Salzburg but is confident of recovering in time to participate in Russia. World Cup 2018 venues Poland Veteran midfielder, the live blogger's friend Jakub Blaszczykowski, made his first start for Hamburg since February on April 28 and should be fit to make a squad that has no major current concerns about its key components. Artur Boruc, who had 60 caps, announced his international retirement last year bur had long since taken the role of third banana behind Lukasz Fabianski and Wojciech Szczesny. Senegal Monaco's fiery forward Keita Balde has been out since April 7 with a hamstring injury but should be back for the St Etienne game on May 12.The principal worry for Aliou Cisse concered his centre-back and vice-captain Kara Mbodji, who has not played since before Christmas following knee surgery for an injury he picked up playing for Anderlecht. After thrice-daily rehab sessions, Kara says he hopes to be involved for their final league game against Club Brugge on May 6.
World Cup 2018 squad guide: Latest group news and updates
Each of the 31 qualifiers for the 2018 World Cup plus the hosts will name their provisional 35 man squads for the tournament by the deadline on May 14, exactly a month before the opening game between Russia and Saudi Arabia on June 14 at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow. They will then have until June 4 to cull the numbers down to 23. Those who do not make the cut are likely to be placed on standby in case they are needed to replace any injured players. Replacements can be made at any point until 24 hours before each team's first World Cup game. Here is what we know so far about who is available and who is struggling to make it. Group A Egypt No significant injury worries for Héctor Cúper, not even over the 45-year-old goalkeeper and captain Essam El-Hadary who is firmly on course to become the oldest player in finals history. There are wider concerns over the form of West Brom's shell-shocked Ahmed Hegazi but it is countered by Mohamed Salah's during his outstanding debut season at Liverpool. Russia Stanislav Cherchisov has been tasked with taking the hosts to the last four at least, which will be difficult given their results in a very taxing build-up programme - defeated by Portugal, Mexico, Argentina, Brazil and France. Aleksandr Kokorin, the 27-year-old Zenit winger who scored Russia's goal in the draw with Algeria during the 2014 tournament, is all but certain to miss the World Cup having damaged his ACL in mid March. Igor Denisov, the Lokomotiv defensive midfielder and Russia captain under Fabio Capello, fell out with Cherchisov years ago at Dynamo Moscow and the manager has refused to pick him while arguments between Cherchisov and the 6ft 5in striker Artem Dzyuba threaten his involvement. CSKA twins Aleksei and Vasily Berezutski retired after Euro 2016 and have refused the manager's entreaties to return to the squad at the age of 35 following the serious knee injuries suffered by Viktor Vasin and Georgi Dzhikiya. Saudi Arabia The only team at the tournament ranked lower than the hosts, it's a fortuitous coincidence for Russia that they were drawn out to play the curtain-raiser. A resounding defeat by Belgium in March was forgivable but their 4-1 loss inIraq the month before has provoked understandable disquiet. Decisions to send the midfielders Yahya Al-Shehri, Salem Al-Dawsari and Fahad Al-Muwallad on loan to Leganes, Villarreal and Levante respectively in January has backfired. None of the national team stalwarts had played a minute of Liga football by the end of March 2018. Uruguay Oscar Tabárez's team looks as powerful as ever, built around the relentless, uncompromising defensive work of Diego Godín, the attacking prowess of Edinson Cavani and Luis Suárez supplied by Gastón Ramírez and now with the young, athletic Juventus midfielder Rodrigo Bentancur to add drive to the usual steel. Veteran defender Martín Cáceres has a calf injury that had restricted him to only one appearance by the end of March following his transfer from Verona after that dreadful year at Southampton and remains the major doubt. World Cup predictor Group B Iran Ashkan Dejagah, a Bundesliga title-winner with Wolfsburg and fondly remembered by Fulham fans who elected him player of the year in 2013-14, returned to England with Nottingham Forest as a free agent in January but suffered a knee injury the following month that will keep him out until the end of April. The 31-year-old midfielder, who played all three group matches in Brazil four years ago, is Carlos Queiroz's only significant injury worry. Captain Masoud Shojaei has returned to the squad after seven months and has so far overcome opposition from the deputy sports minister and another parliamentarian for playing for Panionios against Maccabi Tel Aviv in a Europa League qualifier. A national team life ban for playing against a representative of a state Iran does not recognise had been proposed but Queiroz ignored the calls. Morocco The African Nations champions qualified without conceding a goal and three-quarters of the defence that earned them their enviable record - Nabil Dirar, Mehdi Benatia and Romain Saiss - are all fit and in impressive form. The versatile Real Madrid prodigy, Achraf Hakimi, however, was withdrawn from the squad for the March friendlies when injured on the first day of training and is likely to miss a few weeks while the midfielder Ait Bennasser, who hurt his thigh while playing for Caen against Angers in March, is not expected to be back on contention until the beginning of May at the earliest. Zouhair Feddal, who plays at left-back for Real Betis, ruptured his Achilles in February and, barring a miracle, will miss the World Cup. England's World Cup 2018 squad - ranked Portugal Renato Sanches, who was so sensational at Euro 2016 that Bayern Munich agreed a deal to sign the teenage midfielder that committed them to spending as much as £72m for him, has endured a wretched run of form and fitness ever since. His latest hamstring injury while on loan at Swansea has kept him sidelined since mid January and the Premier League club sent him back to Munich at the end of March for treatment, admitting he might not return. But, to much surprise, he returned to the matchday squad for the visit of Chelsea on April 28 but didn't get on in the 1-0 defeat. Major concerns persist over the durability of the veteran central defenders - Jose Fonte and Bruno Silva, 34 and 36 respectively - who are currently fit but have had lengthy lay-offs in recent months while the 35-year-old Pepe is nursing a broken toe. Spain No significant injury concerns so far for Julen Lopetegui but the form of Alvaro Morata at Chelsea has been a worry and led to him being left out of the squad for the spring friendlies. Diego Costa, in the rudest of health and spirit at Atlético Madrid, should lead the line which may make a romantic recall for Spain's top-scorer, New York City's David Villa, at the age of 36 far more remote than it seemed last autumn. Cesc Fabregas and Bayern Munich's Javi Martínez have been notable omissions from Lopetegui's squads ever since he took over from Vicente del Bosque in 2016 and while neither are resigned to missing out, recalls at this late stage are extremely unlikely. Group C Australia Bert van Marwijk, appointed in January on a seven-month contract, recalled the goalkeeper Brad Jones after four years out of international football in his first squad and the former Liverpool reserve, now with Feyenoord, has a good chance of making it to Russia in place of Adam Federici, the Bournemouth back-up, who has not played for 15 months after suffering back-to-back knee injuries. Matthew Spiranovic, a free agent since his release by Zhejiang Greentown in February, will pay the price for not heeding former manager Ange Postecoglou who repeatedly warned him that playing in the Chinese second division was not adequate preparation for a World Cup place. Melbourne Victory centre-half Rhys Williams, hoping to make his first World Cup after injury ruled him out of South Africa and Brazil, tore his calf on April 29 and looks like making it third time unlucky. Kaiserslautern's Brandon Borrello ruptured his ACL during a training session in the last week of April and has no chance of making it. Denmark Chelsea's Andreas Christensen and Brentford's Henrik Dalsgaard were sent home early from the squads for the spring friendlies, the former because of 'exhaustion' and the latter excused to spend some time with his newborn daughter. Both have been told that they are certainties for Age Hareide's 23.Central defender Andreas Bjelland has been troubled by an achilles injury but has returned to the Brentford squad while Lasse Vibe, who left Griffin Park in February for the Chinese Super League's Changchun Yatai, is running out of time to prove his fitness and sharpness after heel and hamstring injuries blighted the first half of his season. World Cup 2018 stadiums France Laurent Koscielny will miss the tournament after rupturing his achilles tendon in Arsenal's Europa League semi-final, second leg against Atletico Madrid. Benjamin Mendy has been out since September with a cruciate ligament injury but has been training with Manchester City's first-team squad since the beginning of March and should be back before the end of the season. If the left-back makes it he may go straight into the starting XI given Layvin Kurzawa's recent loss of form at PSG. Florian Thauvin, who has gone from zero to hero on his return from Newcastle to Marseille, should overcome a hamstring injury to make it but squad stalwarts Alexandre Lacazette, Moussa Sissoko and Dimitri Payet may all miss out after disappointing domestic seasons. Djibril Sidibe has injured the meniscus in his right knee and will miss the end of Monaco's season but the right-back hopes to be back in time to make Didier Deschamps' XXIII. Peru First-choice goalkeeper Pedro Gallese had knee surgery to correct a meniscus problem last February and though he is behind schedule to return for his Mexican league club Veracruz, remains confident that he will be ready for the friendly against Scotland on May 29. Veteran striker and captain Paolo Guerrero is currently serving a six-month ban after testing positive for cocaine and other banned drugs following Peru's draw with Argentina last October. Peru will bring their famous kit to the World Cup finals for the first time since 1982 Credit: FEDERICO PARRA/AFP/Getty Images His suspension, reduced on appeal, ends on May 3 but his second appeal will be heard by the Court of Arbitration for Sport before then as he continues to maintain he was the victim of contaminated food. Group D Argentina Ramiro Funes Mori's return to Everton's bench on the last day of March after more than a year out with a knee injury is a fillip to Jorge Sampaoli and his creaking defence. Roma winger Diego Perotti should return from a calf strain by the middle of April but Boca Juniors' playmaker Fernando Gago and centre-forward Dario Benedetto have been ruled out by their club who hope to have them back for pre-season training though neither severe knee-injury victim has given up hope of 11th-hour breakthroughs in their recovery regimes. World Cup Russian host cities you've never heard of Croatia Veterans Danijel Subasic, Dejan Lovren, Marcelo Brozovic, Ivan Perisic, Luka Modric, Nikola Kalinic and Mario Mandzukic all withdrew from last month's two-match tour to the United States to conserve their energies but they are fit and certainties for the squad barring any late setbacks. Ante Rebic, the Eintracht Frankfurt winger, and Fiorentina's defensive midfielder Milan Baldelj have missed games in April with a torn calf and rib injuries respectively but are due back before the end of the month and should take their places in Zlatko Dalic's 23. Iceland The medial ligament injury Gylfi Sigurdsson sustained in his right knee when playing for Everton against Brighton at the beginning of March was expected to end his domestic season while keeping a glimmer of hope alive that he would be fit for Russia. Sam Allardyce said he would personally deliver a 'b---------' to the employee who released a statement saying he was out for eight weeks and countered it by suggesting that the playmaker was a quick healer and may be back before May which gives Heimir Hallgrimsson grounds for optimism. Alfreð Finnbogason, the Augsburg centre-forward, who has been out since the end of January with a calf injury, is expected to make his comeback in mid April. Nigeria Wilfred Ndidi will miss the end of Leicester' season with a hamstring damaged during their walloping by Crystal Palace on April 28. His team-mate Kelechi Iheanacho broke his hand while playing for the Super Eagles during their defeat by Serbia last month but returned to bench duty for Leicester after missing only one Premier League game. Henry Onyekuru, the Everton forward who is spending 2017-18 on loan at Anderlecht, underwent knee ligament surgery in December but insisted he would be in contention to make the squad. On April 2 he returned to first-team training and says he will be ready to play and add to his nine league goals in 19 appearances before the month is out. Group E Brazil Neymar's metatarsal injury on Feb 25 threatened to turn into another bout of national self-flagellation and despondency but the initial prognosis that he would be out for 12 weeks still gives him time to recover and subsequent revisions of his estimated absence that have shaved four weeks off his return date should allow him to find some sharpness, too. Philippe Coutinho's ropey form since moving to Barcelona will not discourage Tite, who will use the Anfield friendly against Croatia at the start of June to reacquaint him with his best days alongside familiar faces in familiar surroundings. Filipe Luis, the Atlético left-back and back-up to Marcelo, fractured his fibula in mid-March but is hopeful of returning should Diego Simeone's team qualify for the Europa League final. Tite has never had much time for David Luiz's qualities and though the centre-back, whose knee injury has kept him out of Chelsea's squad since the middle of February, is striving to put himself in contention, his quest will probably be in vain. Costa Rica Joel Campbell, remarkably still an Arsenal player, injured his ankle while playing on loan for Real Betis at the end of October and has not played since. The forward reported that he was fit at the end of February and has returned to full training so seems likely to make the cut for the squad even if he will be woefully lacking match fitness, not that it did Paolo Rossi much harm in 1982 nor Marco van Basten at Euro 88. New York City left-back Ronald Matarrita has a hamstring injury that has hampered his preparations and Portland Timbers' defensive midfielder David Guzman has missed the past fortnight with a sprained knee sustained on international duty. The state of Neymar's health has become a Brazilian obsession Credit: REUTERS/Stephane Mahe Switzerland Vladimir Petkovic expects Udinese's Valon Behrami to recover from his shoulder injury in a couple of weeks and has no other pressing concerns. Eren Derdiyok. Admir Mehmedi and Xherdan Shaqiri all sat out the recent friendlies (a 1-0 victory over Greece and a 6-0 thrashing of Panama) but should make the final squad when it is announced on May 14. Serbia Matija Nastasic damaged knee ligaments on April 12 playing for Schalke and the best prognosis for the centre-half is a six-week recuperation. Mladen Krstajic, a fine defender for Partizan, Werder Bremen, Schalke and the national team but a rookie coach appointed to this, his first job, only last December, has all his core players fit and only Benfica's Ljubomir Fejsa, the defensive midfielder who has won 10 successive league titles across three countries, suffering from recurring but minor, niggling problems. Fejsa has not played for Serbia since 2016 and would be a back-up only to Nemanja Matic and Luka Milivojevic if he makes the squad but would be a contender for tattoo of the tournament for the chest tableau that commemorates his return from serious injury while playing for Partizan and his later triumphs with Olympiakos and Benfica. ...⚽️❗️....done✔️ #f5 #justdone #stillfresh Obrigado Mareeee���� @maretattoo A post shared by Fejsa Ljubomir & Suzana (@fejsa5) on Mar 25, 2018 at 1:42pm PDT Group F Germany Borussia Monchengladbach's Lars Stindl is out with an ankle injury but Manuel Neuer returned to full goalkeeper training on April 5 after six months out having fractured a metatarsal in his left foot for the third time in a year and undergone surgery to insert a plate to protect the bone. The Bayern Munich and Germany captain has manged only three Bundesliga appearances this season yet, although Joachim Löw has benefited from his absence by exploiting it to give Marc-Andre Ter Stegen valuable international experience, the world champions will go to the wire to include Neuer. Jerome Boateng, though, is a serious doubt after injuring his knee during the first leg of Bayern Munich's Champions League semi-final against Real Madrid. Boateng was injured during Bayern Munich's Champions League semi-final against Real Madrid Credit: ODD ANDERSEN/AFP/Getty Images Marco Reus, who missed the 2014 World Cup and Euro 2016 with ankle and groin injuries, made his comeback from cruciate ligament surgery in February after eight months out and Borussia Dortmund have nursed his return, allowing him time off to recover from soreness, over the past few weeks. "With Marco," said Löw, "it's important to us that he is brought to the top level carefully and without further pressure and that he gains in stability." Mario Götze, the scorer of the winning goal at Maracana, was left out of the squad for the spring friendlies after a dip in form while his Dortmund team-mate and World Cup final goal-provider Andre Schürrle, finally free of knee and achilles injuries, has impressed Löw sufficiently to reassure him that he still has a chance but has yet to earn a call-up. Mexico Giovani Dos Santos should be back for LA Galaxy by the end of April after his hamstring injury in early March and will resume his place in Mexico's midfield alongside Porto captain Hector Herrera who travelled with the national team for the spring double header against Iceland and Croatia but was sent back to his club for treatment because of an unspecified muscle injury. Starting central defender Carlos Salcedeo broke his collarbone during the defeat by Croatia and had surgery to have it pinned but is expected to return for Eintracht Frankfurt just before the end of the season. Another key defender, Nestor Araujo who plays for Santos Laguna, was also injured in the same match and has had keyhole surgery to repair meniscus damage. He, too, is expected to make a first-team comeback before the squad deadline of May 14. South Korea Shin Tae-yong's greatest concern last month as he prepares for his first tournament since moving up from U-20 manager to secure qualification centred not on fitness but the fatigue of Son Heung-min after a long season and a gruelling buil-up to it. "For most Europe-based players, they are used to getting in shape in August before the new season starts. I'm really worried that Son's form might go down from May, with his concentration waning and him becoming physically exhausted," he said. Former Middlesbrough striker Lee Dong-gook, a member of the France 98 squad at the age of 18, harbours hopes of a place after a recall last September for the final qualifier against Uzbekistan but he has not been picked since. The sitter he missed against Uruguay at the 2010 World Cup haunted him for years but most supporters seem to have forgiven him and would welcome the selection of the K-League's highest scorer. Sweden It would be unfair for Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who played no part in qualification having retired after Euro 2016, to overshadow the preparations of the squad in making it to Russia but his possible return, despite his controversial link-up with a betting firm that would seem to preclude him being recalled under Fifa regulations, is dominating their build-up. "Just as with the national team, if I want to play, I’ll play," he said. Zlatan Ibrahimovic has not ruled out a comeback Credit: AP Photo/Jae C. Hong “This is not a question for Fifa, it’s a question for me and what I want.” Janne Andersson has no injury worries with a month to go but the inexperience of all his goalkeepers must be a cause of some disquiet. Robin Olsen performed heroically against Italy in the second leg of the play-off but he has only 16 caps and the manager has tried several alternatives in pursuit of an undisputed No1. Group G Belgium Michy Batshuayi, having scored nine goals in 14 games during a terrific loan spell at Dortmund, left the field on a stretcher on April 15 after sustaining an ankle injury during the derby defeat by Schalke that has ended his season but not his World Cup chances even if they are now very slim indeed. Vincent Kompany's return to form and fitness has removed Roberto Martínez's most long-standing doubt though Christian Benteke's travails in front of goal for Crystal Palace had put his chances of a squad place as a back-up to Romelu Lukaku at serious risk until Batshuayi's injury. Nacer Chadli has missed West Brom's doomed 'fight' against relegation since December with hip and thigh injuries but Albion report that he is ready to return on April 21 after an impressive showing in training. Thibaut Courtois has recovered from the hamstring injury that kept him out of the spring friendlies and Chelsea's defeat by Spurs for whom Toby Alderweireld remains on the peripheries, which must be a worry for Martínez. England Liverpool pair Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Joe Gomez miss the tournament through injury but team-mate Nathaniel Clyne is making gradual returns to first-team football and may be a late contender for a squad place. Phil Jones has suffered recurrent hamstring injuries this season and, although he is now fit while Jack Wilshere, who withdrew from the spring squads, remains an outsider as does Ruben Loftus-Cheek who has returned to Palace's side after three months out with an ankle injury and knee pain. Adam Lallana has endured a desperate run with injuries Credit: Action Images via Reuters/Matthew Childs Nathaniel Chalobah joined the England squad in March to continue his rehabilitation from a fractured knee-cap but is unlikely to play for Watford before the season's end while Daniel Sturridge was out for two months with a hamstring injury that has turned his loan move to West Bromwich into an exorbitant farce. Adam Lallana has gone to South Africa for rehab therapy on his injured hamstring and Gareth Southgate is understood to be willing to give him until May 13 to prove he can make it but that has to be a serious doubt after a couple of injury-wrecked seasons. Panama The World Cup finals debutants have no injuries to report and Hernán Darío Gómez has a full-strength squad of relatively unknown but remarkably experienced players - the 24 men picked for the spring friendlies averaged 59 caps each - ready for Russia. Tunisia Tunisia have suffered the worst blow of all 32 teams to date, losing their playmaker Youssef Msakni, who suffered a cruciate knee ligament injury on April 7 that will keep him out for at least six months. The attacking midfielder, who has 49 caps, tore an anterior ligament playing for his Qatar Stars League club, Al-Duhail, against Al-Sailiya. Nabil Maloul, Tunisia's manager, was asked in March what Msakni's absence would mean when the player could not feature in the spring friendlies because of a minor meniscus problem that required 10 days' rest, he said it would be like Argentina going to Russia without Lionel Messi. Group H Colombia Juan Cuadrado gave Jose Pekerman a scare by injuring his groin back in January and the initial prognosis, that he would be out for at least three months after surgery, possibly six, was discouraging. But the winger made his return for Juventus ahead of schedule last month while Sampdoria's Duvan Zapata, who missed their match with Cagliari on April 28, should also make it back before the end of the season. Japan Turmoil at management level - Akira Nishino replaced Vahid Halilhodzic at the beginning of April - contrasts with relative serenity over options for selection. Second-choice keeper, Masaaki Higashiguchi, fractured his cheekbone on April 21 but is likely to make the World Cup 23 even if he has to play in a face mask for precautionary reasons. Marseille defender Hiroki Sakai was ruled out for three weeks in April with a medial collateral ligament strain in his left knee and misses both legs of their Europa League semifinal against Red Bull Salzburg but is confident of recovering in time to participate in Russia. World Cup 2018 venues Poland Veteran midfielder, the live blogger's friend Jakub Blaszczykowski, made his first start for Hamburg since February on April 28 and should be fit to make a squad that has no major current concerns about its key components. Artur Boruc, who had 60 caps, announced his international retirement last year bur had long since taken the role of third banana behind Lukasz Fabianski and Wojciech Szczesny. Senegal Monaco's fiery forward Keita Balde has been out since April 7 with a hamstring injury but should be back for the St Etienne game on May 12.The principal worry for Aliou Cisse concered his centre-back and vice-captain Kara Mbodji, who has not played since before Christmas following knee surgery for an injury he picked up playing for Anderlecht. After thrice-daily rehab sessions, Kara says he hopes to be involved for their final league game against Club Brugge on May 6.
Each of the 31 qualifiers for the 2018 World Cup plus the hosts will name their provisional 35 man squads for the tournament by the deadline on May 14, exactly a month before the opening game between Russia and Saudi Arabia on June 14 at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow. They will then have until June 4 to cull the numbers down to 23. Those who do not make the cut are likely to be placed on standby in case they are needed to replace any injured players. Replacements can be made at any point until 24 hours before each team's first World Cup game. Here is what we know so far about who is available and who is struggling to make it. Group A Egypt No significant injury worries for Héctor Cúper, not even over the 45-year-old goalkeeper and captain Essam El-Hadary who is firmly on course to become the oldest player in finals history. There are wider concerns over the form of West Brom's shell-shocked Ahmed Hegazi but it is countered by Mohamed Salah's during his outstanding debut season at Liverpool. Russia Stanislav Cherchisov has been tasked with taking the hosts to the last four at least, which will be difficult given their results in a very taxing build-up programme - defeated by Portugal, Mexico, Argentina, Brazil and France. Aleksandr Kokorin, the 27-year-old Zenit winger who scored Russia's goal in the draw with Algeria during the 2014 tournament, is all but certain to miss the World Cup having damaged his ACL in mid March. Igor Denisov, the Lokomotiv defensive midfielder and Russia captain under Fabio Capello, fell out with Cherchisov years ago at Dynamo Moscow and the manager has refused to pick him while arguments between Cherchisov and the 6ft 5in striker Artem Dzyuba threaten his involvement. CSKA twins Aleksei and Vasily Berezutski retired after Euro 2016 and have refused the manager's entreaties to return to the squad at the age of 35 following the serious knee injuries suffered by Viktor Vasin and Georgi Dzhikiya. Saudi Arabia The only team at the tournament ranked lower than the hosts, it's a fortuitous coincidence for Russia that they were drawn out to play the curtain-raiser. A resounding defeat by Belgium in March was forgivable but their 4-1 loss inIraq the month before has provoked understandable disquiet. Decisions to send the midfielders Yahya Al-Shehri, Salem Al-Dawsari and Fahad Al-Muwallad on loan to Leganes, Villarreal and Levante respectively in January has backfired. None of the national team stalwarts had played a minute of Liga football by the end of March 2018. Uruguay Oscar Tabárez's team looks as powerful as ever, built around the relentless, uncompromising defensive work of Diego Godín, the attacking prowess of Edinson Cavani and Luis Suárez supplied by Gastón Ramírez and now with the young, athletic Juventus midfielder Rodrigo Bentancur to add drive to the usual steel. Veteran defender Martín Cáceres has a calf injury that had restricted him to only one appearance by the end of March following his transfer from Verona after that dreadful year at Southampton and remains the major doubt. World Cup predictor Group B Iran Ashkan Dejagah, a Bundesliga title-winner with Wolfsburg and fondly remembered by Fulham fans who elected him player of the year in 2013-14, returned to England with Nottingham Forest as a free agent in January but suffered a knee injury the following month that will keep him out until the end of April. The 31-year-old midfielder, who played all three group matches in Brazil four years ago, is Carlos Queiroz's only significant injury worry. Captain Masoud Shojaei has returned to the squad after seven months and has so far overcome opposition from the deputy sports minister and another parliamentarian for playing for Panionios against Maccabi Tel Aviv in a Europa League qualifier. A national team life ban for playing against a representative of a state Iran does not recognise had been proposed but Queiroz ignored the calls. Morocco The African Nations champions qualified without conceding a goal and three-quarters of the defence that earned them their enviable record - Nabil Dirar, Mehdi Benatia and Romain Saiss - are all fit and in impressive form. The versatile Real Madrid prodigy, Achraf Hakimi, however, was withdrawn from the squad for the March friendlies when injured on the first day of training and is likely to miss a few weeks while the midfielder Ait Bennasser, who hurt his thigh while playing for Caen against Angers in March, is not expected to be back on contention until the beginning of May at the earliest. Zouhair Feddal, who plays at left-back for Real Betis, ruptured his Achilles in February and, barring a miracle, will miss the World Cup. England's World Cup 2018 squad - ranked Portugal Renato Sanches, who was so sensational at Euro 2016 that Bayern Munich agreed a deal to sign the teenage midfielder that committed them to spending as much as £72m for him, has endured a wretched run of form and fitness ever since. His latest hamstring injury while on loan at Swansea has kept him sidelined since mid January and the Premier League club sent him back to Munich at the end of March for treatment, admitting he might not return. But, to much surprise, he returned to the matchday squad for the visit of Chelsea on April 28 but didn't get on in the 1-0 defeat. Major concerns persist over the durability of the veteran central defenders - Jose Fonte and Bruno Silva, 34 and 36 respectively - who are currently fit but have had lengthy lay-offs in recent months while the 35-year-old Pepe is nursing a broken toe. Spain No significant injury concerns so far for Julen Lopetegui but the form of Alvaro Morata at Chelsea has been a worry and led to him being left out of the squad for the spring friendlies. Diego Costa, in the rudest of health and spirit at Atlético Madrid, should lead the line which may make a romantic recall for Spain's top-scorer, New York City's David Villa, at the age of 36 far more remote than it seemed last autumn. Cesc Fabregas and Bayern Munich's Javi Martínez have been notable omissions from Lopetegui's squads ever since he took over from Vicente del Bosque in 2016 and while neither are resigned to missing out, recalls at this late stage are extremely unlikely. Group C Australia Bert van Marwijk, appointed in January on a seven-month contract, recalled the goalkeeper Brad Jones after four years out of international football in his first squad and the former Liverpool reserve, now with Feyenoord, has a good chance of making it to Russia in place of Adam Federici, the Bournemouth back-up, who has not played for 15 months after suffering back-to-back knee injuries. Matthew Spiranovic, a free agent since his release by Zhejiang Greentown in February, will pay the price for not heeding former manager Ange Postecoglou who repeatedly warned him that playing in the Chinese second division was not adequate preparation for a World Cup place. Melbourne Victory centre-half Rhys Williams, hoping to make his first World Cup after injury ruled him out of South Africa and Brazil, tore his calf on April 29 and looks like making it third time unlucky. Kaiserslautern's Brandon Borrello ruptured his ACL during a training session in the last week of April and has no chance of making it. Denmark Chelsea's Andreas Christensen and Brentford's Henrik Dalsgaard were sent home early from the squads for the spring friendlies, the former because of 'exhaustion' and the latter excused to spend some time with his newborn daughter. Both have been told that they are certainties for Age Hareide's 23.Central defender Andreas Bjelland has been troubled by an achilles injury but has returned to the Brentford squad while Lasse Vibe, who left Griffin Park in February for the Chinese Super League's Changchun Yatai, is running out of time to prove his fitness and sharpness after heel and hamstring injuries blighted the first half of his season. World Cup 2018 stadiums France Laurent Koscielny will miss the tournament after rupturing his achilles tendon in Arsenal's Europa League semi-final, second leg against Atletico Madrid. Benjamin Mendy has been out since September with a cruciate ligament injury but has been training with Manchester City's first-team squad since the beginning of March and should be back before the end of the season. If the left-back makes it he may go straight into the starting XI given Layvin Kurzawa's recent loss of form at PSG. Florian Thauvin, who has gone from zero to hero on his return from Newcastle to Marseille, should overcome a hamstring injury to make it but squad stalwarts Alexandre Lacazette, Moussa Sissoko and Dimitri Payet may all miss out after disappointing domestic seasons. Djibril Sidibe has injured the meniscus in his right knee and will miss the end of Monaco's season but the right-back hopes to be back in time to make Didier Deschamps' XXIII. Peru First-choice goalkeeper Pedro Gallese had knee surgery to correct a meniscus problem last February and though he is behind schedule to return for his Mexican league club Veracruz, remains confident that he will be ready for the friendly against Scotland on May 29. Veteran striker and captain Paolo Guerrero is currently serving a six-month ban after testing positive for cocaine and other banned drugs following Peru's draw with Argentina last October. Peru will bring their famous kit to the World Cup finals for the first time since 1982 Credit: FEDERICO PARRA/AFP/Getty Images His suspension, reduced on appeal, ends on May 3 but his second appeal will be heard by the Court of Arbitration for Sport before then as he continues to maintain he was the victim of contaminated food. Group D Argentina Ramiro Funes Mori's return to Everton's bench on the last day of March after more than a year out with a knee injury is a fillip to Jorge Sampaoli and his creaking defence. Roma winger Diego Perotti should return from a calf strain by the middle of April but Boca Juniors' playmaker Fernando Gago and centre-forward Dario Benedetto have been ruled out by their club who hope to have them back for pre-season training though neither severe knee-injury victim has given up hope of 11th-hour breakthroughs in their recovery regimes. World Cup Russian host cities you've never heard of Croatia Veterans Danijel Subasic, Dejan Lovren, Marcelo Brozovic, Ivan Perisic, Luka Modric, Nikola Kalinic and Mario Mandzukic all withdrew from last month's two-match tour to the United States to conserve their energies but they are fit and certainties for the squad barring any late setbacks. Ante Rebic, the Eintracht Frankfurt winger, and Fiorentina's defensive midfielder Milan Baldelj have missed games in April with a torn calf and rib injuries respectively but are due back before the end of the month and should take their places in Zlatko Dalic's 23. Iceland The medial ligament injury Gylfi Sigurdsson sustained in his right knee when playing for Everton against Brighton at the beginning of March was expected to end his domestic season while keeping a glimmer of hope alive that he would be fit for Russia. Sam Allardyce said he would personally deliver a 'b---------' to the employee who released a statement saying he was out for eight weeks and countered it by suggesting that the playmaker was a quick healer and may be back before May which gives Heimir Hallgrimsson grounds for optimism. Alfreð Finnbogason, the Augsburg centre-forward, who has been out since the end of January with a calf injury, is expected to make his comeback in mid April. Nigeria Wilfred Ndidi will miss the end of Leicester' season with a hamstring damaged during their walloping by Crystal Palace on April 28. His team-mate Kelechi Iheanacho broke his hand while playing for the Super Eagles during their defeat by Serbia last month but returned to bench duty for Leicester after missing only one Premier League game. Henry Onyekuru, the Everton forward who is spending 2017-18 on loan at Anderlecht, underwent knee ligament surgery in December but insisted he would be in contention to make the squad. On April 2 he returned to first-team training and says he will be ready to play and add to his nine league goals in 19 appearances before the month is out. Group E Brazil Neymar's metatarsal injury on Feb 25 threatened to turn into another bout of national self-flagellation and despondency but the initial prognosis that he would be out for 12 weeks still gives him time to recover and subsequent revisions of his estimated absence that have shaved four weeks off his return date should allow him to find some sharpness, too. Philippe Coutinho's ropey form since moving to Barcelona will not discourage Tite, who will use the Anfield friendly against Croatia at the start of June to reacquaint him with his best days alongside familiar faces in familiar surroundings. Filipe Luis, the Atlético left-back and back-up to Marcelo, fractured his fibula in mid-March but is hopeful of returning should Diego Simeone's team qualify for the Europa League final. Tite has never had much time for David Luiz's qualities and though the centre-back, whose knee injury has kept him out of Chelsea's squad since the middle of February, is striving to put himself in contention, his quest will probably be in vain. Costa Rica Joel Campbell, remarkably still an Arsenal player, injured his ankle while playing on loan for Real Betis at the end of October and has not played since. The forward reported that he was fit at the end of February and has returned to full training so seems likely to make the cut for the squad even if he will be woefully lacking match fitness, not that it did Paolo Rossi much harm in 1982 nor Marco van Basten at Euro 88. New York City left-back Ronald Matarrita has a hamstring injury that has hampered his preparations and Portland Timbers' defensive midfielder David Guzman has missed the past fortnight with a sprained knee sustained on international duty. The state of Neymar's health has become a Brazilian obsession Credit: REUTERS/Stephane Mahe Switzerland Vladimir Petkovic expects Udinese's Valon Behrami to recover from his shoulder injury in a couple of weeks and has no other pressing concerns. Eren Derdiyok. Admir Mehmedi and Xherdan Shaqiri all sat out the recent friendlies (a 1-0 victory over Greece and a 6-0 thrashing of Panama) but should make the final squad when it is announced on May 14. Serbia Matija Nastasic damaged knee ligaments on April 12 playing for Schalke and the best prognosis for the centre-half is a six-week recuperation. Mladen Krstajic, a fine defender for Partizan, Werder Bremen, Schalke and the national team but a rookie coach appointed to this, his first job, only last December, has all his core players fit and only Benfica's Ljubomir Fejsa, the defensive midfielder who has won 10 successive league titles across three countries, suffering from recurring but minor, niggling problems. Fejsa has not played for Serbia since 2016 and would be a back-up only to Nemanja Matic and Luka Milivojevic if he makes the squad but would be a contender for tattoo of the tournament for the chest tableau that commemorates his return from serious injury while playing for Partizan and his later triumphs with Olympiakos and Benfica. ...⚽️❗️....done✔️ #f5 #justdone #stillfresh Obrigado Mareeee���� @maretattoo A post shared by Fejsa Ljubomir & Suzana (@fejsa5) on Mar 25, 2018 at 1:42pm PDT Group F Germany Borussia Monchengladbach's Lars Stindl is out with an ankle injury but Manuel Neuer returned to full goalkeeper training on April 5 after six months out having fractured a metatarsal in his left foot for the third time in a year and undergone surgery to insert a plate to protect the bone. The Bayern Munich and Germany captain has manged only three Bundesliga appearances this season yet, although Joachim Löw has benefited from his absence by exploiting it to give Marc-Andre Ter Stegen valuable international experience, the world champions will go to the wire to include Neuer. Jerome Boateng, though, is a serious doubt after injuring his knee during the first leg of Bayern Munich's Champions League semi-final against Real Madrid. Boateng was injured during Bayern Munich's Champions League semi-final against Real Madrid Credit: ODD ANDERSEN/AFP/Getty Images Marco Reus, who missed the 2014 World Cup and Euro 2016 with ankle and groin injuries, made his comeback from cruciate ligament surgery in February after eight months out and Borussia Dortmund have nursed his return, allowing him time off to recover from soreness, over the past few weeks. "With Marco," said Löw, "it's important to us that he is brought to the top level carefully and without further pressure and that he gains in stability." Mario Götze, the scorer of the winning goal at Maracana, was left out of the squad for the spring friendlies after a dip in form while his Dortmund team-mate and World Cup final goal-provider Andre Schürrle, finally free of knee and achilles injuries, has impressed Löw sufficiently to reassure him that he still has a chance but has yet to earn a call-up. Mexico Giovani Dos Santos should be back for LA Galaxy by the end of April after his hamstring injury in early March and will resume his place in Mexico's midfield alongside Porto captain Hector Herrera who travelled with the national team for the spring double header against Iceland and Croatia but was sent back to his club for treatment because of an unspecified muscle injury. Starting central defender Carlos Salcedeo broke his collarbone during the defeat by Croatia and had surgery to have it pinned but is expected to return for Eintracht Frankfurt just before the end of the season. Another key defender, Nestor Araujo who plays for Santos Laguna, was also injured in the same match and has had keyhole surgery to repair meniscus damage. He, too, is expected to make a first-team comeback before the squad deadline of May 14. South Korea Shin Tae-yong's greatest concern last month as he prepares for his first tournament since moving up from U-20 manager to secure qualification centred not on fitness but the fatigue of Son Heung-min after a long season and a gruelling buil-up to it. "For most Europe-based players, they are used to getting in shape in August before the new season starts. I'm really worried that Son's form might go down from May, with his concentration waning and him becoming physically exhausted," he said. Former Middlesbrough striker Lee Dong-gook, a member of the France 98 squad at the age of 18, harbours hopes of a place after a recall last September for the final qualifier against Uzbekistan but he has not been picked since. The sitter he missed against Uruguay at the 2010 World Cup haunted him for years but most supporters seem to have forgiven him and would welcome the selection of the K-League's highest scorer. Sweden It would be unfair for Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who played no part in qualification having retired after Euro 2016, to overshadow the preparations of the squad in making it to Russia but his possible return, despite his controversial link-up with a betting firm that would seem to preclude him being recalled under Fifa regulations, is dominating their build-up. "Just as with the national team, if I want to play, I’ll play," he said. Zlatan Ibrahimovic has not ruled out a comeback Credit: AP Photo/Jae C. Hong “This is not a question for Fifa, it’s a question for me and what I want.” Janne Andersson has no injury worries with a month to go but the inexperience of all his goalkeepers must be a cause of some disquiet. Robin Olsen performed heroically against Italy in the second leg of the play-off but he has only 16 caps and the manager has tried several alternatives in pursuit of an undisputed No1. Group G Belgium Michy Batshuayi, having scored nine goals in 14 games during a terrific loan spell at Dortmund, left the field on a stretcher on April 15 after sustaining an ankle injury during the derby defeat by Schalke that has ended his season but not his World Cup chances even if they are now very slim indeed. Vincent Kompany's return to form and fitness has removed Roberto Martínez's most long-standing doubt though Christian Benteke's travails in front of goal for Crystal Palace had put his chances of a squad place as a back-up to Romelu Lukaku at serious risk until Batshuayi's injury. Nacer Chadli has missed West Brom's doomed 'fight' against relegation since December with hip and thigh injuries but Albion report that he is ready to return on April 21 after an impressive showing in training. Thibaut Courtois has recovered from the hamstring injury that kept him out of the spring friendlies and Chelsea's defeat by Spurs for whom Toby Alderweireld remains on the peripheries, which must be a worry for Martínez. England Liverpool pair Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Joe Gomez miss the tournament through injury but team-mate Nathaniel Clyne is making gradual returns to first-team football and may be a late contender for a squad place. Phil Jones has suffered recurrent hamstring injuries this season and, although he is now fit while Jack Wilshere, who withdrew from the spring squads, remains an outsider as does Ruben Loftus-Cheek who has returned to Palace's side after three months out with an ankle injury and knee pain. Adam Lallana has endured a desperate run with injuries Credit: Action Images via Reuters/Matthew Childs Nathaniel Chalobah joined the England squad in March to continue his rehabilitation from a fractured knee-cap but is unlikely to play for Watford before the season's end while Daniel Sturridge was out for two months with a hamstring injury that has turned his loan move to West Bromwich into an exorbitant farce. Adam Lallana has gone to South Africa for rehab therapy on his injured hamstring and Gareth Southgate is understood to be willing to give him until May 13 to prove he can make it but that has to be a serious doubt after a couple of injury-wrecked seasons. Panama The World Cup finals debutants have no injuries to report and Hernán Darío Gómez has a full-strength squad of relatively unknown but remarkably experienced players - the 24 men picked for the spring friendlies averaged 59 caps each - ready for Russia. Tunisia Tunisia have suffered the worst blow of all 32 teams to date, losing their playmaker Youssef Msakni, who suffered a cruciate knee ligament injury on April 7 that will keep him out for at least six months. The attacking midfielder, who has 49 caps, tore an anterior ligament playing for his Qatar Stars League club, Al-Duhail, against Al-Sailiya. Nabil Maloul, Tunisia's manager, was asked in March what Msakni's absence would mean when the player could not feature in the spring friendlies because of a minor meniscus problem that required 10 days' rest, he said it would be like Argentina going to Russia without Lionel Messi. Group H Colombia Juan Cuadrado gave Jose Pekerman a scare by injuring his groin back in January and the initial prognosis, that he would be out for at least three months after surgery, possibly six, was discouraging. But the winger made his return for Juventus ahead of schedule last month while Sampdoria's Duvan Zapata, who missed their match with Cagliari on April 28, should also make it back before the end of the season. Japan Turmoil at management level - Akira Nishino replaced Vahid Halilhodzic at the beginning of April - contrasts with relative serenity over options for selection. Second-choice keeper, Masaaki Higashiguchi, fractured his cheekbone on April 21 but is likely to make the World Cup 23 even if he has to play in a face mask for precautionary reasons. Marseille defender Hiroki Sakai was ruled out for three weeks in April with a medial collateral ligament strain in his left knee and misses both legs of their Europa League semifinal against Red Bull Salzburg but is confident of recovering in time to participate in Russia. World Cup 2018 venues Poland Veteran midfielder, the live blogger's friend Jakub Blaszczykowski, made his first start for Hamburg since February on April 28 and should be fit to make a squad that has no major current concerns about its key components. Artur Boruc, who had 60 caps, announced his international retirement last year bur had long since taken the role of third banana behind Lukasz Fabianski and Wojciech Szczesny. Senegal Monaco's fiery forward Keita Balde has been out since April 7 with a hamstring injury but should be back for the St Etienne game on May 12.The principal worry for Aliou Cisse concered his centre-back and vice-captain Kara Mbodji, who has not played since before Christmas following knee surgery for an injury he picked up playing for Anderlecht. After thrice-daily rehab sessions, Kara says he hopes to be involved for their final league game against Club Brugge on May 6.
World Cup 2018 squad guide: Latest group news and updates
Each of the 31 qualifiers for the 2018 World Cup plus the hosts will name their provisional 35 man squads for the tournament by the deadline on May 14, exactly a month before the opening game between Russia and Saudi Arabia on June 14 at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow. They will then have until June 4 to cull the numbers down to 23. Those who do not make the cut are likely to be placed on standby in case they are needed to replace any injured players. Replacements can be made at any point until 24 hours before each team's first World Cup game. Here is what we know so far about who is available and who is struggling to make it. Group A Egypt No significant injury worries for Héctor Cúper, not even over the 45-year-old goalkeeper and captain Essam El-Hadary who is firmly on course to become the oldest player in finals history. There are wider concerns over the form of West Brom's shell-shocked Ahmed Hegazi but it is countered by Mohamed Salah's during his outstanding debut season at Liverpool. Russia Stanislav Cherchisov has been tasked with taking the hosts to the last four at least, which will be difficult given their results in a very taxing build-up programme - defeated by Portugal, Mexico, Argentina, Brazil and France. Aleksandr Kokorin, the 27-year-old Zenit winger who scored Russia's goal in the draw with Algeria during the 2014 tournament, is all but certain to miss the World Cup having damaged his ACL in mid March. Igor Denisov, the Lokomotiv defensive midfielder and Russia captain under Fabio Capello, fell out with Cherchisov years ago at Dynamo Moscow and the manager has refused to pick him while arguments between Cherchisov and the 6ft 5in striker Artem Dzyuba threaten his involvement. CSKA twins Aleksei and Vasily Berezutski retired after Euro 2016 and have refused the manager's entreaties to return to the squad at the age of 35 following the serious knee injuries suffered by Viktor Vasin and Georgi Dzhikiya. Saudi Arabia The only team at the tournament ranked lower than the hosts, it's a fortuitous coincidence for Russia that they were drawn out to play the curtain-raiser. A resounding defeat by Belgium in March was forgivable but their 4-1 loss inIraq the month before has provoked understandable disquiet. Decisions to send the midfielders Yahya Al-Shehri, Salem Al-Dawsari and Fahad Al-Muwallad on loan to Leganes, Villarreal and Levante respectively in January has backfired. None of the national team stalwarts had played a minute of Liga football by the end of March 2018. Uruguay Oscar Tabárez's team looks as powerful as ever, built around the relentless, uncompromising defensive work of Diego Godín, the attacking prowess of Edinson Cavani and Luis Suárez supplied by Gastón Ramírez and now with the young, athletic Juventus midfielder Rodrigo Bentancur to add drive to the usual steel. Veteran defender Martín Cáceres has a calf injury that had restricted him to only one appearance by the end of March following his transfer from Verona after that dreadful year at Southampton and remains the major doubt. World Cup predictor Group B Iran Ashkan Dejagah, a Bundesliga title-winner with Wolfsburg and fondly remembered by Fulham fans who elected him player of the year in 2013-14, returned to England with Nottingham Forest as a free agent in January but suffered a knee injury the following month that will keep him out until the end of April. The 31-year-old midfielder, who played all three group matches in Brazil four years ago, is Carlos Queiroz's only significant injury worry. Captain Masoud Shojaei has returned to the squad after seven months and has so far overcome opposition from the deputy sports minister and another parliamentarian for playing for Panionios against Maccabi Tel Aviv in a Europa League qualifier. A national team life ban for playing against a representative of a state Iran does not recognise had been proposed but Queiroz ignored the calls. Morocco The African Nations champions qualified without conceding a goal and three-quarters of the defence that earned them their enviable record - Nabil Dirar, Mehdi Benatia and Romain Saiss - are all fit and in impressive form. The versatile Real Madrid prodigy, Achraf Hakimi, however, was withdrawn from the squad for the March friendlies when injured on the first day of training and is likely to miss a few weeks while the midfielder Ait Bennasser, who hurt his thigh while playing for Caen against Angers in March, is not expected to be back on contention until the beginning of May at the earliest. Zouhair Feddal, who plays at left-back for Real Betis, ruptured his Achilles in February and, barring a miracle, will miss the World Cup. England's World Cup 2018 squad - ranked Portugal Renato Sanches, who was so sensational at Euro 2016 that Bayern Munich agreed a deal to sign the teenage midfielder that committed them to spending as much as £72m for him, has endured a wretched run of form and fitness ever since. His latest hamstring injury while on loan at Swansea has kept him sidelined since mid January and the Premier League club sent him back to Munich at the end of March for treatment, admitting he might not return. But, to much surprise, he returned to the matchday squad for the visit of Chelsea on April 28 but didn't get on in the 1-0 defeat. Major concerns persist over the durability of the veteran central defenders - Jose Fonte and Bruno Silva, 34 and 36 respectively - who are currently fit but have had lengthy lay-offs in recent months while the 35-year-old Pepe is nursing a broken toe. Spain No significant injury concerns so far for Julen Lopetegui but the form of Alvaro Morata at Chelsea has been a worry and led to him being left out of the squad for the spring friendlies. Diego Costa, in the rudest of health and spirit at Atlético Madrid, should lead the line which may make a romantic recall for Spain's top-scorer, New York City's David Villa, at the age of 36 far more remote than it seemed last autumn. Cesc Fabregas and Bayern Munich's Javi Martínez have been notable omissions from Lopetegui's squads ever since he took over from Vicente del Bosque in 2016 and while neither are resigned to missing out, recalls at this late stage are extremely unlikely. Group C Australia Bert van Marwijk, appointed in January on a seven-month contract, recalled the goalkeeper Brad Jones after four years out of international football in his first squad and the former Liverpool reserve, now with Feyenoord, has a good chance of making it to Russia in place of Adam Federici, the Bournemouth back-up, who has not played for 15 months after suffering back-to-back knee injuries. Matthew Spiranovic, a free agent since his release by Zhejiang Greentown in February, will pay the price for not heeding former manager Ange Postecoglou who repeatedly warned him that playing in the Chinese second division was not adequate preparation for a World Cup place. Melbourne Victory centre-half Rhys Williams, hoping to make his first World Cup after injury ruled him out of South Africa and Brazil, tore his calf on April 29 and looks like making it third time unlucky. Kaiserslautern's Brandon Borrello ruptured his ACL during a training session in the last week of April and has no chance of making it. Denmark Chelsea's Andreas Christensen and Brentford's Henrik Dalsgaard were sent home early from the squads for the spring friendlies, the former because of 'exhaustion' and the latter excused to spend some time with his newborn daughter. Both have been told that they are certainties for Age Hareide's 23.Central defender Andreas Bjelland has been troubled by an achilles injury but has returned to the Brentford squad while Lasse Vibe, who left Griffin Park in February for the Chinese Super League's Changchun Yatai, is running out of time to prove his fitness and sharpness after heel and hamstring injuries blighted the first half of his season. World Cup 2018 stadiums France Laurent Koscielny will miss the tournament after rupturing his achilles tendon in Arsenal's Europa League semi-final, second leg against Atletico Madrid. Benjamin Mendy has been out since September with a cruciate ligament injury but has been training with Manchester City's first-team squad since the beginning of March and should be back before the end of the season. If the left-back makes it he may go straight into the starting XI given Layvin Kurzawa's recent loss of form at PSG. Florian Thauvin, who has gone from zero to hero on his return from Newcastle to Marseille, should overcome a hamstring injury to make it but squad stalwarts Alexandre Lacazette, Moussa Sissoko and Dimitri Payet may all miss out after disappointing domestic seasons. Djibril Sidibe has injured the meniscus in his right knee and will miss the end of Monaco's season but the right-back hopes to be back in time to make Didier Deschamps' XXIII. Peru First-choice goalkeeper Pedro Gallese had knee surgery to correct a meniscus problem last February and though he is behind schedule to return for his Mexican league club Veracruz, remains confident that he will be ready for the friendly against Scotland on May 29. Veteran striker and captain Paolo Guerrero is currently serving a six-month ban after testing positive for cocaine and other banned drugs following Peru's draw with Argentina last October. Peru will bring their famous kit to the World Cup finals for the first time since 1982 Credit: FEDERICO PARRA/AFP/Getty Images His suspension, reduced on appeal, ends on May 3 but his second appeal will be heard by the Court of Arbitration for Sport before then as he continues to maintain he was the victim of contaminated food. Group D Argentina Ramiro Funes Mori's return to Everton's bench on the last day of March after more than a year out with a knee injury is a fillip to Jorge Sampaoli and his creaking defence. Roma winger Diego Perotti should return from a calf strain by the middle of April but Boca Juniors' playmaker Fernando Gago and centre-forward Dario Benedetto have been ruled out by their club who hope to have them back for pre-season training though neither severe knee-injury victim has given up hope of 11th-hour breakthroughs in their recovery regimes. World Cup Russian host cities you've never heard of Croatia Veterans Danijel Subasic, Dejan Lovren, Marcelo Brozovic, Ivan Perisic, Luka Modric, Nikola Kalinic and Mario Mandzukic all withdrew from last month's two-match tour to the United States to conserve their energies but they are fit and certainties for the squad barring any late setbacks. Ante Rebic, the Eintracht Frankfurt winger, and Fiorentina's defensive midfielder Milan Baldelj have missed games in April with a torn calf and rib injuries respectively but are due back before the end of the month and should take their places in Zlatko Dalic's 23. Iceland The medial ligament injury Gylfi Sigurdsson sustained in his right knee when playing for Everton against Brighton at the beginning of March was expected to end his domestic season while keeping a glimmer of hope alive that he would be fit for Russia. Sam Allardyce said he would personally deliver a 'b---------' to the employee who released a statement saying he was out for eight weeks and countered it by suggesting that the playmaker was a quick healer and may be back before May which gives Heimir Hallgrimsson grounds for optimism. Alfreð Finnbogason, the Augsburg centre-forward, who has been out since the end of January with a calf injury, is expected to make his comeback in mid April. Nigeria Wilfred Ndidi will miss the end of Leicester' season with a hamstring damaged during their walloping by Crystal Palace on April 28. His team-mate Kelechi Iheanacho broke his hand while playing for the Super Eagles during their defeat by Serbia last month but returned to bench duty for Leicester after missing only one Premier League game. Henry Onyekuru, the Everton forward who is spending 2017-18 on loan at Anderlecht, underwent knee ligament surgery in December but insisted he would be in contention to make the squad. On April 2 he returned to first-team training and says he will be ready to play and add to his nine league goals in 19 appearances before the month is out. Group E Brazil Neymar's metatarsal injury on Feb 25 threatened to turn into another bout of national self-flagellation and despondency but the initial prognosis that he would be out for 12 weeks still gives him time to recover and subsequent revisions of his estimated absence that have shaved four weeks off his return date should allow him to find some sharpness, too. Philippe Coutinho's ropey form since moving to Barcelona will not discourage Tite, who will use the Anfield friendly against Croatia at the start of June to reacquaint him with his best days alongside familiar faces in familiar surroundings. Filipe Luis, the Atlético left-back and back-up to Marcelo, fractured his fibula in mid-March but is hopeful of returning should Diego Simeone's team qualify for the Europa League final. Tite has never had much time for David Luiz's qualities and though the centre-back, whose knee injury has kept him out of Chelsea's squad since the middle of February, is striving to put himself in contention, his quest will probably be in vain. Costa Rica Joel Campbell, remarkably still an Arsenal player, injured his ankle while playing on loan for Real Betis at the end of October and has not played since. The forward reported that he was fit at the end of February and has returned to full training so seems likely to make the cut for the squad even if he will be woefully lacking match fitness, not that it did Paolo Rossi much harm in 1982 nor Marco van Basten at Euro 88. New York City left-back Ronald Matarrita has a hamstring injury that has hampered his preparations and Portland Timbers' defensive midfielder David Guzman has missed the past fortnight with a sprained knee sustained on international duty. The state of Neymar's health has become a Brazilian obsession Credit: REUTERS/Stephane Mahe Switzerland Vladimir Petkovic expects Udinese's Valon Behrami to recover from his shoulder injury in a couple of weeks and has no other pressing concerns. Eren Derdiyok. Admir Mehmedi and Xherdan Shaqiri all sat out the recent friendlies (a 1-0 victory over Greece and a 6-0 thrashing of Panama) but should make the final squad when it is announced on May 14. Serbia Matija Nastasic damaged knee ligaments on April 12 playing for Schalke and the best prognosis for the centre-half is a six-week recuperation. Mladen Krstajic, a fine defender for Partizan, Werder Bremen, Schalke and the national team but a rookie coach appointed to this, his first job, only last December, has all his core players fit and only Benfica's Ljubomir Fejsa, the defensive midfielder who has won 10 successive league titles across three countries, suffering from recurring but minor, niggling problems. Fejsa has not played for Serbia since 2016 and would be a back-up only to Nemanja Matic and Luka Milivojevic if he makes the squad but would be a contender for tattoo of the tournament for the chest tableau that commemorates his return from serious injury while playing for Partizan and his later triumphs with Olympiakos and Benfica. ...⚽️❗️....done✔️ #f5 #justdone #stillfresh Obrigado Mareeee���� @maretattoo A post shared by Fejsa Ljubomir & Suzana (@fejsa5) on Mar 25, 2018 at 1:42pm PDT Group F Germany Borussia Monchengladbach's Lars Stindl is out with an ankle injury but Manuel Neuer returned to full goalkeeper training on April 5 after six months out having fractured a metatarsal in his left foot for the third time in a year and undergone surgery to insert a plate to protect the bone. The Bayern Munich and Germany captain has manged only three Bundesliga appearances this season yet, although Joachim Löw has benefited from his absence by exploiting it to give Marc-Andre Ter Stegen valuable international experience, the world champions will go to the wire to include Neuer. Jerome Boateng, though, is a serious doubt after injuring his knee during the first leg of Bayern Munich's Champions League semi-final against Real Madrid. Boateng was injured during Bayern Munich's Champions League semi-final against Real Madrid Credit: ODD ANDERSEN/AFP/Getty Images Marco Reus, who missed the 2014 World Cup and Euro 2016 with ankle and groin injuries, made his comeback from cruciate ligament surgery in February after eight months out and Borussia Dortmund have nursed his return, allowing him time off to recover from soreness, over the past few weeks. "With Marco," said Löw, "it's important to us that he is brought to the top level carefully and without further pressure and that he gains in stability." Mario Götze, the scorer of the winning goal at Maracana, was left out of the squad for the spring friendlies after a dip in form while his Dortmund team-mate and World Cup final goal-provider Andre Schürrle, finally free of knee and achilles injuries, has impressed Löw sufficiently to reassure him that he still has a chance but has yet to earn a call-up. Mexico Giovani Dos Santos should be back for LA Galaxy by the end of April after his hamstring injury in early March and will resume his place in Mexico's midfield alongside Porto captain Hector Herrera who travelled with the national team for the spring double header against Iceland and Croatia but was sent back to his club for treatment because of an unspecified muscle injury. Starting central defender Carlos Salcedeo broke his collarbone during the defeat by Croatia and had surgery to have it pinned but is expected to return for Eintracht Frankfurt just before the end of the season. Another key defender, Nestor Araujo who plays for Santos Laguna, was also injured in the same match and has had keyhole surgery to repair meniscus damage. He, too, is expected to make a first-team comeback before the squad deadline of May 14. South Korea Shin Tae-yong's greatest concern last month as he prepares for his first tournament since moving up from U-20 manager to secure qualification centred not on fitness but the fatigue of Son Heung-min after a long season and a gruelling buil-up to it. "For most Europe-based players, they are used to getting in shape in August before the new season starts. I'm really worried that Son's form might go down from May, with his concentration waning and him becoming physically exhausted," he said. Former Middlesbrough striker Lee Dong-gook, a member of the France 98 squad at the age of 18, harbours hopes of a place after a recall last September for the final qualifier against Uzbekistan but he has not been picked since. The sitter he missed against Uruguay at the 2010 World Cup haunted him for years but most supporters seem to have forgiven him and would welcome the selection of the K-League's highest scorer. Sweden It would be unfair for Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who played no part in qualification having retired after Euro 2016, to overshadow the preparations of the squad in making it to Russia but his possible return, despite his controversial link-up with a betting firm that would seem to preclude him being recalled under Fifa regulations, is dominating their build-up. "Just as with the national team, if I want to play, I’ll play," he said. Zlatan Ibrahimovic has not ruled out a comeback Credit: AP Photo/Jae C. Hong “This is not a question for Fifa, it’s a question for me and what I want.” Janne Andersson has no injury worries with a month to go but the inexperience of all his goalkeepers must be a cause of some disquiet. Robin Olsen performed heroically against Italy in the second leg of the play-off but he has only 16 caps and the manager has tried several alternatives in pursuit of an undisputed No1. Group G Belgium Michy Batshuayi, having scored nine goals in 14 games during a terrific loan spell at Dortmund, left the field on a stretcher on April 15 after sustaining an ankle injury during the derby defeat by Schalke that has ended his season but not his World Cup chances even if they are now very slim indeed. Vincent Kompany's return to form and fitness has removed Roberto Martínez's most long-standing doubt though Christian Benteke's travails in front of goal for Crystal Palace had put his chances of a squad place as a back-up to Romelu Lukaku at serious risk until Batshuayi's injury. Nacer Chadli has missed West Brom's doomed 'fight' against relegation since December with hip and thigh injuries but Albion report that he is ready to return on April 21 after an impressive showing in training. Thibaut Courtois has recovered from the hamstring injury that kept him out of the spring friendlies and Chelsea's defeat by Spurs for whom Toby Alderweireld remains on the peripheries, which must be a worry for Martínez. England Liverpool pair Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Joe Gomez miss the tournament through injury but team-mate Nathaniel Clyne is making gradual returns to first-team football and may be a late contender for a squad place. Phil Jones has suffered recurrent hamstring injuries this season and, although he is now fit while Jack Wilshere, who withdrew from the spring squads, remains an outsider as does Ruben Loftus-Cheek who has returned to Palace's side after three months out with an ankle injury and knee pain. Adam Lallana has endured a desperate run with injuries Credit: Action Images via Reuters/Matthew Childs Nathaniel Chalobah joined the England squad in March to continue his rehabilitation from a fractured knee-cap but is unlikely to play for Watford before the season's end while Daniel Sturridge was out for two months with a hamstring injury that has turned his loan move to West Bromwich into an exorbitant farce. Adam Lallana has gone to South Africa for rehab therapy on his injured hamstring and Gareth Southgate is understood to be willing to give him until May 13 to prove he can make it but that has to be a serious doubt after a couple of injury-wrecked seasons. Panama The World Cup finals debutants have no injuries to report and Hernán Darío Gómez has a full-strength squad of relatively unknown but remarkably experienced players - the 24 men picked for the spring friendlies averaged 59 caps each - ready for Russia. Tunisia Tunisia have suffered the worst blow of all 32 teams to date, losing their playmaker Youssef Msakni, who suffered a cruciate knee ligament injury on April 7 that will keep him out for at least six months. The attacking midfielder, who has 49 caps, tore an anterior ligament playing for his Qatar Stars League club, Al-Duhail, against Al-Sailiya. Nabil Maloul, Tunisia's manager, was asked in March what Msakni's absence would mean when the player could not feature in the spring friendlies because of a minor meniscus problem that required 10 days' rest, he said it would be like Argentina going to Russia without Lionel Messi. Group H Colombia Juan Cuadrado gave Jose Pekerman a scare by injuring his groin back in January and the initial prognosis, that he would be out for at least three months after surgery, possibly six, was discouraging. But the winger made his return for Juventus ahead of schedule last month while Sampdoria's Duvan Zapata, who missed their match with Cagliari on April 28, should also make it back before the end of the season. Japan Turmoil at management level - Akira Nishino replaced Vahid Halilhodzic at the beginning of April - contrasts with relative serenity over options for selection. Second-choice keeper, Masaaki Higashiguchi, fractured his cheekbone on April 21 but is likely to make the World Cup 23 even if he has to play in a face mask for precautionary reasons. Marseille defender Hiroki Sakai was ruled out for three weeks in April with a medial collateral ligament strain in his left knee and misses both legs of their Europa League semifinal against Red Bull Salzburg but is confident of recovering in time to participate in Russia. World Cup 2018 venues Poland Veteran midfielder, the live blogger's friend Jakub Blaszczykowski, made his first start for Hamburg since February on April 28 and should be fit to make a squad that has no major current concerns about its key components. Artur Boruc, who had 60 caps, announced his international retirement last year bur had long since taken the role of third banana behind Lukasz Fabianski and Wojciech Szczesny. Senegal Monaco's fiery forward Keita Balde has been out since April 7 with a hamstring injury but should be back for the St Etienne game on May 12.The principal worry for Aliou Cisse concered his centre-back and vice-captain Kara Mbodji, who has not played since before Christmas following knee surgery for an injury he picked up playing for Anderlecht. After thrice-daily rehab sessions, Kara says he hopes to be involved for their final league game against Club Brugge on May 6.
Each of the 31 qualifiers for the 2018 World Cup plus the hosts will name their provisional 35 man squads for the tournament by the deadline on May 14, exactly a month before the opening game between Russia and Saudi Arabia on June 14 at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow. They will then have until June 4 to cull the numbers down to 23. Those who do not make the cut are likely to be placed on standby in case they are needed to replace any injured players. Replacements can be made at any point until 24 hours before each team's first World Cup game. Here is what we know so far about who is available and who is struggling to make it. Group A Egypt No significant injury worries for Héctor Cúper, not even over the 45-year-old goalkeeper and captain Essam El-Hadary who is firmly on course to become the oldest player in finals history. There are wider concerns over the form of West Brom's shell-shocked Ahmed Hegazi but it is countered by Mohamed Salah's during his outstanding debut season at Liverpool. Russia Stanislav Cherchisov has been tasked with taking the hosts to the last four at least, which will be difficult given their results in a very taxing build-up programme - defeated by Portugal, Mexico, Argentina, Brazil and France. Aleksandr Kokorin, the 27-year-old Zenit winger who scored Russia's goal in the draw with Algeria during the 2014 tournament, is all but certain to miss the World Cup having damaged his ACL in mid March. Igor Denisov, the Lokomotiv defensive midfielder and Russia captain under Fabio Capello, fell out with Cherchisov years ago at Dynamo Moscow and the manager has refused to pick him while arguments between Cherchisov and the 6ft 5in striker Artem Dzyuba threaten his involvement. CSKA twins Aleksei and Vasily Berezutski retired after Euro 2016 and have refused the manager's entreaties to return to the squad at the age of 35 following the serious knee injuries suffered by Viktor Vasin and Georgi Dzhikiya. Saudi Arabia The only team at the tournament ranked lower than the hosts, it's a fortuitous coincidence for Russia that they were drawn out to play the curtain-raiser. A resounding defeat by Belgium in March was forgivable but their 4-1 loss inIraq the month before has provoked understandable disquiet. Decisions to send the midfielders Yahya Al-Shehri, Salem Al-Dawsari and Fahad Al-Muwallad on loan to Leganes, Villarreal and Levante respectively in January has backfired. None of the national team stalwarts had played a minute of Liga football by the end of March 2018. Uruguay Oscar Tabárez's team looks as powerful as ever, built around the relentless, uncompromising defensive work of Diego Godín, the attacking prowess of Edinson Cavani and Luis Suárez supplied by Gastón Ramírez and now with the young, athletic Juventus midfielder Rodrigo Bentancur to add drive to the usual steel. Veteran defender Martín Cáceres has a calf injury that had restricted him to only one appearance by the end of March following his transfer from Verona after that dreadful year at Southampton and remains the major doubt. World Cup predictor Group B Iran Ashkan Dejagah, a Bundesliga title-winner with Wolfsburg and fondly remembered by Fulham fans who elected him player of the year in 2013-14, returned to England with Nottingham Forest as a free agent in January but suffered a knee injury the following month that will keep him out until the end of April. The 31-year-old midfielder, who played all three group matches in Brazil four years ago, is Carlos Queiroz's only significant injury worry. Captain Masoud Shojaei has returned to the squad after seven months and has so far overcome opposition from the deputy sports minister and another parliamentarian for playing for Panionios against Maccabi Tel Aviv in a Europa League qualifier. A national team life ban for playing against a representative of a state Iran does not recognise had been proposed but Queiroz ignored the calls. Morocco The African Nations champions qualified without conceding a goal and three-quarters of the defence that earned them their enviable record - Nabil Dirar, Mehdi Benatia and Romain Saiss - are all fit and in impressive form. The versatile Real Madrid prodigy, Achraf Hakimi, however, was withdrawn from the squad for the March friendlies when injured on the first day of training and is likely to miss a few weeks while the midfielder Ait Bennasser, who hurt his thigh while playing for Caen against Angers in March, is not expected to be back on contention until the beginning of May at the earliest. Zouhair Feddal, who plays at left-back for Real Betis, ruptured his Achilles in February and, barring a miracle, will miss the World Cup. England's World Cup 2018 squad - ranked Portugal Renato Sanches, who was so sensational at Euro 2016 that Bayern Munich agreed a deal to sign the teenage midfielder that committed them to spending as much as £72m for him, has endured a wretched run of form and fitness ever since. His latest hamstring injury while on loan at Swansea has kept him sidelined since mid January and the Premier League club sent him back to Munich at the end of March for treatment, admitting he might not return. But, to much surprise, he returned to the matchday squad for the visit of Chelsea on April 28 but didn't get on in the 1-0 defeat. Major concerns persist over the durability of the veteran central defenders - Jose Fonte and Bruno Silva, 34 and 36 respectively - who are currently fit but have had lengthy lay-offs in recent months while the 35-year-old Pepe is nursing a broken toe. Spain No significant injury concerns so far for Julen Lopetegui but the form of Alvaro Morata at Chelsea has been a worry and led to him being left out of the squad for the spring friendlies. Diego Costa, in the rudest of health and spirit at Atlético Madrid, should lead the line which may make a romantic recall for Spain's top-scorer, New York City's David Villa, at the age of 36 far more remote than it seemed last autumn. Cesc Fabregas and Bayern Munich's Javi Martínez have been notable omissions from Lopetegui's squads ever since he took over from Vicente del Bosque in 2016 and while neither are resigned to missing out, recalls at this late stage are extremely unlikely. Group C Australia Bert van Marwijk, appointed in January on a seven-month contract, recalled the goalkeeper Brad Jones after four years out of international football in his first squad and the former Liverpool reserve, now with Feyenoord, has a good chance of making it to Russia in place of Adam Federici, the Bournemouth back-up, who has not played for 15 months after suffering back-to-back knee injuries. Matthew Spiranovic, a free agent since his release by Zhejiang Greentown in February, will pay the price for not heeding former manager Ange Postecoglou who repeatedly warned him that playing in the Chinese second division was not adequate preparation for a World Cup place. Melbourne Victory centre-half Rhys Williams, hoping to make his first World Cup after injury ruled him out of South Africa and Brazil, tore his calf on April 29 and looks like making it third time unlucky. Kaiserslautern's Brandon Borrello ruptured his ACL during a training session in the last week of April and has no chance of making it. Denmark Chelsea's Andreas Christensen and Brentford's Henrik Dalsgaard were sent home early from the squads for the spring friendlies, the former because of 'exhaustion' and the latter excused to spend some time with his newborn daughter. Both have been told that they are certainties for Age Hareide's 23.Central defender Andreas Bjelland has been troubled by an achilles injury but has returned to the Brentford squad while Lasse Vibe, who left Griffin Park in February for the Chinese Super League's Changchun Yatai, is running out of time to prove his fitness and sharpness after heel and hamstring injuries blighted the first half of his season. World Cup 2018 stadiums France Laurent Koscielny will miss the tournament after rupturing his achilles tendon in Arsenal's Europa League semi-final, second leg against Atletico Madrid. Benjamin Mendy has been out since September with a cruciate ligament injury but has been training with Manchester City's first-team squad since the beginning of March and should be back before the end of the season. If the left-back makes it he may go straight into the starting XI given Layvin Kurzawa's recent loss of form at PSG. Florian Thauvin, who has gone from zero to hero on his return from Newcastle to Marseille, should overcome a hamstring injury to make it but squad stalwarts Alexandre Lacazette, Moussa Sissoko and Dimitri Payet may all miss out after disappointing domestic seasons. Djibril Sidibe has injured the meniscus in his right knee and will miss the end of Monaco's season but the right-back hopes to be back in time to make Didier Deschamps' XXIII. Peru First-choice goalkeeper Pedro Gallese had knee surgery to correct a meniscus problem last February and though he is behind schedule to return for his Mexican league club Veracruz, remains confident that he will be ready for the friendly against Scotland on May 29. Veteran striker and captain Paolo Guerrero is currently serving a six-month ban after testing positive for cocaine and other banned drugs following Peru's draw with Argentina last October. Peru will bring their famous kit to the World Cup finals for the first time since 1982 Credit: FEDERICO PARRA/AFP/Getty Images His suspension, reduced on appeal, ends on May 3 but his second appeal will be heard by the Court of Arbitration for Sport before then as he continues to maintain he was the victim of contaminated food. Group D Argentina Ramiro Funes Mori's return to Everton's bench on the last day of March after more than a year out with a knee injury is a fillip to Jorge Sampaoli and his creaking defence. Roma winger Diego Perotti should return from a calf strain by the middle of April but Boca Juniors' playmaker Fernando Gago and centre-forward Dario Benedetto have been ruled out by their club who hope to have them back for pre-season training though neither severe knee-injury victim has given up hope of 11th-hour breakthroughs in their recovery regimes. World Cup Russian host cities you've never heard of Croatia Veterans Danijel Subasic, Dejan Lovren, Marcelo Brozovic, Ivan Perisic, Luka Modric, Nikola Kalinic and Mario Mandzukic all withdrew from last month's two-match tour to the United States to conserve their energies but they are fit and certainties for the squad barring any late setbacks. Ante Rebic, the Eintracht Frankfurt winger, and Fiorentina's defensive midfielder Milan Baldelj have missed games in April with a torn calf and rib injuries respectively but are due back before the end of the month and should take their places in Zlatko Dalic's 23. Iceland The medial ligament injury Gylfi Sigurdsson sustained in his right knee when playing for Everton against Brighton at the beginning of March was expected to end his domestic season while keeping a glimmer of hope alive that he would be fit for Russia. Sam Allardyce said he would personally deliver a 'b---------' to the employee who released a statement saying he was out for eight weeks and countered it by suggesting that the playmaker was a quick healer and may be back before May which gives Heimir Hallgrimsson grounds for optimism. Alfreð Finnbogason, the Augsburg centre-forward, who has been out since the end of January with a calf injury, is expected to make his comeback in mid April. Nigeria Wilfred Ndidi will miss the end of Leicester' season with a hamstring damaged during their walloping by Crystal Palace on April 28. His team-mate Kelechi Iheanacho broke his hand while playing for the Super Eagles during their defeat by Serbia last month but returned to bench duty for Leicester after missing only one Premier League game. Henry Onyekuru, the Everton forward who is spending 2017-18 on loan at Anderlecht, underwent knee ligament surgery in December but insisted he would be in contention to make the squad. On April 2 he returned to first-team training and says he will be ready to play and add to his nine league goals in 19 appearances before the month is out. Group E Brazil Neymar's metatarsal injury on Feb 25 threatened to turn into another bout of national self-flagellation and despondency but the initial prognosis that he would be out for 12 weeks still gives him time to recover and subsequent revisions of his estimated absence that have shaved four weeks off his return date should allow him to find some sharpness, too. Philippe Coutinho's ropey form since moving to Barcelona will not discourage Tite, who will use the Anfield friendly against Croatia at the start of June to reacquaint him with his best days alongside familiar faces in familiar surroundings. Filipe Luis, the Atlético left-back and back-up to Marcelo, fractured his fibula in mid-March but is hopeful of returning should Diego Simeone's team qualify for the Europa League final. Tite has never had much time for David Luiz's qualities and though the centre-back, whose knee injury has kept him out of Chelsea's squad since the middle of February, is striving to put himself in contention, his quest will probably be in vain. Costa Rica Joel Campbell, remarkably still an Arsenal player, injured his ankle while playing on loan for Real Betis at the end of October and has not played since. The forward reported that he was fit at the end of February and has returned to full training so seems likely to make the cut for the squad even if he will be woefully lacking match fitness, not that it did Paolo Rossi much harm in 1982 nor Marco van Basten at Euro 88. New York City left-back Ronald Matarrita has a hamstring injury that has hampered his preparations and Portland Timbers' defensive midfielder David Guzman has missed the past fortnight with a sprained knee sustained on international duty. The state of Neymar's health has become a Brazilian obsession Credit: REUTERS/Stephane Mahe Switzerland Vladimir Petkovic expects Udinese's Valon Behrami to recover from his shoulder injury in a couple of weeks and has no other pressing concerns. Eren Derdiyok. Admir Mehmedi and Xherdan Shaqiri all sat out the recent friendlies (a 1-0 victory over Greece and a 6-0 thrashing of Panama) but should make the final squad when it is announced on May 14. Serbia Matija Nastasic damaged knee ligaments on April 12 playing for Schalke and the best prognosis for the centre-half is a six-week recuperation. Mladen Krstajic, a fine defender for Partizan, Werder Bremen, Schalke and the national team but a rookie coach appointed to this, his first job, only last December, has all his core players fit and only Benfica's Ljubomir Fejsa, the defensive midfielder who has won 10 successive league titles across three countries, suffering from recurring but minor, niggling problems. Fejsa has not played for Serbia since 2016 and would be a back-up only to Nemanja Matic and Luka Milivojevic if he makes the squad but would be a contender for tattoo of the tournament for the chest tableau that commemorates his return from serious injury while playing for Partizan and his later triumphs with Olympiakos and Benfica. ...⚽️❗️....done✔️ #f5 #justdone #stillfresh Obrigado Mareeee���� @maretattoo A post shared by Fejsa Ljubomir & Suzana (@fejsa5) on Mar 25, 2018 at 1:42pm PDT Group F Germany Borussia Monchengladbach's Lars Stindl is out with an ankle injury but Manuel Neuer returned to full goalkeeper training on April 5 after six months out having fractured a metatarsal in his left foot for the third time in a year and undergone surgery to insert a plate to protect the bone. The Bayern Munich and Germany captain has manged only three Bundesliga appearances this season yet, although Joachim Löw has benefited from his absence by exploiting it to give Marc-Andre Ter Stegen valuable international experience, the world champions will go to the wire to include Neuer. Jerome Boateng, though, is a serious doubt after injuring his knee during the first leg of Bayern Munich's Champions League semi-final against Real Madrid. Boateng was injured during Bayern Munich's Champions League semi-final against Real Madrid Credit: ODD ANDERSEN/AFP/Getty Images Marco Reus, who missed the 2014 World Cup and Euro 2016 with ankle and groin injuries, made his comeback from cruciate ligament surgery in February after eight months out and Borussia Dortmund have nursed his return, allowing him time off to recover from soreness, over the past few weeks. "With Marco," said Löw, "it's important to us that he is brought to the top level carefully and without further pressure and that he gains in stability." Mario Götze, the scorer of the winning goal at Maracana, was left out of the squad for the spring friendlies after a dip in form while his Dortmund team-mate and World Cup final goal-provider Andre Schürrle, finally free of knee and achilles injuries, has impressed Löw sufficiently to reassure him that he still has a chance but has yet to earn a call-up. Mexico Giovani Dos Santos should be back for LA Galaxy by the end of April after his hamstring injury in early March and will resume his place in Mexico's midfield alongside Porto captain Hector Herrera who travelled with the national team for the spring double header against Iceland and Croatia but was sent back to his club for treatment because of an unspecified muscle injury. Starting central defender Carlos Salcedeo broke his collarbone during the defeat by Croatia and had surgery to have it pinned but is expected to return for Eintracht Frankfurt just before the end of the season. Another key defender, Nestor Araujo who plays for Santos Laguna, was also injured in the same match and has had keyhole surgery to repair meniscus damage. He, too, is expected to make a first-team comeback before the squad deadline of May 14. South Korea Shin Tae-yong's greatest concern last month as he prepares for his first tournament since moving up from U-20 manager to secure qualification centred not on fitness but the fatigue of Son Heung-min after a long season and a gruelling buil-up to it. "For most Europe-based players, they are used to getting in shape in August before the new season starts. I'm really worried that Son's form might go down from May, with his concentration waning and him becoming physically exhausted," he said. Former Middlesbrough striker Lee Dong-gook, a member of the France 98 squad at the age of 18, harbours hopes of a place after a recall last September for the final qualifier against Uzbekistan but he has not been picked since. The sitter he missed against Uruguay at the 2010 World Cup haunted him for years but most supporters seem to have forgiven him and would welcome the selection of the K-League's highest scorer. Sweden It would be unfair for Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who played no part in qualification having retired after Euro 2016, to overshadow the preparations of the squad in making it to Russia but his possible return, despite his controversial link-up with a betting firm that would seem to preclude him being recalled under Fifa regulations, is dominating their build-up. "Just as with the national team, if I want to play, I’ll play," he said. Zlatan Ibrahimovic has not ruled out a comeback Credit: AP Photo/Jae C. Hong “This is not a question for Fifa, it’s a question for me and what I want.” Janne Andersson has no injury worries with a month to go but the inexperience of all his goalkeepers must be a cause of some disquiet. Robin Olsen performed heroically against Italy in the second leg of the play-off but he has only 16 caps and the manager has tried several alternatives in pursuit of an undisputed No1. Group G Belgium Michy Batshuayi, having scored nine goals in 14 games during a terrific loan spell at Dortmund, left the field on a stretcher on April 15 after sustaining an ankle injury during the derby defeat by Schalke that has ended his season but not his World Cup chances even if they are now very slim indeed. Vincent Kompany's return to form and fitness has removed Roberto Martínez's most long-standing doubt though Christian Benteke's travails in front of goal for Crystal Palace had put his chances of a squad place as a back-up to Romelu Lukaku at serious risk until Batshuayi's injury. Nacer Chadli has missed West Brom's doomed 'fight' against relegation since December with hip and thigh injuries but Albion report that he is ready to return on April 21 after an impressive showing in training. Thibaut Courtois has recovered from the hamstring injury that kept him out of the spring friendlies and Chelsea's defeat by Spurs for whom Toby Alderweireld remains on the peripheries, which must be a worry for Martínez. England Liverpool pair Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Joe Gomez miss the tournament through injury but team-mate Nathaniel Clyne is making gradual returns to first-team football and may be a late contender for a squad place. Phil Jones has suffered recurrent hamstring injuries this season and, although he is now fit while Jack Wilshere, who withdrew from the spring squads, remains an outsider as does Ruben Loftus-Cheek who has returned to Palace's side after three months out with an ankle injury and knee pain. Adam Lallana has endured a desperate run with injuries Credit: Action Images via Reuters/Matthew Childs Nathaniel Chalobah joined the England squad in March to continue his rehabilitation from a fractured knee-cap but is unlikely to play for Watford before the season's end while Daniel Sturridge was out for two months with a hamstring injury that has turned his loan move to West Bromwich into an exorbitant farce. Adam Lallana has gone to South Africa for rehab therapy on his injured hamstring and Gareth Southgate is understood to be willing to give him until May 13 to prove he can make it but that has to be a serious doubt after a couple of injury-wrecked seasons. Panama The World Cup finals debutants have no injuries to report and Hernán Darío Gómez has a full-strength squad of relatively unknown but remarkably experienced players - the 24 men picked for the spring friendlies averaged 59 caps each - ready for Russia. Tunisia Tunisia have suffered the worst blow of all 32 teams to date, losing their playmaker Youssef Msakni, who suffered a cruciate knee ligament injury on April 7 that will keep him out for at least six months. The attacking midfielder, who has 49 caps, tore an anterior ligament playing for his Qatar Stars League club, Al-Duhail, against Al-Sailiya. Nabil Maloul, Tunisia's manager, was asked in March what Msakni's absence would mean when the player could not feature in the spring friendlies because of a minor meniscus problem that required 10 days' rest, he said it would be like Argentina going to Russia without Lionel Messi. Group H Colombia Juan Cuadrado gave Jose Pekerman a scare by injuring his groin back in January and the initial prognosis, that he would be out for at least three months after surgery, possibly six, was discouraging. But the winger made his return for Juventus ahead of schedule last month while Sampdoria's Duvan Zapata, who missed their match with Cagliari on April 28, should also make it back before the end of the season. Japan Turmoil at management level - Akira Nishino replaced Vahid Halilhodzic at the beginning of April - contrasts with relative serenity over options for selection. Second-choice keeper, Masaaki Higashiguchi, fractured his cheekbone on April 21 but is likely to make the World Cup 23 even if he has to play in a face mask for precautionary reasons. Marseille defender Hiroki Sakai was ruled out for three weeks in April with a medial collateral ligament strain in his left knee and misses both legs of their Europa League semifinal against Red Bull Salzburg but is confident of recovering in time to participate in Russia. World Cup 2018 venues Poland Veteran midfielder, the live blogger's friend Jakub Blaszczykowski, made his first start for Hamburg since February on April 28 and should be fit to make a squad that has no major current concerns about its key components. Artur Boruc, who had 60 caps, announced his international retirement last year bur had long since taken the role of third banana behind Lukasz Fabianski and Wojciech Szczesny. Senegal Monaco's fiery forward Keita Balde has been out since April 7 with a hamstring injury but should be back for the St Etienne game on May 12.The principal worry for Aliou Cisse concered his centre-back and vice-captain Kara Mbodji, who has not played since before Christmas following knee surgery for an injury he picked up playing for Anderlecht. After thrice-daily rehab sessions, Kara says he hopes to be involved for their final league game against Club Brugge on May 6.
World Cup 2018 squad guide: Latest group news and updates
Each of the 31 qualifiers for the 2018 World Cup plus the hosts will name their provisional 35 man squads for the tournament by the deadline on May 14, exactly a month before the opening game between Russia and Saudi Arabia on June 14 at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow. They will then have until June 4 to cull the numbers down to 23. Those who do not make the cut are likely to be placed on standby in case they are needed to replace any injured players. Replacements can be made at any point until 24 hours before each team's first World Cup game. Here is what we know so far about who is available and who is struggling to make it. Group A Egypt No significant injury worries for Héctor Cúper, not even over the 45-year-old goalkeeper and captain Essam El-Hadary who is firmly on course to become the oldest player in finals history. There are wider concerns over the form of West Brom's shell-shocked Ahmed Hegazi but it is countered by Mohamed Salah's during his outstanding debut season at Liverpool. Russia Stanislav Cherchisov has been tasked with taking the hosts to the last four at least, which will be difficult given their results in a very taxing build-up programme - defeated by Portugal, Mexico, Argentina, Brazil and France. Aleksandr Kokorin, the 27-year-old Zenit winger who scored Russia's goal in the draw with Algeria during the 2014 tournament, is all but certain to miss the World Cup having damaged his ACL in mid March. Igor Denisov, the Lokomotiv defensive midfielder and Russia captain under Fabio Capello, fell out with Cherchisov years ago at Dynamo Moscow and the manager has refused to pick him while arguments between Cherchisov and the 6ft 5in striker Artem Dzyuba threaten his involvement. CSKA twins Aleksei and Vasily Berezutski retired after Euro 2016 and have refused the manager's entreaties to return to the squad at the age of 35 following the serious knee injuries suffered by Viktor Vasin and Georgi Dzhikiya. Saudi Arabia The only team at the tournament ranked lower than the hosts, it's a fortuitous coincidence for Russia that they were drawn out to play the curtain-raiser. A resounding defeat by Belgium in March was forgivable but their 4-1 loss inIraq the month before has provoked understandable disquiet. Decisions to send the midfielders Yahya Al-Shehri, Salem Al-Dawsari and Fahad Al-Muwallad on loan to Leganes, Villarreal and Levante respectively in January has backfired. None of the national team stalwarts had played a minute of Liga football by the end of March 2018. Uruguay Oscar Tabárez's team looks as powerful as ever, built around the relentless, uncompromising defensive work of Diego Godín, the attacking prowess of Edinson Cavani and Luis Suárez supplied by Gastón Ramírez and now with the young, athletic Juventus midfielder Rodrigo Bentancur to add drive to the usual steel. Veteran defender Martín Cáceres has a calf injury that had restricted him to only one appearance by the end of March following his transfer from Verona after that dreadful year at Southampton and remains the major doubt. World Cup predictor Group B Iran Ashkan Dejagah, a Bundesliga title-winner with Wolfsburg and fondly remembered by Fulham fans who elected him player of the year in 2013-14, returned to England with Nottingham Forest as a free agent in January but suffered a knee injury the following month that will keep him out until the end of April. The 31-year-old midfielder, who played all three group matches in Brazil four years ago, is Carlos Queiroz's only significant injury worry. Captain Masoud Shojaei has returned to the squad after seven months and has so far overcome opposition from the deputy sports minister and another parliamentarian for playing for Panionios against Maccabi Tel Aviv in a Europa League qualifier. A national team life ban for playing against a representative of a state Iran does not recognise had been proposed but Queiroz ignored the calls. Morocco The African Nations champions qualified without conceding a goal and three-quarters of the defence that earned them their enviable record - Nabil Dirar, Mehdi Benatia and Romain Saiss - are all fit and in impressive form. The versatile Real Madrid prodigy, Achraf Hakimi, however, was withdrawn from the squad for the March friendlies when injured on the first day of training and is likely to miss a few weeks while the midfielder Ait Bennasser, who hurt his thigh while playing for Caen against Angers in March, is not expected to be back on contention until the beginning of May at the earliest. Zouhair Feddal, who plays at left-back for Real Betis, ruptured his Achilles in February and, barring a miracle, will miss the World Cup. England's World Cup 2018 squad - ranked Portugal Renato Sanches, who was so sensational at Euro 2016 that Bayern Munich agreed a deal to sign the teenage midfielder that committed them to spending as much as £72m for him, has endured a wretched run of form and fitness ever since. His latest hamstring injury while on loan at Swansea has kept him sidelined since mid January and the Premier League club sent him back to Munich at the end of March for treatment, admitting he might not return. But, to much surprise, he returned to the matchday squad for the visit of Chelsea on April 28 but didn't get on in the 1-0 defeat. Major concerns persist over the durability of the veteran central defenders - Jose Fonte and Bruno Silva, 34 and 36 respectively - who are currently fit but have had lengthy lay-offs in recent months while the 35-year-old Pepe is nursing a broken toe. Spain No significant injury concerns so far for Julen Lopetegui but the form of Alvaro Morata at Chelsea has been a worry and led to him being left out of the squad for the spring friendlies. Diego Costa, in the rudest of health and spirit at Atlético Madrid, should lead the line which may make a romantic recall for Spain's top-scorer, New York City's David Villa, at the age of 36 far more remote than it seemed last autumn. Cesc Fabregas and Bayern Munich's Javi Martínez have been notable omissions from Lopetegui's squads ever since he took over from Vicente del Bosque in 2016 and while neither are resigned to missing out, recalls at this late stage are extremely unlikely. Group C Australia Bert van Marwijk, appointed in January on a seven-month contract, recalled the goalkeeper Brad Jones after four years out of international football in his first squad and the former Liverpool reserve, now with Feyenoord, has a good chance of making it to Russia in place of Adam Federici, the Bournemouth back-up, who has not played for 15 months after suffering back-to-back knee injuries. Matthew Spiranovic, a free agent since his release by Zhejiang Greentown in February, will pay the price for not heeding former manager Ange Postecoglou who repeatedly warned him that playing in the Chinese second division was not adequate preparation for a World Cup place. Melbourne Victory centre-half Rhys Williams, hoping to make his first World Cup after injury ruled him out of South Africa and Brazil, tore his calf on April 29 and looks like making it third time unlucky. Kaiserslautern's Brandon Borrello ruptured his ACL during a training session in the last week of April and has no chance of making it. Denmark Chelsea's Andreas Christensen and Brentford's Henrik Dalsgaard were sent home early from the squads for the spring friendlies, the former because of 'exhaustion' and the latter excused to spend some time with his newborn daughter. Both have been told that they are certainties for Age Hareide's 23.Central defender Andreas Bjelland has been troubled by an achilles injury but has returned to the Brentford squad while Lasse Vibe, who left Griffin Park in February for the Chinese Super League's Changchun Yatai, is running out of time to prove his fitness and sharpness after heel and hamstring injuries blighted the first half of his season. World Cup 2018 stadiums France Laurent Koscielny will miss the tournament after rupturing his achilles tendon in Arsenal's Europa League semi-final, second leg against Atletico Madrid. Benjamin Mendy has been out since September with a cruciate ligament injury but has been training with Manchester City's first-team squad since the beginning of March and should be back before the end of the season. If the left-back makes it he may go straight into the starting XI given Layvin Kurzawa's recent loss of form at PSG. Florian Thauvin, who has gone from zero to hero on his return from Newcastle to Marseille, should overcome a hamstring injury to make it but squad stalwarts Alexandre Lacazette, Moussa Sissoko and Dimitri Payet may all miss out after disappointing domestic seasons. Djibril Sidibe has injured the meniscus in his right knee and will miss the end of Monaco's season but the right-back hopes to be back in time to make Didier Deschamps' XXIII. Peru First-choice goalkeeper Pedro Gallese had knee surgery to correct a meniscus problem last February and though he is behind schedule to return for his Mexican league club Veracruz, remains confident that he will be ready for the friendly against Scotland on May 29. Veteran striker and captain Paolo Guerrero is currently serving a six-month ban after testing positive for cocaine and other banned drugs following Peru's draw with Argentina last October. Peru will bring their famous kit to the World Cup finals for the first time since 1982 Credit: FEDERICO PARRA/AFP/Getty Images His suspension, reduced on appeal, ends on May 3 but his second appeal will be heard by the Court of Arbitration for Sport before then as he continues to maintain he was the victim of contaminated food. Group D Argentina Ramiro Funes Mori's return to Everton's bench on the last day of March after more than a year out with a knee injury is a fillip to Jorge Sampaoli and his creaking defence. Roma winger Diego Perotti should return from a calf strain by the middle of April but Boca Juniors' playmaker Fernando Gago and centre-forward Dario Benedetto have been ruled out by their club who hope to have them back for pre-season training though neither severe knee-injury victim has given up hope of 11th-hour breakthroughs in their recovery regimes. World Cup Russian host cities you've never heard of Croatia Veterans Danijel Subasic, Dejan Lovren, Marcelo Brozovic, Ivan Perisic, Luka Modric, Nikola Kalinic and Mario Mandzukic all withdrew from last month's two-match tour to the United States to conserve their energies but they are fit and certainties for the squad barring any late setbacks. Ante Rebic, the Eintracht Frankfurt winger, and Fiorentina's defensive midfielder Milan Baldelj have missed games in April with a torn calf and rib injuries respectively but are due back before the end of the month and should take their places in Zlatko Dalic's 23. Iceland The medial ligament injury Gylfi Sigurdsson sustained in his right knee when playing for Everton against Brighton at the beginning of March was expected to end his domestic season while keeping a glimmer of hope alive that he would be fit for Russia. Sam Allardyce said he would personally deliver a 'b---------' to the employee who released a statement saying he was out for eight weeks and countered it by suggesting that the playmaker was a quick healer and may be back before May which gives Heimir Hallgrimsson grounds for optimism. Alfreð Finnbogason, the Augsburg centre-forward, who has been out since the end of January with a calf injury, is expected to make his comeback in mid April. Nigeria Wilfred Ndidi will miss the end of Leicester' season with a hamstring damaged during their walloping by Crystal Palace on April 28. His team-mate Kelechi Iheanacho broke his hand while playing for the Super Eagles during their defeat by Serbia last month but returned to bench duty for Leicester after missing only one Premier League game. Henry Onyekuru, the Everton forward who is spending 2017-18 on loan at Anderlecht, underwent knee ligament surgery in December but insisted he would be in contention to make the squad. On April 2 he returned to first-team training and says he will be ready to play and add to his nine league goals in 19 appearances before the month is out. Group E Brazil Neymar's metatarsal injury on Feb 25 threatened to turn into another bout of national self-flagellation and despondency but the initial prognosis that he would be out for 12 weeks still gives him time to recover and subsequent revisions of his estimated absence that have shaved four weeks off his return date should allow him to find some sharpness, too. Philippe Coutinho's ropey form since moving to Barcelona will not discourage Tite, who will use the Anfield friendly against Croatia at the start of June to reacquaint him with his best days alongside familiar faces in familiar surroundings. Filipe Luis, the Atlético left-back and back-up to Marcelo, fractured his fibula in mid-March but is hopeful of returning should Diego Simeone's team qualify for the Europa League final. Tite has never had much time for David Luiz's qualities and though the centre-back, whose knee injury has kept him out of Chelsea's squad since the middle of February, is striving to put himself in contention, his quest will probably be in vain. Costa Rica Joel Campbell, remarkably still an Arsenal player, injured his ankle while playing on loan for Real Betis at the end of October and has not played since. The forward reported that he was fit at the end of February and has returned to full training so seems likely to make the cut for the squad even if he will be woefully lacking match fitness, not that it did Paolo Rossi much harm in 1982 nor Marco van Basten at Euro 88. New York City left-back Ronald Matarrita has a hamstring injury that has hampered his preparations and Portland Timbers' defensive midfielder David Guzman has missed the past fortnight with a sprained knee sustained on international duty. The state of Neymar's health has become a Brazilian obsession Credit: REUTERS/Stephane Mahe Switzerland Vladimir Petkovic expects Udinese's Valon Behrami to recover from his shoulder injury in a couple of weeks and has no other pressing concerns. Eren Derdiyok. Admir Mehmedi and Xherdan Shaqiri all sat out the recent friendlies (a 1-0 victory over Greece and a 6-0 thrashing of Panama) but should make the final squad when it is announced on May 14. Serbia Matija Nastasic damaged knee ligaments on April 12 playing for Schalke and the best prognosis for the centre-half is a six-week recuperation. Mladen Krstajic, a fine defender for Partizan, Werder Bremen, Schalke and the national team but a rookie coach appointed to this, his first job, only last December, has all his core players fit and only Benfica's Ljubomir Fejsa, the defensive midfielder who has won 10 successive league titles across three countries, suffering from recurring but minor, niggling problems. Fejsa has not played for Serbia since 2016 and would be a back-up only to Nemanja Matic and Luka Milivojevic if he makes the squad but would be a contender for tattoo of the tournament for the chest tableau that commemorates his return from serious injury while playing for Partizan and his later triumphs with Olympiakos and Benfica. ...⚽️❗️....done✔️ #f5 #justdone #stillfresh Obrigado Mareeee���� @maretattoo A post shared by Fejsa Ljubomir & Suzana (@fejsa5) on Mar 25, 2018 at 1:42pm PDT Group F Germany Borussia Monchengladbach's Lars Stindl is out with an ankle injury but Manuel Neuer returned to full goalkeeper training on April 5 after six months out having fractured a metatarsal in his left foot for the third time in a year and undergone surgery to insert a plate to protect the bone. The Bayern Munich and Germany captain has manged only three Bundesliga appearances this season yet, although Joachim Löw has benefited from his absence by exploiting it to give Marc-Andre Ter Stegen valuable international experience, the world champions will go to the wire to include Neuer. Jerome Boateng, though, is a serious doubt after injuring his knee during the first leg of Bayern Munich's Champions League semi-final against Real Madrid. Boateng was injured during Bayern Munich's Champions League semi-final against Real Madrid Credit: ODD ANDERSEN/AFP/Getty Images Marco Reus, who missed the 2014 World Cup and Euro 2016 with ankle and groin injuries, made his comeback from cruciate ligament surgery in February after eight months out and Borussia Dortmund have nursed his return, allowing him time off to recover from soreness, over the past few weeks. "With Marco," said Löw, "it's important to us that he is brought to the top level carefully and without further pressure and that he gains in stability." Mario Götze, the scorer of the winning goal at Maracana, was left out of the squad for the spring friendlies after a dip in form while his Dortmund team-mate and World Cup final goal-provider Andre Schürrle, finally free of knee and achilles injuries, has impressed Löw sufficiently to reassure him that he still has a chance but has yet to earn a call-up. Mexico Giovani Dos Santos should be back for LA Galaxy by the end of April after his hamstring injury in early March and will resume his place in Mexico's midfield alongside Porto captain Hector Herrera who travelled with the national team for the spring double header against Iceland and Croatia but was sent back to his club for treatment because of an unspecified muscle injury. Starting central defender Carlos Salcedeo broke his collarbone during the defeat by Croatia and had surgery to have it pinned but is expected to return for Eintracht Frankfurt just before the end of the season. Another key defender, Nestor Araujo who plays for Santos Laguna, was also injured in the same match and has had keyhole surgery to repair meniscus damage. He, too, is expected to make a first-team comeback before the squad deadline of May 14. South Korea Shin Tae-yong's greatest concern last month as he prepares for his first tournament since moving up from U-20 manager to secure qualification centred not on fitness but the fatigue of Son Heung-min after a long season and a gruelling buil-up to it. "For most Europe-based players, they are used to getting in shape in August before the new season starts. I'm really worried that Son's form might go down from May, with his concentration waning and him becoming physically exhausted," he said. Former Middlesbrough striker Lee Dong-gook, a member of the France 98 squad at the age of 18, harbours hopes of a place after a recall last September for the final qualifier against Uzbekistan but he has not been picked since. The sitter he missed against Uruguay at the 2010 World Cup haunted him for years but most supporters seem to have forgiven him and would welcome the selection of the K-League's highest scorer. Sweden It would be unfair for Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who played no part in qualification having retired after Euro 2016, to overshadow the preparations of the squad in making it to Russia but his possible return, despite his controversial link-up with a betting firm that would seem to preclude him being recalled under Fifa regulations, is dominating their build-up. "Just as with the national team, if I want to play, I’ll play," he said. Zlatan Ibrahimovic has not ruled out a comeback Credit: AP Photo/Jae C. Hong “This is not a question for Fifa, it’s a question for me and what I want.” Janne Andersson has no injury worries with a month to go but the inexperience of all his goalkeepers must be a cause of some disquiet. Robin Olsen performed heroically against Italy in the second leg of the play-off but he has only 16 caps and the manager has tried several alternatives in pursuit of an undisputed No1. Group G Belgium Michy Batshuayi, having scored nine goals in 14 games during a terrific loan spell at Dortmund, left the field on a stretcher on April 15 after sustaining an ankle injury during the derby defeat by Schalke that has ended his season but not his World Cup chances even if they are now very slim indeed. Vincent Kompany's return to form and fitness has removed Roberto Martínez's most long-standing doubt though Christian Benteke's travails in front of goal for Crystal Palace had put his chances of a squad place as a back-up to Romelu Lukaku at serious risk until Batshuayi's injury. Nacer Chadli has missed West Brom's doomed 'fight' against relegation since December with hip and thigh injuries but Albion report that he is ready to return on April 21 after an impressive showing in training. Thibaut Courtois has recovered from the hamstring injury that kept him out of the spring friendlies and Chelsea's defeat by Spurs for whom Toby Alderweireld remains on the peripheries, which must be a worry for Martínez. England Liverpool pair Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Joe Gomez miss the tournament through injury but team-mate Nathaniel Clyne is making gradual returns to first-team football and may be a late contender for a squad place. Phil Jones has suffered recurrent hamstring injuries this season and, although he is now fit while Jack Wilshere, who withdrew from the spring squads, remains an outsider as does Ruben Loftus-Cheek who has returned to Palace's side after three months out with an ankle injury and knee pain. Adam Lallana has endured a desperate run with injuries Credit: Action Images via Reuters/Matthew Childs Nathaniel Chalobah joined the England squad in March to continue his rehabilitation from a fractured knee-cap but is unlikely to play for Watford before the season's end while Daniel Sturridge was out for two months with a hamstring injury that has turned his loan move to West Bromwich into an exorbitant farce. Adam Lallana has gone to South Africa for rehab therapy on his injured hamstring and Gareth Southgate is understood to be willing to give him until May 13 to prove he can make it but that has to be a serious doubt after a couple of injury-wrecked seasons. Panama The World Cup finals debutants have no injuries to report and Hernán Darío Gómez has a full-strength squad of relatively unknown but remarkably experienced players - the 24 men picked for the spring friendlies averaged 59 caps each - ready for Russia. Tunisia Tunisia have suffered the worst blow of all 32 teams to date, losing their playmaker Youssef Msakni, who suffered a cruciate knee ligament injury on April 7 that will keep him out for at least six months. The attacking midfielder, who has 49 caps, tore an anterior ligament playing for his Qatar Stars League club, Al-Duhail, against Al-Sailiya. Nabil Maloul, Tunisia's manager, was asked in March what Msakni's absence would mean when the player could not feature in the spring friendlies because of a minor meniscus problem that required 10 days' rest, he said it would be like Argentina going to Russia without Lionel Messi. Group H Colombia Juan Cuadrado gave Jose Pekerman a scare by injuring his groin back in January and the initial prognosis, that he would be out for at least three months after surgery, possibly six, was discouraging. But the winger made his return for Juventus ahead of schedule last month while Sampdoria's Duvan Zapata, who missed their match with Cagliari on April 28, should also make it back before the end of the season. Japan Turmoil at management level - Akira Nishino replaced Vahid Halilhodzic at the beginning of April - contrasts with relative serenity over options for selection. Second-choice keeper, Masaaki Higashiguchi, fractured his cheekbone on April 21 but is likely to make the World Cup 23 even if he has to play in a face mask for precautionary reasons. Marseille defender Hiroki Sakai was ruled out for three weeks in April with a medial collateral ligament strain in his left knee and misses both legs of their Europa League semifinal against Red Bull Salzburg but is confident of recovering in time to participate in Russia. World Cup 2018 venues Poland Veteran midfielder, the live blogger's friend Jakub Blaszczykowski, made his first start for Hamburg since February on April 28 and should be fit to make a squad that has no major current concerns about its key components. Artur Boruc, who had 60 caps, announced his international retirement last year bur had long since taken the role of third banana behind Lukasz Fabianski and Wojciech Szczesny. Senegal Monaco's fiery forward Keita Balde has been out since April 7 with a hamstring injury but should be back for the St Etienne game on May 12.The principal worry for Aliou Cisse concered his centre-back and vice-captain Kara Mbodji, who has not played since before Christmas following knee surgery for an injury he picked up playing for Anderlecht. After thrice-daily rehab sessions, Kara says he hopes to be involved for their final league game against Club Brugge on May 6.
Benfica had won four successive titles but their dominance ended after Saturday's draw against Sporting CP as Porto were crowned champions
Porto crowned Portuguese champions after Benfica-Sporting draw
Benfica had won four successive titles but their dominance ended after Saturday's draw against Sporting CP as Porto were crowned champions
FC Porto won its first Portuguese league title in five seasons after a draw by rivals Benfica and Sporting Lisbon left both out of contention on Saturday.
Primeira Liga: FC Porto seal first title in five seasons after rivals Benfica draw with Sporting Lisbon
FC Porto won its first Portuguese league title in five seasons after a draw by rivals Benfica and Sporting Lisbon left both out of contention on Saturday.
Benfica had won four successive titles but their dominance ended after Saturday's draw against Sporting CP as Porto were crowned champions
Porto crowned Portuguese champions after Benfica-Sporting draw
Benfica had won four successive titles but their dominance ended after Saturday's draw against Sporting CP as Porto were crowned champions
Benfica had won four successive titles but their dominance ended after Saturday's draw against Sporting CP as Porto were crowned champions.
Porto crowned Portuguese champions after Benfica-Sporting draw
Benfica had won four successive titles but their dominance ended after Saturday's draw against Sporting CP as Porto were crowned champions.
FC Porto players celebrate with supporters their championship win in the Portuguese league in front of a hotel, in Espinho, Portugal. FC Porto wins the league title for the 28th time after Sporting CP and Benfica tied 0-0 tonight in Lisbon. EFE
FC Porto players celebrate with supporters their championship win in the Portuguese league in front of a hotel, in Espinho, Portugal. FC Porto wins the league title for the 28th time after Sporting CP and Benfica tied 0-0 tonight in Lisbon. EFE
FC Porto players celebrate with supporters their championship win in the Portuguese league in front of a hotel, in Espinho, Portugal. FC Porto wins the league title for the 28th time after Sporting CP and Benfica tied 0-0 tonight in Lisbon. EFE
Sporting CP's Bruno Fernandes (L) in action against Benfica´s Fejsa (R) during their Portuguese First League soccer match at Alvalade Stadium in Lisbon, Portugal. EFE
Sporting CP's Bruno Fernandes (L) in action against Benfica´s Fejsa (R) during their Portuguese First League soccer match at Alvalade Stadium in Lisbon, Portugal. EFE
Sporting CP's Bruno Fernandes (L) in action against Benfica´s Fejsa (R) during their Portuguese First League soccer match at Alvalade Stadium in Lisbon, Portugal. EFE
Sporting CP's Bruno Fernandes (R) in action against Benfica´s Grimaldo (L) during their Portuguese First League soccer match at Alvalade Stadium in Lisbon, Portugal. EFE
Sporting CP's Bruno Fernandes (R) in action against Benfica´s Grimaldo (L) during their Portuguese First League soccer match at Alvalade Stadium in Lisbon, Portugal. EFE
Sporting CP's Bruno Fernandes (R) in action against Benfica´s Grimaldo (L) during their Portuguese First League soccer match at Alvalade Stadium in Lisbon, Portugal. EFE
MFAR. Espinho (Portugal), 05/05/2018.- FC Porto players celebrate with supporters their championship win in the Portuguese league in front of a hotel, in Espinho, Portugal, 05 May 2018. FC Porto wins the league title for the 28th time after Sporting CP and Benfica tied 0-0 tonight in Lisbon. (Liga de Campeones, Lisboa) EFE/EPA/MANUEL FERNANDO ARAUJO
MFAR. Espinho (Portugal), 05/05/2018.- FC Porto players celebrate with supporters their championship win in the Portuguese league in front of a hotel, in Espinho, Portugal, 05 May 2018. FC Porto wins the league title for the 28th time after Sporting CP and Benfica tied 0-0 tonight in Lisbon. (Liga de Campeones, Lisboa) EFE/EPA/MANUEL FERNANDO ARAUJO
MFAR. Espinho (Portugal), 05/05/2018.- FC Porto players celebrate with supporters their championship win in the Portuguese league in front of a hotel, in Espinho, Portugal, 05 May 2018. FC Porto wins the league title for the 28th time after Sporting CP and Benfica tied 0-0 tonight in Lisbon. (Liga de Campeones, Lisboa) EFE/EPA/MANUEL FERNANDO ARAUJO
MFAR. Espinho (Portugal), 05/05/2018.- FC Porto players celebrate with supporters their championship win in the Portuguese league in front of a hotel, in Espinho, Portugal, 05 May 2018. FC Porto wins the league title for the 28th time after Sporting CP and Benfica tied 0-0 tonight in Lisbon. (Liga de Campeones, Lisboa) EFE/EPA/MANUEL FERNANDO ARAUJO
MFAR. Espinho (Portugal), 05/05/2018.- FC Porto players celebrate with supporters their championship win in the Portuguese league in front of a hotel, in Espinho, Portugal, 05 May 2018. FC Porto wins the league title for the 28th time after Sporting CP and Benfica tied 0-0 tonight in Lisbon. (Liga de Campeones, Lisboa) EFE/EPA/MANUEL FERNANDO ARAUJO
MFAR. Espinho (Portugal), 05/05/2018.- FC Porto players celebrate with supporters their championship win in the Portuguese league in front of a hotel, in Espinho, Portugal, 05 May 2018. FC Porto wins the league title for the 28th time after Sporting CP and Benfica tied 0-0 tonight in Lisbon. (Liga de Campeones, Lisboa) EFE/EPA/MANUEL FERNANDO ARAUJO
MFAR. Espinho (Portugal), 05/05/2018.- FC Porto players celebrate with supporters their championship win in the Portuguese league in front of a hotel, in Espinho, Portugal, 05 May 2018. FC Porto wins the league title for the 28th time after Sporting CP and Benfica tied 0-0 tonight in Lisbon. (Liga de Campeones, Lisboa) EFE/EPA/MANUEL FERNANDO ARAUJO
MFAR. Espinho (Portugal), 05/05/2018.- FC Porto players celebrate with supporters their championship win in the Portuguese league in front of a hotel, in Espinho, Portugal, 05 May 2018. FC Porto wins the league title for the 28th time after Sporting CP and Benfica tied 0-0 tonight in Lisbon. (Liga de Campeones, Lisboa) EFE/EPA/MANUEL FERNANDO ARAUJO
MFAR. Espinho (Portugal), 05/05/2018.- FC Porto players celebrate with supporters their championship win in the Portuguese league in front of a hotel, in Espinho, Portugal, 05 May 2018. FC Porto wins the league title for the 28th time after Sporting CP and Benfica tied 0-0 tonight in Lisbon. (Liga de Campeones, Lisboa) EFE/EPA/MANUEL FERNANDO ARAUJO
MFAR. Espinho (Portugal), 05/05/2018.- FC Porto players celebrate with supporters their championship win in the Portuguese league in front of a hotel, in Espinho, Portugal, 05 May 2018. FC Porto wins the league title for the 28th time after Sporting CP and Benfica tied 0-0 tonight in Lisbon. (Liga de Campeones, Lisboa) EFE/EPA/MANUEL FERNANDO ARAUJO
MFAR. Espinho (Portugal), 05/05/2018.- FC Porto players celebrate with supporters their championship win in the Portuguese league in front of a hotel, in Espinho, Portugal, 05 May 2018. FC Porto wins the league title for the 28th time after Sporting CP and Benfica tied 0-0 tonight in Lisbon. (Liga de Campeones, Lisboa) EFE/EPA/MANUEL FERNANDO ARAUJO
MFAR. Espinho (Portugal), 05/05/2018.- FC Porto players celebrate with supporters their championship win in the Portuguese league in front of a hotel, in Espinho, Portugal, 05 May 2018. FC Porto wins the league title for the 28th time after Sporting CP and Benfica tied 0-0 tonight in Lisbon. (Liga de Campeones, Lisboa) EFE/EPA/MANUEL FERNANDO ARAUJO
Porto (Portugal), 05/05/2018.- FC Porto supporters celebrate winning the championship in the Portuguese league, at Aliados Avenue in Porto, Portugal, 05 May 2018. FC Porto wins the league title for the 28th time after Sporting CP and Benfica tied 0-0 tonight in Lisbon. (Liga de Campeones, Lisboa) EFE/EPA/FERNANDO VELUDO
Porto (Portugal), 05/05/2018.- FC Porto supporters celebrate winning the championship in the Portuguese league, at Aliados Avenue in Porto, Portugal, 05 May 2018. FC Porto wins the league title for the 28th time after Sporting CP and Benfica tied 0-0 tonight in Lisbon. (Liga de Campeones, Lisboa) EFE/EPA/FERNANDO VELUDO
Porto (Portugal), 05/05/2018.- FC Porto supporters celebrate winning the championship in the Portuguese league, at Aliados Avenue in Porto, Portugal, 05 May 2018. FC Porto wins the league title for the 28th time after Sporting CP and Benfica tied 0-0 tonight in Lisbon. (Liga de Campeones, Lisboa) EFE/EPA/FERNANDO VELUDO
Porto (Portugal), 05/05/2018.- FC Porto supporters celebrate winning the championship in the Portuguese league, at Aliados Avenue in Porto, Portugal, 05 May 2018. FC Porto wins the league title for the 28th time after Sporting CP and Benfica tied 0-0 tonight in Lisbon. (Liga de Campeones, Lisboa) EFE/EPA/FERNANDO VELUDO
Porto (Portugal), 05/05/2018.- FC Porto supporters celebrate winning the championship in the Portuguese league, at Aliados Avenue in Porto, Portugal, 05 May 2018. FC Porto wins the league title for the 28th time after Sporting CP and Benfica tied 0-0 tonight in Lisbon. (Liga de Campeones, Lisboa) EFE/EPA/FERNANDO VELUDO
Porto (Portugal), 05/05/2018.- FC Porto supporters celebrate winning the championship in the Portuguese league, at Aliados Avenue in Porto, Portugal, 05 May 2018. FC Porto wins the league title for the 28th time after Sporting CP and Benfica tied 0-0 tonight in Lisbon. (Liga de Campeones, Lisboa) EFE/EPA/FERNANDO VELUDO
Porto (Portugal), 05/05/2018.- FC Porto supporters celebrate winning the championship in the Portuguese league, at Aliados Avenue in Porto, Portugal, 05 May 2018. FC Porto wins the league title for the 28th time after Sporting CP and Benfica tied 0-0 tonight in Lisbon. (Liga de Campeones, Lisboa) EFE/EPA/FERNANDO VELUDO
Porto (Portugal), 05/05/2018.- FC Porto supporters celebrate winning the championship in the Portuguese league, at Aliados Avenue in Porto, Portugal, 05 May 2018. FC Porto wins the league title for the 28th time after Sporting CP and Benfica tied 0-0 tonight in Lisbon. (Liga de Campeones, Lisboa) EFE/EPA/FERNANDO VELUDO
Porto (Portugal), 05/05/2018.- FC Porto supporters celebrate winning the championship in the Portuguese league, at Aliados Avenue in Porto, Portugal, 05 May 2018. FC Porto wins the league title for the 28th time after Sporting CP and Benfica tied 0-0 tonight in Lisbon. (Liga de Campeones, Lisboa) EFE/EPA/FERNANDO VELUDO
Porto (Portugal), 05/05/2018.- FC Porto supporters celebrate winning the championship in the Portuguese league, at Aliados Avenue in Porto, Portugal, 05 May 2018. FC Porto wins the league title for the 28th time after Sporting CP and Benfica tied 0-0 tonight in Lisbon. (Liga de Campeones, Lisboa) EFE/EPA/FERNANDO VELUDO
Porto (Portugal), 05/05/2018.- FC Porto supporters celebrate winning the championship in the Portuguese league, at Aliados Avenue in Porto, Portugal, 05 May 2018. FC Porto wins the league title for the 28th time after Sporting CP and Benfica tied 0-0 tonight in Lisbon. (Liga de Campeones, Lisboa) EFE/EPA/FERNANDO VELUDO
Porto (Portugal), 05/05/2018.- FC Porto supporters celebrate winning the championship in the Portuguese league, at Aliados Avenue in Porto, Portugal, 05 May 2018. FC Porto wins the league title for the 28th time after Sporting CP and Benfica tied 0-0 tonight in Lisbon. (Liga de Campeones, Lisboa) EFE/EPA/FERNANDO VELUDO
Porto (Portugal), 05/05/2018.- FC Porto supporters celebrate their championship in the Portuguese league, at Aliados Avenue in Porto, Portugal, 05 May 2018. FC Porto wins the league title for the 28th time after Sporting CP and Benfica tied 0-0 tonight in Lisbon. (Liga de Campeones, Lisboa) EFE/EPA/FERNANDO VELUDO
Porto (Portugal), 05/05/2018.- FC Porto supporters celebrate their championship in the Portuguese league, at Aliados Avenue in Porto, Portugal, 05 May 2018. FC Porto wins the league title for the 28th time after Sporting CP and Benfica tied 0-0 tonight in Lisbon. (Liga de Campeones, Lisboa) EFE/EPA/FERNANDO VELUDO
Porto (Portugal), 05/05/2018.- FC Porto supporters celebrate their championship in the Portuguese league, at Aliados Avenue in Porto, Portugal, 05 May 2018. FC Porto wins the league title for the 28th time after Sporting CP and Benfica tied 0-0 tonight in Lisbon. (Liga de Campeones, Lisboa) EFE/EPA/FERNANDO VELUDO
Porto (Portugal), 05/05/2018.- FC Porto leader supporter Fernando Madureira (C) celebrates their championship in the Portuguese league, at Aliados Avenue in Porto, Portugal, 05 May 2018. FC Porto wins the league title for the 28th time after Sporting CP and Benfica tied 0-0 tonight in Lisbon. (Liga de Campeones, Lisboa) EFE/EPA/FERNANDO VELUDO
Porto (Portugal), 05/05/2018.- FC Porto leader supporter Fernando Madureira (C) celebrates their championship in the Portuguese league, at Aliados Avenue in Porto, Portugal, 05 May 2018. FC Porto wins the league title for the 28th time after Sporting CP and Benfica tied 0-0 tonight in Lisbon. (Liga de Campeones, Lisboa) EFE/EPA/FERNANDO VELUDO
Porto (Portugal), 05/05/2018.- FC Porto leader supporter Fernando Madureira (C) celebrates their championship in the Portuguese league, at Aliados Avenue in Porto, Portugal, 05 May 2018. FC Porto wins the league title for the 28th time after Sporting CP and Benfica tied 0-0 tonight in Lisbon. (Liga de Campeones, Lisboa) EFE/EPA/FERNANDO VELUDO
Porto (Portugal), 05/05/2018.- FC Porto supporters celebrate the championship in the Portuguese leaguel, tonight, at Aliados Avenue in Porto, Portugal, 05 May 2018. FC Porto wins the league title for the 28th time after Sporting CP and Benfica tied 0-0 tonight in Lisbon. (Liga de Campeones, Lisboa) EFE/EPA/FERNANDO VELUDO
Porto (Portugal), 05/05/2018.- FC Porto supporters celebrate the championship in the Portuguese leaguel, tonight, at Aliados Avenue in Porto, Portugal, 05 May 2018. FC Porto wins the league title for the 28th time after Sporting CP and Benfica tied 0-0 tonight in Lisbon. (Liga de Campeones, Lisboa) EFE/EPA/FERNANDO VELUDO
Porto (Portugal), 05/05/2018.- FC Porto supporters celebrate the championship in the Portuguese leaguel, tonight, at Aliados Avenue in Porto, Portugal, 05 May 2018. FC Porto wins the league title for the 28th time after Sporting CP and Benfica tied 0-0 tonight in Lisbon. (Liga de Campeones, Lisboa) EFE/EPA/FERNANDO VELUDO
Porto (Portugal), 05/05/2018.- FC Porto supporters celebrate their championship title in the Portuguese league, tonight, at Aliados Avenue in Porto, Portugal, 05 May 2018. FC Porto wins the league title for the 28th time after Sporting CP and Benfica tied 0-0 tonight in Lisbon. (Liga de Campeones, Lisboa) EFE/EPA/RUI FARINHA
Porto (Portugal), 05/05/2018.- FC Porto supporters celebrate their championship title in the Portuguese league, tonight, at Aliados Avenue in Porto, Portugal, 05 May 2018. FC Porto wins the league title for the 28th time after Sporting CP and Benfica tied 0-0 tonight in Lisbon. (Liga de Campeones, Lisboa) EFE/EPA/RUI FARINHA
Porto (Portugal), 05/05/2018.- FC Porto supporters celebrate their championship title in the Portuguese league, tonight, at Aliados Avenue in Porto, Portugal, 05 May 2018. FC Porto wins the league title for the 28th time after Sporting CP and Benfica tied 0-0 tonight in Lisbon. (Liga de Campeones, Lisboa) EFE/EPA/RUI FARINHA
AC. Lisbon (Portugal), 05/05/2018.- Sporting CP's Bruno Fernandes (R) in action against Benfica´s Grimaldo (L) during their Portuguese First League soccer match at Alvalade Stadium in Lisbon, Portugal, 05 May 2018. (Lisboa) EFE/EPA/ANTONIO COTRIM
AC. Lisbon (Portugal), 05/05/2018.- Sporting CP's Bruno Fernandes (R) in action against Benfica´s Grimaldo (L) during their Portuguese First League soccer match at Alvalade Stadium in Lisbon, Portugal, 05 May 2018. (Lisboa) EFE/EPA/ANTONIO COTRIM
AC. Lisbon (Portugal), 05/05/2018.- Sporting CP's Bruno Fernandes (R) in action against Benfica´s Grimaldo (L) during their Portuguese First League soccer match at Alvalade Stadium in Lisbon, Portugal, 05 May 2018. (Lisboa) EFE/EPA/ANTONIO COTRIM
AC. Lisbon (Portugal), 05/05/2018.- Sporting CP's Bruno Fernandes (L) in action against Benfica´s Fejsa (R) during their Portuguese First League soccer match at Alvalade Stadium in Lisbon, Portugal, 05 May 2018. (Lisboa) EFE/EPA/ANTONIO COTRIM
AC. Lisbon (Portugal), 05/05/2018.- Sporting CP's Bruno Fernandes (L) in action against Benfica´s Fejsa (R) during their Portuguese First League soccer match at Alvalade Stadium in Lisbon, Portugal, 05 May 2018. (Lisboa) EFE/EPA/ANTONIO COTRIM
AC. Lisbon (Portugal), 05/05/2018.- Sporting CP's Bruno Fernandes (L) in action against Benfica´s Fejsa (R) during their Portuguese First League soccer match at Alvalade Stadium in Lisbon, Portugal, 05 May 2018. (Lisboa) EFE/EPA/ANTONIO COTRIM
AC. Lisbon (Portugal), 05/05/2018.- Sporting CP's Misic (R) in action against Benfica´s Grimaldo (L) during their Portuguese First League soccer match at Alvalade Stadium in Lisbon, Portugal, 05 May 2018. (Lisboa) EFE/EPA/ANTONIO COTRIM
AC. Lisbon (Portugal), 05/05/2018.- Sporting CP's Misic (R) in action against Benfica´s Grimaldo (L) during their Portuguese First League soccer match at Alvalade Stadium in Lisbon, Portugal, 05 May 2018. (Lisboa) EFE/EPA/ANTONIO COTRIM
AC. Lisbon (Portugal), 05/05/2018.- Sporting CP's Misic (R) in action against Benfica´s Grimaldo (L) during their Portuguese First League soccer match at Alvalade Stadium in Lisbon, Portugal, 05 May 2018. (Lisboa) EFE/EPA/ANTONIO COTRIM
Lisbon (Portugal), 05/05/2018.- Sporting CP's Gelson (C) in action against Benfica´s Jardel (R) and Samaris (L) during their Portuguese First League soccer match at Alvalade Stadium in Lisbon, Portugal, 05 May 2018. (Lisboa) EFE/EPA/MANUEL DE ALMEIDA
Lisbon (Portugal), 05/05/2018.- Sporting CP's Gelson (C) in action against Benfica´s Jardel (R) and Samaris (L) during their Portuguese First League soccer match at Alvalade Stadium in Lisbon, Portugal, 05 May 2018. (Lisboa) EFE/EPA/MANUEL DE ALMEIDA
Lisbon (Portugal), 05/05/2018.- Sporting CP's Gelson (C) in action against Benfica´s Jardel (R) and Samaris (L) during their Portuguese First League soccer match at Alvalade Stadium in Lisbon, Portugal, 05 May 2018. (Lisboa) EFE/EPA/MANUEL DE ALMEIDA
Lisbon (Portugal), 05/05/2018.- Benfica´s Samaris reacts during their Portuguese First League soccer match at Alvalade Stadium in Lisbon, Portugal, 05 May 2018. (Lisboa) EFE/EPA/MANUEL DE ALMEIDA
Lisbon (Portugal), 05/05/2018.- Benfica´s Samaris reacts during their Portuguese First League soccer match at Alvalade Stadium in Lisbon, Portugal, 05 May 2018. (Lisboa) EFE/EPA/MANUEL DE ALMEIDA
Lisbon (Portugal), 05/05/2018.- Benfica´s Samaris reacts during their Portuguese First League soccer match at Alvalade Stadium in Lisbon, Portugal, 05 May 2018. (Lisboa) EFE/EPA/MANUEL DE ALMEIDA
Lisbon (Portugal), 05/05/2018.- Sporting's Cristiano Piccini (R) in action against Benfica's Jonas (L) during the Portuguese First League soccer match between Sporting Lisbon and Benfica Lisbon at Alvalade Stadium in Lisbon, Portugal, 05 May 2018. (Lisboa) EFE/EPA/ANTONIO COTRIM
Lisbon (Portugal), 05/05/2018.- Sporting's Cristiano Piccini (R) in action against Benfica's Jonas (L) during the Portuguese First League soccer match between Sporting Lisbon and Benfica Lisbon at Alvalade Stadium in Lisbon, Portugal, 05 May 2018. (Lisboa) EFE/EPA/ANTONIO COTRIM
Lisbon (Portugal), 05/05/2018.- Sporting's Cristiano Piccini (R) in action against Benfica's Jonas (L) during the Portuguese First League soccer match between Sporting Lisbon and Benfica Lisbon at Alvalade Stadium in Lisbon, Portugal, 05 May 2018. (Lisboa) EFE/EPA/ANTONIO COTRIM
Lisbon (Portugal), 05/05/2018.- Sporting's Jeremy Mathieu (L) in action against Benfica's Raul Jimenez (R) during the Portuguese First League soccer match between Sporting Lisbon and Benfica Lisbon at Alvalade Stadium in Lisbon, Portugal, 05 May 2018. (Lisboa) EFE/EPA/ANTONIO COTRIM
Lisbon (Portugal), 05/05/2018.- Sporting's Jeremy Mathieu (L) in action against Benfica's Raul Jimenez (R) during the Portuguese First League soccer match between Sporting Lisbon and Benfica Lisbon at Alvalade Stadium in Lisbon, Portugal, 05 May 2018. (Lisboa) EFE/EPA/ANTONIO COTRIM
Lisbon (Portugal), 05/05/2018.- Sporting's Jeremy Mathieu (L) in action against Benfica's Raul Jimenez (R) during the Portuguese First League soccer match between Sporting Lisbon and Benfica Lisbon at Alvalade Stadium in Lisbon, Portugal, 05 May 2018. (Lisboa) EFE/EPA/ANTONIO COTRIM
Lisbon (Portugal), 05/05/2018.- Sporting's Rodrigo Battaglia (R) in action against Benfica's Andreas Samaris (L) during the Portuguese First League soccer match between Sporting Lisbon and Benfica Lisbon at Alvalade Stadium in Lisbon, Portugal, 05 May 2018. (Lisboa) EFE/EPA/MANUEL DE ALMEIDA
Lisbon (Portugal), 05/05/2018.- Sporting's Rodrigo Battaglia (R) in action against Benfica's Andreas Samaris (L) during the Portuguese First League soccer match between Sporting Lisbon and Benfica Lisbon at Alvalade Stadium in Lisbon, Portugal, 05 May 2018. (Lisboa) EFE/EPA/MANUEL DE ALMEIDA
Lisbon (Portugal), 05/05/2018.- Sporting's Rodrigo Battaglia (R) in action against Benfica's Andreas Samaris (L) during the Portuguese First League soccer match between Sporting Lisbon and Benfica Lisbon at Alvalade Stadium in Lisbon, Portugal, 05 May 2018. (Lisboa) EFE/EPA/MANUEL DE ALMEIDA
Lisbon (Portugal), 05/05/2018.- Sporting's William Carvalho (L) in action against Benfica's Ruben Dias (R) during the Portuguese First League soccer match between Sporting Lisbon and Benfica Lisbon at Alvalade Stadium in Lisbon, Portugal, 05 May 2018. (Lisboa) EFE/EPA/MANUEL DE ALMEIDA
Lisbon (Portugal), 05/05/2018.- Sporting's William Carvalho (L) in action against Benfica's Ruben Dias (R) during the Portuguese First League soccer match between Sporting Lisbon and Benfica Lisbon at Alvalade Stadium in Lisbon, Portugal, 05 May 2018. (Lisboa) EFE/EPA/MANUEL DE ALMEIDA
Lisbon (Portugal), 05/05/2018.- Sporting's William Carvalho (L) in action against Benfica's Ruben Dias (R) during the Portuguese First League soccer match between Sporting Lisbon and Benfica Lisbon at Alvalade Stadium in Lisbon, Portugal, 05 May 2018. (Lisboa) EFE/EPA/MANUEL DE ALMEIDA
Lisbon (Portugal), 05/05/2018.- Sporting's Jeremy Mathieu (R) in action against Benfica's Raul Jimenez (C) during the Portuguese First League soccer match between Sporting Lisbon and Benfica Lisbon at Alvalade Stadium in Lisbon, Portugal, 05 May 2018. (Lisboa) EFE/EPA/MANUEL DE ALMEIDA
Lisbon (Portugal), 05/05/2018.- Sporting's Jeremy Mathieu (R) in action against Benfica's Raul Jimenez (C) during the Portuguese First League soccer match between Sporting Lisbon and Benfica Lisbon at Alvalade Stadium in Lisbon, Portugal, 05 May 2018. (Lisboa) EFE/EPA/MANUEL DE ALMEIDA
Lisbon (Portugal), 05/05/2018.- Sporting's Jeremy Mathieu (R) in action against Benfica's Raul Jimenez (C) during the Portuguese First League soccer match between Sporting Lisbon and Benfica Lisbon at Alvalade Stadium in Lisbon, Portugal, 05 May 2018. (Lisboa) EFE/EPA/MANUEL DE ALMEIDA
Lisbon (Portugal), 05/05/2018.- Sporting's Jeremy Mathieu (R) in action against Benfica's Raul Jimenez (C) during the Portuguese First League soccer match between Sporting Lisbon and Benfica Lisbon at Alvalade Stadium in Lisbon, Portugal, 05 May 2018. (Lisboa) EFE/EPA/MANUEL DE ALMEIDA
Lisbon (Portugal), 05/05/2018.- Sporting's Jeremy Mathieu (R) in action against Benfica's Raul Jimenez (C) during the Portuguese First League soccer match between Sporting Lisbon and Benfica Lisbon at Alvalade Stadium in Lisbon, Portugal, 05 May 2018. (Lisboa) EFE/EPA/MANUEL DE ALMEIDA
Lisbon (Portugal), 05/05/2018.- Sporting's Jeremy Mathieu (R) in action against Benfica's Raul Jimenez (C) during the Portuguese First League soccer match between Sporting Lisbon and Benfica Lisbon at Alvalade Stadium in Lisbon, Portugal, 05 May 2018. (Lisboa) EFE/EPA/MANUEL DE ALMEIDA
Lisbon (Portugal), 05/05/2018.- Sporting's goalkeeper Rui Patricio during the Portuguese First League soccer match between Sporting Lisbon and Benfica Lisbon at Alvalade Stadium in Lisbon, Portugal, 05 May 2018. (Lisboa) EFE/EPA/MANUEL DE ALMEIDA
Lisbon (Portugal), 05/05/2018.- Sporting's goalkeeper Rui Patricio during the Portuguese First League soccer match between Sporting Lisbon and Benfica Lisbon at Alvalade Stadium in Lisbon, Portugal, 05 May 2018. (Lisboa) EFE/EPA/MANUEL DE ALMEIDA
Lisbon (Portugal), 05/05/2018.- Sporting's goalkeeper Rui Patricio during the Portuguese First League soccer match between Sporting Lisbon and Benfica Lisbon at Alvalade Stadium in Lisbon, Portugal, 05 May 2018. (Lisboa) EFE/EPA/MANUEL DE ALMEIDA
Lisbon (Portugal), 05/05/2018.- Sporting's Fabio Coentrao (L) in action against Benfica's Pizzi (R) during the Portuguese First League soccer match between Sporting Lisbon and Benfica Lisbon at Alvalade Stadium in Lisbon, Portugal, 05 May 2018. (Lisboa) EFE/EPA/MANUEL DE ALMEIDA
Lisbon (Portugal), 05/05/2018.- Sporting's Fabio Coentrao (L) in action against Benfica's Pizzi (R) during the Portuguese First League soccer match between Sporting Lisbon and Benfica Lisbon at Alvalade Stadium in Lisbon, Portugal, 05 May 2018. (Lisboa) EFE/EPA/MANUEL DE ALMEIDA
Lisbon (Portugal), 05/05/2018.- Sporting's Fabio Coentrao (L) in action against Benfica's Pizzi (R) during the Portuguese First League soccer match between Sporting Lisbon and Benfica Lisbon at Alvalade Stadium in Lisbon, Portugal, 05 May 2018. (Lisboa) EFE/EPA/MANUEL DE ALMEIDA
Lisbon (Portugal), 05/05/2018.- Sporting's Bruno Fernandes (R) in action against Benfica's Ljubomir Fejsa (L) during the Portuguese First League soccer match between Sporting Lisbon and Benfica Lisbon at Alvalade Stadium in Lisbon, Portugal, 05 May 2018. (Lisboa) EFE/EPA/ANTONIO COTRIM
Lisbon (Portugal), 05/05/2018.- Sporting's Bruno Fernandes (R) in action against Benfica's Ljubomir Fejsa (L) during the Portuguese First League soccer match between Sporting Lisbon and Benfica Lisbon at Alvalade Stadium in Lisbon, Portugal, 05 May 2018. (Lisboa) EFE/EPA/ANTONIO COTRIM
Lisbon (Portugal), 05/05/2018.- Sporting's Bruno Fernandes (R) in action against Benfica's Ljubomir Fejsa (L) during the Portuguese First League soccer match between Sporting Lisbon and Benfica Lisbon at Alvalade Stadium in Lisbon, Portugal, 05 May 2018. (Lisboa) EFE/EPA/ANTONIO COTRIM
Lisbon (Portugal), 05/05/2018.- Sporting's Bas Dost (L) in action against Benfica players Jardel (C) and Alex Grimaldo (R) during the Portuguese First League soccer match between Sporting Lisbon and Benfica Lisbon at Alvalade Stadium in Lisbon, Portugal, 05 May 2018. (Lisboa) EFE/EPA/ANTONIO COTRIM
Lisbon (Portugal), 05/05/2018.- Sporting's Bas Dost (L) in action against Benfica players Jardel (C) and Alex Grimaldo (R) during the Portuguese First League soccer match between Sporting Lisbon and Benfica Lisbon at Alvalade Stadium in Lisbon, Portugal, 05 May 2018. (Lisboa) EFE/EPA/ANTONIO COTRIM
Lisbon (Portugal), 05/05/2018.- Sporting's Bas Dost (L) in action against Benfica players Jardel (C) and Alex Grimaldo (R) during the Portuguese First League soccer match between Sporting Lisbon and Benfica Lisbon at Alvalade Stadium in Lisbon, Portugal, 05 May 2018. (Lisboa) EFE/EPA/ANTONIO COTRIM
Lisbon (Portugal), 05/05/2018.- Sporting's Bas Dost (L) in action against Benfica's Jardel (R) during the Portuguese First League soccer match between Sporting Lisbon and Benfica Lisbon at Alvalade Stadium in Lisbon, Portugal, 05 May 2018. (Lisboa) EFE/EPA/ANTONIO COTRIM
Lisbon (Portugal), 05/05/2018.- Sporting's Bas Dost (L) in action against Benfica's Jardel (R) during the Portuguese First League soccer match between Sporting Lisbon and Benfica Lisbon at Alvalade Stadium in Lisbon, Portugal, 05 May 2018. (Lisboa) EFE/EPA/ANTONIO COTRIM
Lisbon (Portugal), 05/05/2018.- Sporting's Bas Dost (L) in action against Benfica's Jardel (R) during the Portuguese First League soccer match between Sporting Lisbon and Benfica Lisbon at Alvalade Stadium in Lisbon, Portugal, 05 May 2018. (Lisboa) EFE/EPA/ANTONIO COTRIM
Lisbon (Portugal), 05/05/2018.- Benfica's head coach Rui Vitoria gestures during the Portuguese First League soccer match between Sporting Lisbon and Benfica Lisbon at Alvalade Stadium in Lisbon, Portugal, 05 May 2018. (Lisboa) EFE/EPA/ANTONIO COTRIM
Lisbon (Portugal), 05/05/2018.- Benfica's head coach Rui Vitoria gestures during the Portuguese First League soccer match between Sporting Lisbon and Benfica Lisbon at Alvalade Stadium in Lisbon, Portugal, 05 May 2018. (Lisboa) EFE/EPA/ANTONIO COTRIM
Lisbon (Portugal), 05/05/2018.- Benfica's head coach Rui Vitoria gestures during the Portuguese First League soccer match between Sporting Lisbon and Benfica Lisbon at Alvalade Stadium in Lisbon, Portugal, 05 May 2018. (Lisboa) EFE/EPA/ANTONIO COTRIM
Lisbon (Portugal), 05/05/2018.- Sporting's Gelson Martins (L) in action against Benfica's Jardel (R) during the Portuguese First League soccer match between Sporting Lisbon and Benfica Lisbon at Alvalade Stadium in Lisbon, Portugal, 05 May 2018. (Lisboa) EFE/EPA/ANTONIO COTRIM
Lisbon (Portugal), 05/05/2018.- Sporting's Gelson Martins (L) in action against Benfica's Jardel (R) during the Portuguese First League soccer match between Sporting Lisbon and Benfica Lisbon at Alvalade Stadium in Lisbon, Portugal, 05 May 2018. (Lisboa) EFE/EPA/ANTONIO COTRIM
Lisbon (Portugal), 05/05/2018.- Sporting's Gelson Martins (L) in action against Benfica's Jardel (R) during the Portuguese First League soccer match between Sporting Lisbon and Benfica Lisbon at Alvalade Stadium in Lisbon, Portugal, 05 May 2018. (Lisboa) EFE/EPA/ANTONIO COTRIM
Lisbon (Portugal), 05/05/2018.- Sporting's Gelson Martins (L) in action against Benfica's Jardel (R) during the Portuguese First League soccer match between Sporting Lisbon and Benfica Lisbon at Alvalade Stadium in Lisbon, Portugal, 05 May 2018. (Lisboa) EFE/EPA/ANTONIO COTRIM
Lisbon (Portugal), 05/05/2018.- Sporting's Gelson Martins (L) in action against Benfica's Jardel (R) during the Portuguese First League soccer match between Sporting Lisbon and Benfica Lisbon at Alvalade Stadium in Lisbon, Portugal, 05 May 2018. (Lisboa) EFE/EPA/ANTONIO COTRIM
Lisbon (Portugal), 05/05/2018.- Sporting's Gelson Martins (L) in action against Benfica's Jardel (R) during the Portuguese First League soccer match between Sporting Lisbon and Benfica Lisbon at Alvalade Stadium in Lisbon, Portugal, 05 May 2018. (Lisboa) EFE/EPA/ANTONIO COTRIM
Lisbon (Portugal), 05/05/2018.- Sporting's Bryan Ruiz (R) in action against Benfica's Andreas Samaris (L) during the Portuguese First League soccer match between Sporting Lisbon and Benfica Lisbon at Alvalade Stadium in Lisbon, Portugal, 05 May 2018. (Lisboa) EFE/EPA/MANUEL DE ALMEIDA
Lisbon (Portugal), 05/05/2018.- Sporting's Bryan Ruiz (R) in action against Benfica's Andreas Samaris (L) during the Portuguese First League soccer match between Sporting Lisbon and Benfica Lisbon at Alvalade Stadium in Lisbon, Portugal, 05 May 2018. (Lisboa) EFE/EPA/MANUEL DE ALMEIDA
Lisbon (Portugal), 05/05/2018.- Sporting's Bryan Ruiz (R) in action against Benfica's Andreas Samaris (L) during the Portuguese First League soccer match between Sporting Lisbon and Benfica Lisbon at Alvalade Stadium in Lisbon, Portugal, 05 May 2018. (Lisboa) EFE/EPA/MANUEL DE ALMEIDA
Lisbon (Portugal), 05/05/2018.- Benfica's head coach Rui Vitoria gestures during the Portuguese First League soccer match between Sporting Lisbon and Benfica Lisbon at Alvalade Stadium in Lisbon, Portugal, 05 May 2018. (Lisboa) EFE/EPA/ANTONIO COTRIM
Lisbon (Portugal), 05/05/2018.- Benfica's head coach Rui Vitoria gestures during the Portuguese First League soccer match between Sporting Lisbon and Benfica Lisbon at Alvalade Stadium in Lisbon, Portugal, 05 May 2018. (Lisboa) EFE/EPA/ANTONIO COTRIM
Lisbon (Portugal), 05/05/2018.- Benfica's head coach Rui Vitoria gestures during the Portuguese First League soccer match between Sporting Lisbon and Benfica Lisbon at Alvalade Stadium in Lisbon, Portugal, 05 May 2018. (Lisboa) EFE/EPA/ANTONIO COTRIM
Lisbon (Portugal), 05/05/2018.- Sporting's head coach Jorge Jesus gestures during the Portuguese First League soccer match between Sporting Lisbon and Benfica Lisbon at Alvalade Stadium in Lisbon, Portugal, 05 May 2018. (Lisboa) EFE/EPA/MANUEL DE ALMEIDA
Lisbon (Portugal), 05/05/2018.- Sporting's head coach Jorge Jesus gestures during the Portuguese First League soccer match between Sporting Lisbon and Benfica Lisbon at Alvalade Stadium in Lisbon, Portugal, 05 May 2018. (Lisboa) EFE/EPA/MANUEL DE ALMEIDA
Lisbon (Portugal), 05/05/2018.- Sporting's head coach Jorge Jesus gestures during the Portuguese First League soccer match between Sporting Lisbon and Benfica Lisbon at Alvalade Stadium in Lisbon, Portugal, 05 May 2018. (Lisboa) EFE/EPA/MANUEL DE ALMEIDA
Lisbon (Portugal), 05/05/2018.- Sporting's Bruno Fernandes (L) in action against Benfica's Pizzi (R) during the Portuguese First League soccer match between Sporting Lisbon and Benfica Lisbon at Alvalade Stadium in Lisbon, Portugal, 05 May 2018. (Lisboa) EFE/EPA/ANTONIO COTRIM
Lisbon (Portugal), 05/05/2018.- Sporting's Bruno Fernandes (L) in action against Benfica's Pizzi (R) during the Portuguese First League soccer match between Sporting Lisbon and Benfica Lisbon at Alvalade Stadium in Lisbon, Portugal, 05 May 2018. (Lisboa) EFE/EPA/ANTONIO COTRIM
Lisbon (Portugal), 05/05/2018.- Sporting's Bruno Fernandes (L) in action against Benfica's Pizzi (R) during the Portuguese First League soccer match between Sporting Lisbon and Benfica Lisbon at Alvalade Stadium in Lisbon, Portugal, 05 May 2018. (Lisboa) EFE/EPA/ANTONIO COTRIM
Lisbon (Portugal), 05/05/2018.- Sporting's William Carvalho (R) in action against Benfica's Ljubomir Fejsa (C) during the Portuguese First League soccer match between Sporting Lisbon and Benfica Lisbon at Alvalade Stadium in Lisbon, Portugal, 05 May 2018. (Lisboa) EFE/EPA/ANTONIO COTRIM
Lisbon (Portugal), 05/05/2018.- Sporting's William Carvalho (R) in action against Benfica's Ljubomir Fejsa (C) during the Portuguese First League soccer match between Sporting Lisbon and Benfica Lisbon at Alvalade Stadium in Lisbon, Portugal, 05 May 2018. (Lisboa) EFE/EPA/ANTONIO COTRIM
Lisbon (Portugal), 05/05/2018.- Sporting's William Carvalho (R) in action against Benfica's Ljubomir Fejsa (C) during the Portuguese First League soccer match between Sporting Lisbon and Benfica Lisbon at Alvalade Stadium in Lisbon, Portugal, 05 May 2018. (Lisboa) EFE/EPA/ANTONIO COTRIM
Lisbon (Portugal), 05/05/2018.- Sporting's Bruno Fernandes (L) in action against Benfica's Pizzi (R) during the Portuguese First League soccer match between Sporting Lisbon and Benfica Lisbon at Alvalade Stadium in Lisbon, Portugal, 05 May 2018. (Lisboa) EFE/EPA/ANTONIO COTRIM
Lisbon (Portugal), 05/05/2018.- Sporting's Bruno Fernandes (L) in action against Benfica's Pizzi (R) during the Portuguese First League soccer match between Sporting Lisbon and Benfica Lisbon at Alvalade Stadium in Lisbon, Portugal, 05 May 2018. (Lisboa) EFE/EPA/ANTONIO COTRIM
Lisbon (Portugal), 05/05/2018.- Sporting's Bruno Fernandes (L) in action against Benfica's Pizzi (R) during the Portuguese First League soccer match between Sporting Lisbon and Benfica Lisbon at Alvalade Stadium in Lisbon, Portugal, 05 May 2018. (Lisboa) EFE/EPA/ANTONIO COTRIM
Lisbon (Portugal), 05/05/2018.- Sporting's William Carvalho (R) in action against Benfica's Ljubomir Fejsa (C) during the Portuguese First League soccer match between Sporting Lisbon and Benfica Lisbon at Alvalade Stadium in Lisbon, Portugal, 05 May 2018. (Lisboa) EFE/EPA/ANTONIO COTRIM
Lisbon (Portugal), 05/05/2018.- Sporting's William Carvalho (R) in action against Benfica's Ljubomir Fejsa (C) during the Portuguese First League soccer match between Sporting Lisbon and Benfica Lisbon at Alvalade Stadium in Lisbon, Portugal, 05 May 2018. (Lisboa) EFE/EPA/ANTONIO COTRIM
Lisbon (Portugal), 05/05/2018.- Sporting's William Carvalho (R) in action against Benfica's Ljubomir Fejsa (C) during the Portuguese First League soccer match between Sporting Lisbon and Benfica Lisbon at Alvalade Stadium in Lisbon, Portugal, 05 May 2018. (Lisboa) EFE/EPA/ANTONIO COTRIM
Lisbon (Portugal), 05/05/2018.- Sporting's Rodrigo Battaglia (front L) in action against Benfica's Douglas (front R) during the Portuguese First League soccer match between Sporting Lisbon and Benfica Lisbon at Alvalade Stadium in Lisbon, Portugal, 05 May 2018. (Lisboa) EFE/EPA/ANTONIO COTRIM
Lisbon (Portugal), 05/05/2018.- Sporting's Rodrigo Battaglia (front L) in action against Benfica's Douglas (front R) during the Portuguese First League soccer match between Sporting Lisbon and Benfica Lisbon at Alvalade Stadium in Lisbon, Portugal, 05 May 2018. (Lisboa) EFE/EPA/ANTONIO COTRIM
Lisbon (Portugal), 05/05/2018.- Sporting's Rodrigo Battaglia (front L) in action against Benfica's Douglas (front R) during the Portuguese First League soccer match between Sporting Lisbon and Benfica Lisbon at Alvalade Stadium in Lisbon, Portugal, 05 May 2018. (Lisboa) EFE/EPA/ANTONIO COTRIM
Lisbon (Portugal), 05/05/2018.- Sporting's Rodrigo Battaglia (L) in action against Benfica's Andreas Samaris (R) during the Portuguese First League soccer match between Sporting Lisbon and Benfica Lisbon at Alvalade Stadium in Lisbon, Portugal, 05 May 2018. (Lisboa) EFE/EPA/ANTONIO COTRIM
Lisbon (Portugal), 05/05/2018.- Sporting's Rodrigo Battaglia (L) in action against Benfica's Andreas Samaris (R) during the Portuguese First League soccer match between Sporting Lisbon and Benfica Lisbon at Alvalade Stadium in Lisbon, Portugal, 05 May 2018. (Lisboa) EFE/EPA/ANTONIO COTRIM
Lisbon (Portugal), 05/05/2018.- Sporting's Rodrigo Battaglia (L) in action against Benfica's Andreas Samaris (R) during the Portuguese First League soccer match between Sporting Lisbon and Benfica Lisbon at Alvalade Stadium in Lisbon, Portugal, 05 May 2018. (Lisboa) EFE/EPA/ANTONIO COTRIM
Portugal have received assistance from Real Madrid in their quest for a first World Cup title, even though they play Spain in the opening game. By allowing Cristiano Ronaldo to sit out less meaningful matches, Madrid's management of the 33-year-old forward in the twilight of his career means he should not be worn out in Russia. The five-time world player of the year is leading a squad that broke through to win their first major title at the 2016 European Championship. "Ronaldo is crucial," Portugal coach Fernando Santos said. "But we know that to win we need to play well as a team." Santos accepts that Portugal are not among the leading contenders for the title in Russia, even though there's a familiar look about the squad. From the team that started in the final against France two years ago, only Nani and Renato Sanches were not called up for the recent friendlies. Here's a closer look at the Portugal team: Coach The softly-spoken Santos spent most of his career coaching clubs in Greece and Portugal, including Porto, Sporting Lisbon and Benfica, before being handed the Greece national team job in 2010. As Portugal were failing to advance from their group in 2014, Santos was becoming the first coach to lead Greece into a World Cup knockout phase. Portugal coach Fernando Santos Credit: AP Goalkeepers Rui Patricio of Sporting Lisbon should be starting in goal for another tournament after keeping clean sheets in the semi-finals and final at Euro 2016. The reserves are likely to be Anthony Lopes and Beto, with Benfica's Bruno Varela as a reserve option. Defenders Just like at every major tournament since Euro 2008, expect to see veterans Pepe and Bruno Alves in command in central defence. Cedric Soares is preferred at right-back, with Borussia Dortmund defender Raphael Guerreiro on the left. Fabio Coentrao, who didn't make the Euro 2016 team, returned to the squad recently before missing March friendlies because of injury. Barcelona's Nelson Semedo and Napoli's Mario Rui will remain as back-up full-back options. World Cup 2018 | All you need to know Midfielders Joao Mario and William Carvalho are expected to anchor the midfield again, with Andre Gomes, Adrien Silva and Joao Moutinho fighting for a spot as attacking midfielders along with Bernardo Silva. But Santos will be without Euro 2016 starter Danilo Pereira after the defensive midfielder sustained a partial tear on his left Achilles tendon while playing with Porto. World Cup predictor Forwards This is Ronaldo's domain. After a slow start to the season, he has rediscovered his scoring consistency at Real Madrid since January. Leading the attack with Ronaldo is likely to be 26-year-old Andre Dias, who made his tournament debut last year at the Confederations Cup when Portugal finished third. Gelson Martins and Goncalo Guedes have drifted in and out of the team in the last two years, while Ricardo Quaresma has not played since October. Nani and Eder, whose goal in extra time sealed the Euro 2016 victory over France, are unlikely to make the trip to Russia. Group games Portugal open against Spain on June 15 and then play Morocco on June 20 in Moscow, where the team is based. The Group B schedule will conclude against Iran on June 25.
Portugal World Cup 2018 squad: Latest player news and injury information
Portugal have received assistance from Real Madrid in their quest for a first World Cup title, even though they play Spain in the opening game. By allowing Cristiano Ronaldo to sit out less meaningful matches, Madrid's management of the 33-year-old forward in the twilight of his career means he should not be worn out in Russia. The five-time world player of the year is leading a squad that broke through to win their first major title at the 2016 European Championship. "Ronaldo is crucial," Portugal coach Fernando Santos said. "But we know that to win we need to play well as a team." Santos accepts that Portugal are not among the leading contenders for the title in Russia, even though there's a familiar look about the squad. From the team that started in the final against France two years ago, only Nani and Renato Sanches were not called up for the recent friendlies. Here's a closer look at the Portugal team: Coach The softly-spoken Santos spent most of his career coaching clubs in Greece and Portugal, including Porto, Sporting Lisbon and Benfica, before being handed the Greece national team job in 2010. As Portugal were failing to advance from their group in 2014, Santos was becoming the first coach to lead Greece into a World Cup knockout phase. Portugal coach Fernando Santos Credit: AP Goalkeepers Rui Patricio of Sporting Lisbon should be starting in goal for another tournament after keeping clean sheets in the semi-finals and final at Euro 2016. The reserves are likely to be Anthony Lopes and Beto, with Benfica's Bruno Varela as a reserve option. Defenders Just like at every major tournament since Euro 2008, expect to see veterans Pepe and Bruno Alves in command in central defence. Cedric Soares is preferred at right-back, with Borussia Dortmund defender Raphael Guerreiro on the left. Fabio Coentrao, who didn't make the Euro 2016 team, returned to the squad recently before missing March friendlies because of injury. Barcelona's Nelson Semedo and Napoli's Mario Rui will remain as back-up full-back options. World Cup 2018 | All you need to know Midfielders Joao Mario and William Carvalho are expected to anchor the midfield again, with Andre Gomes, Adrien Silva and Joao Moutinho fighting for a spot as attacking midfielders along with Bernardo Silva. But Santos will be without Euro 2016 starter Danilo Pereira after the defensive midfielder sustained a partial tear on his left Achilles tendon while playing with Porto. World Cup predictor Forwards This is Ronaldo's domain. After a slow start to the season, he has rediscovered his scoring consistency at Real Madrid since January. Leading the attack with Ronaldo is likely to be 26-year-old Andre Dias, who made his tournament debut last year at the Confederations Cup when Portugal finished third. Gelson Martins and Goncalo Guedes have drifted in and out of the team in the last two years, while Ricardo Quaresma has not played since October. Nani and Eder, whose goal in extra time sealed the Euro 2016 victory over France, are unlikely to make the trip to Russia. Group games Portugal open against Spain on June 15 and then play Morocco on June 20 in Moscow, where the team is based. The Group B schedule will conclude against Iran on June 25.
Switzerland's World Cup prospects are one of the hardest to predict, and also the most intriguing. Currently ranked No 6, the Swiss have enough talented players in the peak years of their careers to go far in Russia. Coach Vladimir Petkovic confidently suggested there was no limit to his team's potential minutes after qualifying in November. Then came the World Cup draw, with games against Brazil and Serbia putting the Swiss at risk of two quick losses and elimination within days. After that, 2014 quarter-finalist Costa Rica await to close out Group E. At least a 6-0 win over Panama in March suggested Petkovic's team can cope with a typically Central American style. World Cup 2018 | All you need to know Brazil are favourites to advance as Group E winners, and the runners-up will head to St Petersburg to play the Group F winner - likely to be defending champions Germany. Switzerland fans have waited a long time to see their expectations exceeded at a major tournament. The team appears good enough to do it this time, but it will be difficult. Here's a closer look at the Switzerland team. Coach Among World Cup coaches, Vladimir Petkovic took a less traveled path to Russia. When Joachim Low took charge of Germany in 2006, Petkovic still had a day job in a charity store while coaching lower-ranked Swiss teams. Petkovic took his big chance in 2012 to coach Lazio, and soon won the Italian Cup. He was hired for the Switzerland job only when then-Austria coach Marcel Koller could not be tempted home to succeed Ottmar Hitzfeld after the 2014 World Cup. Seen as a second choice, Petkovic took time to grow into the role of following two-time Champions League winner Hitzfeld. Now the Bosnian-born coach has asserted himself with a second straight tournament qualification, leading a team featuring several key players whose parents moved to Switzerland from the former Yugoslavia. Switzerland coach Vladimir Petkovic Credit: AP Goalkeepers Yann Sommer has been Petkovic's consistent first-choice pick since taking over from Diego Benaglio, who retired from the national team after the last World Cup. Still, the Borussia Moenchengladbach goalkeeper is under pressure from Borussia Dortmund's Roman Buerki. Petkovic plans to use pre-World Cup friendlies against Spain and Japan to make the decision. Defenders Switzerland get their experienced full-backs from Italy: Stephan Lichtsteiner of Juventus, preparing for his third World Cup, on the right and AC Milan's Ricardo Rodriguez on the left. Fast-improving Manuel Akanji staked his claim for a starting place with impressive displays in the play-offs against Northern Ireland in November. Akanji took his chance when Johan Djourou was injured, and was soon leaving Basel for Dortmund in January. Fabian Schaer formed a solid central partnership with Djourou for most of the nine straight wins in qualifying until a final 2-0 loss to group winner Portugal. World Cup predictor Midfielders A veteran midfield trio should be Valon Behrami, Granit Xhaka and Blerim Dzemaili - all with more than 60 appearances. Behrami is set for his fourth straight World Cup at the age of 33, one year younger than Lichtsteiner, as the calming statesman of the squad. Dzemaili, now back in Serie A with Bologna after a loan spell at Montreal Impact, has the most attacking role of the three. His last World Cup contribution was an unlucky double close-range miss near the end of extra time in Switzerland's 1-0 loss to Argentina in the Round of 16. World Cup 2018 venues Forwards A central striker should be flanked by Xherdan Shaqiri to the right and Admir Mehmedi on the left. At age 26 and 27 respectively, they should be peaking but neither has had ideal preparation. Shaqiri's club Stoke look doomed to relegation from the Premier League and Mehmedi, a January signing by Wolfsburg, had surgery on a foot injury in March. The identity of the central striker is perhaps the biggest question for Petkovic. Haris Seferovic, mostly out of favor at Benfica, is the latest Switzerland forward to be booed by fans. Borussia Moenchengladbach's Josip Drmic is returning from injury. Breel Embolo, the 21 year-old with Champions League-bound Schalke, has not been prolific in two injury-hit Bundesliga seasons, though he looks the most talented option. Group games Switzerland open against the best team in qualifying, Brazil, on June 17 in Rostov-on-Don. Then there is a long trip west from their base in Tolyatti, Samara, to Kaliningrad to play Serbia on June 22. Group E is completed against Costa Rica in Nizhny Novgorod on June 27.
Switzerland World Cup 2018 squad: Latest player news and injury information
Switzerland's World Cup prospects are one of the hardest to predict, and also the most intriguing. Currently ranked No 6, the Swiss have enough talented players in the peak years of their careers to go far in Russia. Coach Vladimir Petkovic confidently suggested there was no limit to his team's potential minutes after qualifying in November. Then came the World Cup draw, with games against Brazil and Serbia putting the Swiss at risk of two quick losses and elimination within days. After that, 2014 quarter-finalist Costa Rica await to close out Group E. At least a 6-0 win over Panama in March suggested Petkovic's team can cope with a typically Central American style. World Cup 2018 | All you need to know Brazil are favourites to advance as Group E winners, and the runners-up will head to St Petersburg to play the Group F winner - likely to be defending champions Germany. Switzerland fans have waited a long time to see their expectations exceeded at a major tournament. The team appears good enough to do it this time, but it will be difficult. Here's a closer look at the Switzerland team. Coach Among World Cup coaches, Vladimir Petkovic took a less traveled path to Russia. When Joachim Low took charge of Germany in 2006, Petkovic still had a day job in a charity store while coaching lower-ranked Swiss teams. Petkovic took his big chance in 2012 to coach Lazio, and soon won the Italian Cup. He was hired for the Switzerland job only when then-Austria coach Marcel Koller could not be tempted home to succeed Ottmar Hitzfeld after the 2014 World Cup. Seen as a second choice, Petkovic took time to grow into the role of following two-time Champions League winner Hitzfeld. Now the Bosnian-born coach has asserted himself with a second straight tournament qualification, leading a team featuring several key players whose parents moved to Switzerland from the former Yugoslavia. Switzerland coach Vladimir Petkovic Credit: AP Goalkeepers Yann Sommer has been Petkovic's consistent first-choice pick since taking over from Diego Benaglio, who retired from the national team after the last World Cup. Still, the Borussia Moenchengladbach goalkeeper is under pressure from Borussia Dortmund's Roman Buerki. Petkovic plans to use pre-World Cup friendlies against Spain and Japan to make the decision. Defenders Switzerland get their experienced full-backs from Italy: Stephan Lichtsteiner of Juventus, preparing for his third World Cup, on the right and AC Milan's Ricardo Rodriguez on the left. Fast-improving Manuel Akanji staked his claim for a starting place with impressive displays in the play-offs against Northern Ireland in November. Akanji took his chance when Johan Djourou was injured, and was soon leaving Basel for Dortmund in January. Fabian Schaer formed a solid central partnership with Djourou for most of the nine straight wins in qualifying until a final 2-0 loss to group winner Portugal. World Cup predictor Midfielders A veteran midfield trio should be Valon Behrami, Granit Xhaka and Blerim Dzemaili - all with more than 60 appearances. Behrami is set for his fourth straight World Cup at the age of 33, one year younger than Lichtsteiner, as the calming statesman of the squad. Dzemaili, now back in Serie A with Bologna after a loan spell at Montreal Impact, has the most attacking role of the three. His last World Cup contribution was an unlucky double close-range miss near the end of extra time in Switzerland's 1-0 loss to Argentina in the Round of 16. World Cup 2018 venues Forwards A central striker should be flanked by Xherdan Shaqiri to the right and Admir Mehmedi on the left. At age 26 and 27 respectively, they should be peaking but neither has had ideal preparation. Shaqiri's club Stoke look doomed to relegation from the Premier League and Mehmedi, a January signing by Wolfsburg, had surgery on a foot injury in March. The identity of the central striker is perhaps the biggest question for Petkovic. Haris Seferovic, mostly out of favor at Benfica, is the latest Switzerland forward to be booed by fans. Borussia Moenchengladbach's Josip Drmic is returning from injury. Breel Embolo, the 21 year-old with Champions League-bound Schalke, has not been prolific in two injury-hit Bundesliga seasons, though he looks the most talented option. Group games Switzerland open against the best team in qualifying, Brazil, on June 17 in Rostov-on-Don. Then there is a long trip west from their base in Tolyatti, Samara, to Kaliningrad to play Serbia on June 22. Group E is completed against Costa Rica in Nizhny Novgorod on June 27.
Switzerland's World Cup prospects are one of the hardest to predict, and also the most intriguing. Currently ranked No 6, the Swiss have enough talented players in the peak years of their careers to go far in Russia. Coach Vladimir Petkovic confidently suggested there was no limit to his team's potential minutes after qualifying in November. Then came the World Cup draw, with games against Brazil and Serbia putting the Swiss at risk of two quick losses and elimination within days. After that, 2014 quarter-finalist Costa Rica await to close out Group E. At least a 6-0 win over Panama in March suggested Petkovic's team can cope with a typically Central American style. World Cup 2018 | All you need to know Brazil are favourites to advance as Group E winners, and the runners-up will head to St Petersburg to play the Group F winner - likely to be defending champions Germany. Switzerland fans have waited a long time to see their expectations exceeded at a major tournament. The team appears good enough to do it this time, but it will be difficult. Here's a closer look at the Switzerland team. Coach Among World Cup coaches, Vladimir Petkovic took a less traveled path to Russia. When Joachim Low took charge of Germany in 2006, Petkovic still had a day job in a charity store while coaching lower-ranked Swiss teams. Petkovic took his big chance in 2012 to coach Lazio, and soon won the Italian Cup. He was hired for the Switzerland job only when then-Austria coach Marcel Koller could not be tempted home to succeed Ottmar Hitzfeld after the 2014 World Cup. Seen as a second choice, Petkovic took time to grow into the role of following two-time Champions League winner Hitzfeld. Now the Bosnian-born coach has asserted himself with a second straight tournament qualification, leading a team featuring several key players whose parents moved to Switzerland from the former Yugoslavia. Switzerland coach Vladimir Petkovic Credit: AP Goalkeepers Yann Sommer has been Petkovic's consistent first-choice pick since taking over from Diego Benaglio, who retired from the national team after the last World Cup. Still, the Borussia Moenchengladbach goalkeeper is under pressure from Borussia Dortmund's Roman Buerki. Petkovic plans to use pre-World Cup friendlies against Spain and Japan to make the decision. Defenders Switzerland get their experienced full-backs from Italy: Stephan Lichtsteiner of Juventus, preparing for his third World Cup, on the right and AC Milan's Ricardo Rodriguez on the left. Fast-improving Manuel Akanji staked his claim for a starting place with impressive displays in the play-offs against Northern Ireland in November. Akanji took his chance when Johan Djourou was injured, and was soon leaving Basel for Dortmund in January. Fabian Schaer formed a solid central partnership with Djourou for most of the nine straight wins in qualifying until a final 2-0 loss to group winner Portugal. World Cup predictor Midfielders A veteran midfield trio should be Valon Behrami, Granit Xhaka and Blerim Dzemaili - all with more than 60 appearances. Behrami is set for his fourth straight World Cup at the age of 33, one year younger than Lichtsteiner, as the calming statesman of the squad. Dzemaili, now back in Serie A with Bologna after a loan spell at Montreal Impact, has the most attacking role of the three. His last World Cup contribution was an unlucky double close-range miss near the end of extra time in Switzerland's 1-0 loss to Argentina in the Round of 16. World Cup 2018 venues Forwards A central striker should be flanked by Xherdan Shaqiri to the right and Admir Mehmedi on the left. At age 26 and 27 respectively, they should be peaking but neither has had ideal preparation. Shaqiri's club Stoke look doomed to relegation from the Premier League and Mehmedi, a January signing by Wolfsburg, had surgery on a foot injury in March. The identity of the central striker is perhaps the biggest question for Petkovic. Haris Seferovic, mostly out of favor at Benfica, is the latest Switzerland forward to be booed by fans. Borussia Moenchengladbach's Josip Drmic is returning from injury. Breel Embolo, the 21 year-old with Champions League-bound Schalke, has not been prolific in two injury-hit Bundesliga seasons, though he looks the most talented option. Group games Switzerland open against the best team in qualifying, Brazil, on June 17 in Rostov-on-Don. Then there is a long trip west from their base in Tolyatti, Samara, to Kaliningrad to play Serbia on June 22. Group E is completed against Costa Rica in Nizhny Novgorod on June 27.
Switzerland World Cup 2018 squad: Latest player news and injury information
Switzerland's World Cup prospects are one of the hardest to predict, and also the most intriguing. Currently ranked No 6, the Swiss have enough talented players in the peak years of their careers to go far in Russia. Coach Vladimir Petkovic confidently suggested there was no limit to his team's potential minutes after qualifying in November. Then came the World Cup draw, with games against Brazil and Serbia putting the Swiss at risk of two quick losses and elimination within days. After that, 2014 quarter-finalist Costa Rica await to close out Group E. At least a 6-0 win over Panama in March suggested Petkovic's team can cope with a typically Central American style. World Cup 2018 | All you need to know Brazil are favourites to advance as Group E winners, and the runners-up will head to St Petersburg to play the Group F winner - likely to be defending champions Germany. Switzerland fans have waited a long time to see their expectations exceeded at a major tournament. The team appears good enough to do it this time, but it will be difficult. Here's a closer look at the Switzerland team. Coach Among World Cup coaches, Vladimir Petkovic took a less traveled path to Russia. When Joachim Low took charge of Germany in 2006, Petkovic still had a day job in a charity store while coaching lower-ranked Swiss teams. Petkovic took his big chance in 2012 to coach Lazio, and soon won the Italian Cup. He was hired for the Switzerland job only when then-Austria coach Marcel Koller could not be tempted home to succeed Ottmar Hitzfeld after the 2014 World Cup. Seen as a second choice, Petkovic took time to grow into the role of following two-time Champions League winner Hitzfeld. Now the Bosnian-born coach has asserted himself with a second straight tournament qualification, leading a team featuring several key players whose parents moved to Switzerland from the former Yugoslavia. Switzerland coach Vladimir Petkovic Credit: AP Goalkeepers Yann Sommer has been Petkovic's consistent first-choice pick since taking over from Diego Benaglio, who retired from the national team after the last World Cup. Still, the Borussia Moenchengladbach goalkeeper is under pressure from Borussia Dortmund's Roman Buerki. Petkovic plans to use pre-World Cup friendlies against Spain and Japan to make the decision. Defenders Switzerland get their experienced full-backs from Italy: Stephan Lichtsteiner of Juventus, preparing for his third World Cup, on the right and AC Milan's Ricardo Rodriguez on the left. Fast-improving Manuel Akanji staked his claim for a starting place with impressive displays in the play-offs against Northern Ireland in November. Akanji took his chance when Johan Djourou was injured, and was soon leaving Basel for Dortmund in January. Fabian Schaer formed a solid central partnership with Djourou for most of the nine straight wins in qualifying until a final 2-0 loss to group winner Portugal. World Cup predictor Midfielders A veteran midfield trio should be Valon Behrami, Granit Xhaka and Blerim Dzemaili - all with more than 60 appearances. Behrami is set for his fourth straight World Cup at the age of 33, one year younger than Lichtsteiner, as the calming statesman of the squad. Dzemaili, now back in Serie A with Bologna after a loan spell at Montreal Impact, has the most attacking role of the three. His last World Cup contribution was an unlucky double close-range miss near the end of extra time in Switzerland's 1-0 loss to Argentina in the Round of 16. World Cup 2018 venues Forwards A central striker should be flanked by Xherdan Shaqiri to the right and Admir Mehmedi on the left. At age 26 and 27 respectively, they should be peaking but neither has had ideal preparation. Shaqiri's club Stoke look doomed to relegation from the Premier League and Mehmedi, a January signing by Wolfsburg, had surgery on a foot injury in March. The identity of the central striker is perhaps the biggest question for Petkovic. Haris Seferovic, mostly out of favor at Benfica, is the latest Switzerland forward to be booed by fans. Borussia Moenchengladbach's Josip Drmic is returning from injury. Breel Embolo, the 21 year-old with Champions League-bound Schalke, has not been prolific in two injury-hit Bundesliga seasons, though he looks the most talented option. Group games Switzerland open against the best team in qualifying, Brazil, on June 17 in Rostov-on-Don. Then there is a long trip west from their base in Tolyatti, Samara, to Kaliningrad to play Serbia on June 22. Group E is completed against Costa Rica in Nizhny Novgorod on June 27.
Mexicans can never be sure who will be playing for the national team under Juan Carlos Osorio. A different line-up has been deployed by Osorio in all 44 games in charge and now players are starting to question the tactical tinkering going into the World Cup. "It's time to stop with the experiments," goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa said. "We have to focus on how we play as a team." Osorio, who replaced fan favorite Miguel Herrera in 2015, isn't budging. The Colombian has no plans to change the strategy because it carried Mexico to the World Cup as the top-place team in Concacaf qualifying for the first time in two decades. But changing formations depending on the opponent hasn't fared well in all competitions. World Cup 2018 | All you need to know "A lot of people said that the past few years have been good, but I'm not so sure about that," said Manuel Lapuente, who coached Mexico at the 1998 World Cup. "We were a failure in the Copa America Centenario. We failed at the Gold Cup and in the Confederations Cup. We did well in the qualifiers, but, guess what? We are not going to play against that kind of rival in Russia". The Mexicans were consigned to their worst-ever loss in the 2016 Copa America Centenario quarter-finals, trounced 7-0 by Chile. In a pair of semi-finals last year they were beaten 4-1 by Germany in the Confederations Cup and lost 1-0 to Jamaica in the Gold Cup. Progress for Mexico at the World Cup would be reaching the quarter-finals after failing to advance from the round of 16 at six successive editions. Only when the Mexicans hosted the World Cup did they make the last eight - in 1970 and 1986. Here's a closer look at the Mexico team: Coach Osorio, a former conditioning coach at Manchester United under Sir Alex Ferguson, won four league titles in Colombia and was managing Sao Paulo before taking over his first job as a national coach with Mexico in 2015. Osorio's success in Colombia, where he won the championship with Once Caldas and three more with Atletico Nacional, was based on the same tactical fluidity that he has brought to Mexico. His 44 games with Mexico have seen 29 wins, eight draws and seven losses. Mexico's national team coach Juan Carlos Osorio Credit: AFP Goalkeepers Guillermo Ochoa, who has made 92 appearances since his international debut in 2005, is renowned in Mexico for an outstanding save from Neymar's header at the 2014 World Cup. The 32-year-old "Memo," who plays for Standard Liege in Belgium, will be making the World Cup trip but he might not be guaranteed to start every game. Osorio is considering using either Jesus Corona or Alfredo Talavera in the final Group F game against Sweden because Ochoa can struggle dealing with crosses. Defenders Probably the weakest link in the team. Hector Moreno, who plays for Real Sociedad after a brief stint with Roma, is the strongest component of the back line. Osorio likes to play with three centre-backs, but only Moreno is a guaranteed starter. Nestor Araujo of Santos is uncertain for the tournament after sustaining a knee injury in a friendly against Croatia in March, while Carlos Salcedo injured his collarbone in the same match and is racing to be fit for Russia. Oswaldo Alanis, Hugo Ayala and Edson Alvarez could take over but all lack international experience. World Cup 2018 venues Midfielders This department is the team's strength. Hirving Lozano, who has scored 16 goals for PSV Eindhoven in the Dutch league, should start on the left wing. Carlos Vela, who joined Los Angeles FC from Real Sociedad last year, currently has the edge to start on the other flank rather than Jesus Corona of Porto. Andres Guardado (Real Betis) will play in the centre in his fourth World Cup alongside Hector Herrera, whose Porto teammate is set to be the defensive midfielder. Forwards Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez remains the main striker heading into the tournament, but Raul Jimenez is having a strong season with Benfica and giving the West Ham striker a run for his money. Oribe Peralta, who led Mexico to the gold medal at the 2012 London Olympics, is the third striker. Coach Osorio likes to use a formation with a withdrawn striker, a position where Giovani Dos Santos, Marco Fabian and Rodolfo Pizarro are contesting the starting position. World Cup predictor Group games Mexico open Group F against World Cup holders Germany on June 17 in Moscow where they have their tournament base. Then there's a trip to Rostov-on-Don to face South Korea on June 23, followed by a June 27 meeting with Sweden in Yekaterinburg.
Mexico World Cup 2018 squad: Latest player news and injury information
Mexicans can never be sure who will be playing for the national team under Juan Carlos Osorio. A different line-up has been deployed by Osorio in all 44 games in charge and now players are starting to question the tactical tinkering going into the World Cup. "It's time to stop with the experiments," goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa said. "We have to focus on how we play as a team." Osorio, who replaced fan favorite Miguel Herrera in 2015, isn't budging. The Colombian has no plans to change the strategy because it carried Mexico to the World Cup as the top-place team in Concacaf qualifying for the first time in two decades. But changing formations depending on the opponent hasn't fared well in all competitions. World Cup 2018 | All you need to know "A lot of people said that the past few years have been good, but I'm not so sure about that," said Manuel Lapuente, who coached Mexico at the 1998 World Cup. "We were a failure in the Copa America Centenario. We failed at the Gold Cup and in the Confederations Cup. We did well in the qualifiers, but, guess what? We are not going to play against that kind of rival in Russia". The Mexicans were consigned to their worst-ever loss in the 2016 Copa America Centenario quarter-finals, trounced 7-0 by Chile. In a pair of semi-finals last year they were beaten 4-1 by Germany in the Confederations Cup and lost 1-0 to Jamaica in the Gold Cup. Progress for Mexico at the World Cup would be reaching the quarter-finals after failing to advance from the round of 16 at six successive editions. Only when the Mexicans hosted the World Cup did they make the last eight - in 1970 and 1986. Here's a closer look at the Mexico team: Coach Osorio, a former conditioning coach at Manchester United under Sir Alex Ferguson, won four league titles in Colombia and was managing Sao Paulo before taking over his first job as a national coach with Mexico in 2015. Osorio's success in Colombia, where he won the championship with Once Caldas and three more with Atletico Nacional, was based on the same tactical fluidity that he has brought to Mexico. His 44 games with Mexico have seen 29 wins, eight draws and seven losses. Mexico's national team coach Juan Carlos Osorio Credit: AFP Goalkeepers Guillermo Ochoa, who has made 92 appearances since his international debut in 2005, is renowned in Mexico for an outstanding save from Neymar's header at the 2014 World Cup. The 32-year-old "Memo," who plays for Standard Liege in Belgium, will be making the World Cup trip but he might not be guaranteed to start every game. Osorio is considering using either Jesus Corona or Alfredo Talavera in the final Group F game against Sweden because Ochoa can struggle dealing with crosses. Defenders Probably the weakest link in the team. Hector Moreno, who plays for Real Sociedad after a brief stint with Roma, is the strongest component of the back line. Osorio likes to play with three centre-backs, but only Moreno is a guaranteed starter. Nestor Araujo of Santos is uncertain for the tournament after sustaining a knee injury in a friendly against Croatia in March, while Carlos Salcedo injured his collarbone in the same match and is racing to be fit for Russia. Oswaldo Alanis, Hugo Ayala and Edson Alvarez could take over but all lack international experience. World Cup 2018 venues Midfielders This department is the team's strength. Hirving Lozano, who has scored 16 goals for PSV Eindhoven in the Dutch league, should start on the left wing. Carlos Vela, who joined Los Angeles FC from Real Sociedad last year, currently has the edge to start on the other flank rather than Jesus Corona of Porto. Andres Guardado (Real Betis) will play in the centre in his fourth World Cup alongside Hector Herrera, whose Porto teammate is set to be the defensive midfielder. Forwards Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez remains the main striker heading into the tournament, but Raul Jimenez is having a strong season with Benfica and giving the West Ham striker a run for his money. Oribe Peralta, who led Mexico to the gold medal at the 2012 London Olympics, is the third striker. Coach Osorio likes to use a formation with a withdrawn striker, a position where Giovani Dos Santos, Marco Fabian and Rodolfo Pizarro are contesting the starting position. World Cup predictor Group games Mexico open Group F against World Cup holders Germany on June 17 in Moscow where they have their tournament base. Then there's a trip to Rostov-on-Don to face South Korea on June 23, followed by a June 27 meeting with Sweden in Yekaterinburg.
Mexicans can never be sure who will be playing for the national team under Juan Carlos Osorio. A different line-up has been deployed by Osorio in all 44 games in charge and now players are starting to question the tactical tinkering going into the World Cup. "It's time to stop with the experiments," goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa said. "We have to focus on how we play as a team." Osorio, who replaced fan favorite Miguel Herrera in 2015, isn't budging. The Colombian has no plans to change the strategy because it carried Mexico to the World Cup as the top-place team in Concacaf qualifying for the first time in two decades. But changing formations depending on the opponent hasn't fared well in all competitions. World Cup 2018 | All you need to know "A lot of people said that the past few years have been good, but I'm not so sure about that," said Manuel Lapuente, who coached Mexico at the 1998 World Cup. "We were a failure in the Copa America Centenario. We failed at the Gold Cup and in the Confederations Cup. We did well in the qualifiers, but, guess what? We are not going to play against that kind of rival in Russia". The Mexicans were consigned to their worst-ever loss in the 2016 Copa America Centenario quarter-finals, trounced 7-0 by Chile. In a pair of semi-finals last year they were beaten 4-1 by Germany in the Confederations Cup and lost 1-0 to Jamaica in the Gold Cup. Progress for Mexico at the World Cup would be reaching the quarter-finals after failing to advance from the round of 16 at six successive editions. Only when the Mexicans hosted the World Cup did they make the last eight - in 1970 and 1986. Here's a closer look at the Mexico team: Coach Osorio, a former conditioning coach at Manchester United under Sir Alex Ferguson, won four league titles in Colombia and was managing Sao Paulo before taking over his first job as a national coach with Mexico in 2015. Osorio's success in Colombia, where he won the championship with Once Caldas and three more with Atletico Nacional, was based on the same tactical fluidity that he has brought to Mexico. His 44 games with Mexico have seen 29 wins, eight draws and seven losses. Mexico's national team coach Juan Carlos Osorio Credit: AFP Goalkeepers Guillermo Ochoa, who has made 92 appearances since his international debut in 2005, is renowned in Mexico for an outstanding save from Neymar's header at the 2014 World Cup. The 32-year-old "Memo," who plays for Standard Liege in Belgium, will be making the World Cup trip but he might not be guaranteed to start every game. Osorio is considering using either Jesus Corona or Alfredo Talavera in the final Group F game against Sweden because Ochoa can struggle dealing with crosses. Defenders Probably the weakest link in the team. Hector Moreno, who plays for Real Sociedad after a brief stint with Roma, is the strongest component of the back line. Osorio likes to play with three centre-backs, but only Moreno is a guaranteed starter. Nestor Araujo of Santos is uncertain for the tournament after sustaining a knee injury in a friendly against Croatia in March, while Carlos Salcedo injured his collarbone in the same match and is racing to be fit for Russia. Oswaldo Alanis, Hugo Ayala and Edson Alvarez could take over but all lack international experience. World Cup 2018 venues Midfielders This department is the team's strength. Hirving Lozano, who has scored 16 goals for PSV Eindhoven in the Dutch league, should start on the left wing. Carlos Vela, who joined Los Angeles FC from Real Sociedad last year, currently has the edge to start on the other flank rather than Jesus Corona of Porto. Andres Guardado (Real Betis) will play in the centre in his fourth World Cup alongside Hector Herrera, whose Porto teammate is set to be the defensive midfielder. Forwards Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez remains the main striker heading into the tournament, but Raul Jimenez is having a strong season with Benfica and giving the West Ham striker a run for his money. Oribe Peralta, who led Mexico to the gold medal at the 2012 London Olympics, is the third striker. Coach Osorio likes to use a formation with a withdrawn striker, a position where Giovani Dos Santos, Marco Fabian and Rodolfo Pizarro are contesting the starting position. World Cup predictor Group games Mexico open Group F against World Cup holders Germany on June 17 in Moscow where they have their tournament base. Then there's a trip to Rostov-on-Don to face South Korea on June 23, followed by a June 27 meeting with Sweden in Yekaterinburg.
Mexico World Cup 2018 squad: Latest player news and injury information
Mexicans can never be sure who will be playing for the national team under Juan Carlos Osorio. A different line-up has been deployed by Osorio in all 44 games in charge and now players are starting to question the tactical tinkering going into the World Cup. "It's time to stop with the experiments," goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa said. "We have to focus on how we play as a team." Osorio, who replaced fan favorite Miguel Herrera in 2015, isn't budging. The Colombian has no plans to change the strategy because it carried Mexico to the World Cup as the top-place team in Concacaf qualifying for the first time in two decades. But changing formations depending on the opponent hasn't fared well in all competitions. World Cup 2018 | All you need to know "A lot of people said that the past few years have been good, but I'm not so sure about that," said Manuel Lapuente, who coached Mexico at the 1998 World Cup. "We were a failure in the Copa America Centenario. We failed at the Gold Cup and in the Confederations Cup. We did well in the qualifiers, but, guess what? We are not going to play against that kind of rival in Russia". The Mexicans were consigned to their worst-ever loss in the 2016 Copa America Centenario quarter-finals, trounced 7-0 by Chile. In a pair of semi-finals last year they were beaten 4-1 by Germany in the Confederations Cup and lost 1-0 to Jamaica in the Gold Cup. Progress for Mexico at the World Cup would be reaching the quarter-finals after failing to advance from the round of 16 at six successive editions. Only when the Mexicans hosted the World Cup did they make the last eight - in 1970 and 1986. Here's a closer look at the Mexico team: Coach Osorio, a former conditioning coach at Manchester United under Sir Alex Ferguson, won four league titles in Colombia and was managing Sao Paulo before taking over his first job as a national coach with Mexico in 2015. Osorio's success in Colombia, where he won the championship with Once Caldas and three more with Atletico Nacional, was based on the same tactical fluidity that he has brought to Mexico. His 44 games with Mexico have seen 29 wins, eight draws and seven losses. Mexico's national team coach Juan Carlos Osorio Credit: AFP Goalkeepers Guillermo Ochoa, who has made 92 appearances since his international debut in 2005, is renowned in Mexico for an outstanding save from Neymar's header at the 2014 World Cup. The 32-year-old "Memo," who plays for Standard Liege in Belgium, will be making the World Cup trip but he might not be guaranteed to start every game. Osorio is considering using either Jesus Corona or Alfredo Talavera in the final Group F game against Sweden because Ochoa can struggle dealing with crosses. Defenders Probably the weakest link in the team. Hector Moreno, who plays for Real Sociedad after a brief stint with Roma, is the strongest component of the back line. Osorio likes to play with three centre-backs, but only Moreno is a guaranteed starter. Nestor Araujo of Santos is uncertain for the tournament after sustaining a knee injury in a friendly against Croatia in March, while Carlos Salcedo injured his collarbone in the same match and is racing to be fit for Russia. Oswaldo Alanis, Hugo Ayala and Edson Alvarez could take over but all lack international experience. World Cup 2018 venues Midfielders This department is the team's strength. Hirving Lozano, who has scored 16 goals for PSV Eindhoven in the Dutch league, should start on the left wing. Carlos Vela, who joined Los Angeles FC from Real Sociedad last year, currently has the edge to start on the other flank rather than Jesus Corona of Porto. Andres Guardado (Real Betis) will play in the centre in his fourth World Cup alongside Hector Herrera, whose Porto teammate is set to be the defensive midfielder. Forwards Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez remains the main striker heading into the tournament, but Raul Jimenez is having a strong season with Benfica and giving the West Ham striker a run for his money. Oribe Peralta, who led Mexico to the gold medal at the 2012 London Olympics, is the third striker. Coach Osorio likes to use a formation with a withdrawn striker, a position where Giovani Dos Santos, Marco Fabian and Rodolfo Pizarro are contesting the starting position. World Cup predictor Group games Mexico open Group F against World Cup holders Germany on June 17 in Moscow where they have their tournament base. Then there's a trip to Rostov-on-Don to face South Korea on June 23, followed by a June 27 meeting with Sweden in Yekaterinburg.

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