World Cup Preliminary Teams to be Decided by Friday

Doha: World Cup mentors must present a preliminary selection of players for the tournament by Friday as they start the process of settling their squads for the finals in Qatar.

Every one of the 32 participating nations must send a list of a minimum of 35 players up to a maximum of 55 by the end of the day, in the first step in the selection process.

Coaches then have until Nov. 14 to decide on their final list of 26 players by a 1800GMT deadline. All the squads will be published by FIFA the next day.

The final squad must come from the preliminary list, with no recompense for any late changes of mind over the next three weeks, as FIFA’s tournament rules and guidelines specify.

World football’s governing body will not publish the preliminary lists, but some countries might choose to do so, flagging their goals and possibly putting to bed some of the early debate about team selection.

World Cup holders France has a long list of injuries that coach Didier Deschamps should take into consideration over the next few days although the preliminary list is long enough to include players in a race against time to be fit for Qatar.

England’s discussion about their right-back position might also get clarity as manager Gareth Southgate makes his choices. There has been a hypothesis about whether Liverpool’s Trent Alexander-Arnold is in his plans after recently being disregarded.

Brazil left out Gabriel Jesus for two friendlies in France last month amid stiff competition for places in the forward line and notwithstanding his fine form for his new club Arsenal this season. The number of players in the final World Cup squads has been expanded by three — from 23 to 26 — for the tournament in Qatar.

FIFA said in June the choice to expand squads was made “given the need to retain additional flexibility due to the unique timing” of this year’s competition, which will interrupt the European club season. It starts on Nov. 20 with the final on Dec. 18.

World football’s administering body also took into account the “broader context of the disruptive effects caused by the Covid-19 pandemic on squads before and during tournaments”.

The number of players on the primer rundown likewise increased to 55 from a maximum of 35 four years ago.

By Archana

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