Key Injuries Bettors Need to Know for the 2018 World Cup
Clive Rose, Getty Images. Pictured: Brazil’s Neymar
In the months leading up to every World Cup, there are inevitable injuries that keep players from participating.
Below is a list of players who suffered recent injuries along with their current statuses for the 2018 World Cup. We’ll continue to update as the tournament nears and rosters are announced.
All updates as of June 9, 2018 at 5:30 p.m. ET
Mohamed Salah (shoulder) – QUESTIONABLE
Just a devastating injury to happen at the worst time as Mo Salah was forced to come off after 30 minutes into the Champions League final against Real Madrid. I’ll leave him questionable for now, but Uruguay have already moved from -142 to -170 in the opener against Egypt which isn’t a great sign for his status. If you’re not familiar with Salah, he’s been one of the best players in the world this season and was poised to make a big splash this summer.
Mohamed Elneny (ankle) – PROBABLE
Defensive midfielder Mohamed Elneny looked to suffer a bad ankle injury in Arsenal’s Premier League match against West Ham, but was deemed not to break anything. He’ll likely miss the remainder of the club season, but is very likely to return in time for the World Cup.
Aleksandr Kokorin (knee) – DOUBTFUL
Georgi Dzhikiya (knee) – DOUBTFUL
Viktor Vasin (knee) – DOUBTFUL
A trio of Russian players all look to be doubtful — Kokorin is a striker, Dzhikiya a center-back and Vasin another center-back. This is bad news for a country I’ve already taken to finish dead last in Group A.
Dani Carvajal (Leg) – QUESTIONABLE
I don’t want to speculate on the severity of the injury but Carvajal had to come off in the first half of the Champions League final against Liverpool and was in tears. He’s probably closer to doubtful considering his reaction, but I’m hoping for the best for the defender. The latest reports have him missing the first couple group games.
Laurent Koscielny (Achilles) – OUT
The Arsenal defender had to be stretchered off early in their Europa League semifinal second leg at Atletico Madrid with a torn Achilles. He’ll be out for about six months, a huge blow for France.
Dimitri Payet (hamstring) – OUT
The 32-year-old forward/midfielder injured his hamstring in the Europa League Final against Atletico Madrid and was left off of France’s roster for the World Cup.
Nicklas Bendtner (thigh) – OUT
“Lord Bendtner”, as he’s known to some, has been left off the roster after suffering a thigh injury less than two weeks ago.
Sergio Romero (knee) – OUT
The #1 goalkeeper for Argentina has been ruled out of the World Cup with a knee injury requiring surgery. Willy Caballero (Chelsea) and Franco Armani (River Plate) are expected to fill the role in net.
Manuel Lanzini (knee) – OUT
The West Ham United forward suffered an ACL injury in training and will be out for a lengthy amount of time. In his absence, Enzo Perez will replace him, making Argentina the oldest club in the entire tournament. Striker Mauro Icardi has once again been left off the roster.
Fernando Gago (knee) – OUT
Gago suffered a setback in his recovery and will miss the World Cup. The Boca Juniors midfielder likes to sit back and make plays from a deeper role and would certainly have been included on the roster if fully healthy.
Sergio Aguero (knee) – PROBABLE
Despite Argentina being one of the favorites to win it all, there are a ton of question marks surrounding the squad that manager Jorge Sampaoli will select. Aguero is in a race to get fit in time for June, and Argentina have plenty of other attacking options from which to choose.
Lucas Biglia (back) – PROBABLE
Biglia was featured in all seven of Argentina’s 2014 World Cup matches, but his chances in 2018 are up in the air. After he suffered a fracture of the transverse processes of the first two lumbar vertebrae, the prognosis doesn’t sound good.
Gylfi Sigurdsson (knee) – PROBABLE
After Iceland’s successful run in the 2016 Euros, many of its fans are hoping to see the club at full strength at the 2018 World Cup. Sigurdsson had been questionable for many weeks but appears ready to go.
Oghenekaro Etebo (muscle) – PROBABLE
Not a lot of details surround the Las Palmas midfielder’s injury, but he’s missed training this week and could be something that lingers. I’ll list him probable for now until more news is known.
Neymar (foot) – PROBABLE
A foot injury back in February put Neymar’s World Cup hopes in jeopardy, but the Brazilian star is on track to be ready for June. Neymar is one of the best players in the world, and his absence would have a big impact on Brazil’s odds.
Alex Sandro (hamstring) – OUT
Brazil had concerns about defender Alex Sandro’s injury as hamstrings can be very touchy and he was left off Brazil’s final roster.
Dani Alves (knee) – OUT
The Brazilian defender was injured in PSG’s Coupe de France Final and has officially been ruled out of the World Cup. He’s been a crucial component for Brazil and they’ll have to replace him with another defender on the right side.
Matija Nastasic (knee) – DOUBTFUL
Nastasic was a big part of FC Schalke’s great defensive unit this past season but may not recover from a knee injury in time for the World Cup.
Jerome Boateng (thigh) – PROBABLE
Boateng suffered another injury during Champions League action which ended his club season early, but he’s been added to the final World Cup roster. This would have been a big blow for Germany’s defensive unit but he still may not be 100%.
Manuel Neuer (foot) – PROBABLE
The star goalkeeper had been out for a while with a broken foot but was added to the final roster. Fortunately they have another star to fill in, Marc-Andre ter Stegen, but it never hurts to have all the best players available.
Mesut Ozil (back) – PROBABLE
The Arsenal midfielder is out for the remainder of the club season but fully expected to be healthy for the World Cup.
Lars Stindl (ankle) – OUT
Stindl will not be part of Germany’s powerful offensive attack over the summer, but fortunately the Germans have other options.
Serge Gnabry (groin) – OUT
While he wasn’t a lock to make the squad by any means, he now has no chance after suffering a groin injury.
Michy Batshuayi (ankle) – PROBABLE
Batshuayi really came into his own after being loaned to Dortmund from Chelsea and made the preliminary roster despite an ankle injury. He should be good to go in time for the opener against Panama.
Vincent Kompany (groin) – QUESTIONABLE
Kompany, a central defender, has been included in Belgium’s World Cup roster but he’s still very questionable and could be cut before the opening group match if still injured.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (knee) – OUT
The Liverpool workhorse suffered a season-ending knee injury in the Champions League semifinal and will miss this summer for England.
Joe Gomez (ankle) – OUT
While not a star, Gomez was likely to crack the England roster as a defender and provide them with depth off the bench. A recent ankle surgery has ruled him out of contention over the summer, and he’ll also miss Liverpool’s Champions League Final on May 26 vs. Real Madrid.
Youssef Msakni (knee) – OUT
Tunisia’s 27-year-old star midfielder suffered a knee injury in early April, which will keep him out the entire summer. This puts a huge damper on Tunisia’s hopes of advancing past the group stage.
Kamil Glik (shoulder) – DOUBTFUL
Glik is very doubtful to appear at the World Cup after sustaining a shoulder injury and Poland will miss a key part of their defense with his absence.
Frank Fabra (knee) – OUT
Fabra, a projected starter for Colombia on the left side of their defense, tore his ACL in training and will miss the World Cup. The injury is even more frustrating considering it happened with less than a week before the start of the tournament.
TEAM PREVIEWS AND BEST BETS
- Group A: Russia | Saudi Arabia | Egypt | Uruguay
- Group B: Portugal | Morocco | Iran | Spain
- Group C: France | Australia | Peru | Denmark
- Group D: Argentina | Iceland | Croatia | Nigeria
- Group E: Brazil | Costa Rica | Switzerland | Serbia
- Group F: Germany | Mexico | Sweden | South Korea
- Group G: Belgium | Panama | Tunisia | England
- Group H: Poland | Senegal | Colombia | Japan