FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022
With only 7 days to go to the World Cup and excitement at its peak, Qatar is all set to host the biggest football championship. As fans from all over the world prepare for a whirlwind of emotions, flags soaring high around and team chants all around, 32 men prepare to lead their respective teams to victory at the tournament.
Here is a little about the Captains of each team at the 2022 World Cup this year:
1. Mathew Ryan (Australia)
The Australian shot-stopper has been a frequent name in the Australia team sheet since 2012 and Mark Schwarzer’s retirement. The Australian has played for clubs like Brighton, Valencia, and Arsenal, and has already been part of two World Cups. However, this will be the first World Cup where he is captain, and will hope to make it a memorable one.
2. Ehsan Hajsafi (Iran)
Ehsan Hajsafi is a midfielder who has been converted to a left-back. He has played for numerous clubs, most notably current club AEK Athens. The 32-year old has also played for Iran since 2008, and made 119 appearances for the Asian country, scoring 7 goals. Featuring in World Cup 2018, he played against the teams of Spain and Portugal and faced Argentina in the 2014 World Cup.
3. Maya Yoshida (Japan)
The Japanese centre-back has been a colosseum for his country since 2010. Having come through the youth system of Japanese club Nagoya Grampus Eight. He is probably most well-known for his stint with Southampton, where he made 154 appearances and scored 6 goals. He has just signed for German club Schalke 04 on a free transfer, since his Sampdoria contract has expired. He has made 119 appearances for Japan, scoring 12 goals.
4. Hassan Al-Haydos (Qatar)
Hassan Al-Haydos might be considered a Qatari legend. Playing for Qatari club Al-Sadd throughout his whole career, making 261 appearances and scoring 84 goals for them. The striker has played with the likes of current Barcelona manager Xavi, and was voted as the ‘Best Qatari Player’ in 2014, in a poll, receiving 58 out of 104 votes from a panel of analysts, coaches and administrators. He is his country’s record appearance maker with 163 caps, and fourth-highest goalscorer with 33 goals.
5. Salman Al-Faraj (Saudi Arabia)
Another one-club-man like Al-Haydos, Salman Al-Faraj has spent his whole life at Saudi club Al-Hilal FC. He has come through their youth system and made 208 appearances for the club, scoring 17 goals. The midfielder has made 68 appearances for the Saudi Arabia national team, scoring 8 goals. The most notable of those 8, though, surely is his equaliser from the penalty spot, versus Egypt in the 2018 World Cup. Saudi Arabia ended up winning the match 2-1, their only victory in the tournament.
6. Son Heung-min (South Korea)
The South Korean can easily be considered among the best wingers in the world. He has played for Tottenham Hotspur since 2015, making 232 appearances and scoring 93 goals. The winger, nicknamed “Sonaldo” by Jose Mourinho following his stunning solo goal versus Burnley, is probably the most well-known South Korean footballer of all time. He made his debut in 2010, and has made 102 appearances for his country to date, scoring 33 goals. Having scored 3 of those 33 goals in the World Cup, he is the joint-leading South Korean goalscorer in the World Cup (joint with Park Ji-sung and Ahn Jung-hwan). He’ll hope to put himself in the lead outright this World Cup.
7. Vincent Aboubakar (Cameroon)
The journeyman forward has remarkably never made more than 85 appearances for any team apart from the Cameroon national team, where he has made 87 appearances, scoring 33 goals. Currently playing for Saudi Arabian club Al-Nassr, the Cameroonian has had spells at the likes of Porto and Besiktas. Aboubakar is a strong presence, and loves to outmuscle opposition defenders. He’ll be eager to give a few defenders nightmares in Qatar.
8. Andre Ayew (Ghana)
The Ghanaian, probably best known for his spells at Swansea and West Ham, is part of a footballing family. His father is Abedi Pele, a Ghanaian attacking midfielder who is widely considered among the best African players ever, and his brother is Jordan Ayew, who plays for Crystal Palace and has played for Ghana alongside Andre. The winger will play for Ghana at a World Cup for the third time, with his inclusion in the 2010 and 2014 World Cup squads. As Ghana had failed to qualify in 2018, Ayew will hope his team can make up for the 8 year hiatus from the tournament in style.
9. Romain Saïss (Morocco)
Born in France to a Moroccan father and French mother, Saiss was eligible for both countries, but chose Morocco. He is probably best known for his stint at Wolves, where he made 176 appearances and scored 13 goals. He is now at Besiktas following the expiry of his Wolves contract this year. The central defender, who can also play in midfield, has made 63 appearances for the African nation, scoring one goal. He will play his second World Cup in 2022.
10. Kalidou Koulibaly (Senegal)
The Senegalese captain, Kalidou Koulibaly, is a stalwart in Italian club SSC Napoli’s defence, the club he has been at since 2014. Despite being born in France, he had Senegalese eligibility, due to his parents both being Senegalese, and made his debut in 2015. He has played against the best attackers in the world, in the Serie A and Champions League. He could have played for France with manager Didier Deschamps eager to call him up, but chose Senegal, to “write the story of the future of Senegal football”, something he has done, making 62 appearances for Senegal. He is yet to score an international goal.
11. Youssef Msakni (Tunisia)
The Tunisian captain already has experience in Qatar, being currently contracted to Al-Duhail. He did spend last season on loan to Al Arabi, where the winger scored 10 goals in 20 appearances. Msakni has made 84 appearances for Tunisia, scoring 17 goals. He made his Tunisia debut at just 19, in a friendly, but has been a mainstay in the team since then.
12. Atiba Hutchinson (Canada)
Hutchinson can be described as the old man in the young Canada team. He will lead out a team with players like Alphonso Davies and Jonathan David, in the country’s first World Cup since 1986. Hutchinson is a robust defensive midfielder who has played for Turkish club Besiktas since 2013, who he also captains. He has made 265 appearances for the Turkish giants, scoring 23 goals. For Canada, he has made 97 appearances, scoring 9 goals. He will hope to hit the 100 cap mark at the World Cup.
13. Bryan Ruiz (Costa Rica)
The attacking midfielder is no stranger to the captain’s armband, having worn it for Belgian club Genk at 21 years old, back in 2007. Since then, he has played for the likes of Fulham and PSV. He made his international debut in 2005, and the attacking midfielder has made 144 appearances for his nation, scoring 29 goals. He’ll hope to give the Costa Ricans joy in the tournament.
14. Andres Guardado (Mexico)
Guadardo came through the ranks of Mexican club Atlas, but he has spent most of his life in Spain, making 325 appearances combined for Deportivo La Coruna, Valencia, and Real Betis. The midfielder has made 175 appearances for Mexico, and has scored 28 goals for the country. He made his Mexico debut in December 2005, just four months after his senior debut. However, after a great 17-year career, this will likely be Guadardo’s last World Cup.
15. Christian Pulisic (USA)
Nicknamed “Captain America”, the Hershey-born wide man features regularly for Chelsea. Being the youngest player to score a hat-trick for Chelsea, scoring one aged just 21 against Burnley, he is surely a big part of Chelsea’s plans going forward. He has played for the USA national team since 2016. He made his senior debut for German club Borussia Dortmund on January 24th 2016, and his USA debut soon after, on March 29th 2016. He has made 51 appearances for the USA senior team, and scored 21 goals. He has won the CONCACAF Nations League, with his penalty in extra time being the winning goal.
16. Lionel Messi (Argentina)
One of the best players of all time. Lionel Messi, playing for PSG, is among the best players in the world, even at 35 years old. The Argentine has won the Copa America and the inaugural Finalissima this year, and will hope to make it 3 out of 3 in terms of international trophies available to him. As it will likely be his last World Cup, the seven-time Ballon D’Or will be pushing to do what the iconic Diego Maradona managed in 1986 and win the World Cup for Argentina.
17. Thiago Silva (Brazil)
Thiago Emiliano da Silva (born 22 September 1984) is a Brazilian professional footballer who plays as a centre-back for Premier League club Chelsea and captains the Brazil national team. Considered one of the best defenders in the world and one of the greatest of all time, he is known for his defensive prowess, discipline, and leadership.
Silva made his senior international debut for Brazil in 2008, at age 23, and has since earned over 100 caps, including appearing in seven major tournaments. He won a bronze medal in the 2008 Olympics and a silver medal at the 2012 Olympics, and later served as captain when Brazil won the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup and finished fourth at the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Silva later helped his country win the 2019 Copa América.
18. Enner Valencia (Ecuador)
Enner Valencia is an Ecuadorian icon, playing for clubs such as West Ham and Everton. He is currently at Turkish club Fenerbahce, who finished second in the league last season. Valencia loves to hit shots with immense power, with his first West Ham goal having been a 25-yard thunderbolt, clocked at a whopping 98 km/hour. Initially a winger, he was trialed at striker following the untimely passing of ex-Birmingham City striker Christian Benitez, who was just 27 years old. Valencia is the current top scorer for Ecuador, having scored 35 goals in 72 appearances for the South American nation.
19. Diego Godin (Uruguay)
The Uruguayan is surely on his last legs. Signing for Argentine club Velaz, the 36 year old central defender is probably most well-known for his stint at Atletico Madrid, where he made 277 appearances and scored 17 goals. However, now he is likely just signing for Velaz to keep him in contention for the World Cup. The defender has made 159 appearances for Uruguay, and scored 8 goals. In what might be the final games of his career, he’ll hope to make them memorable.
20. Eden Hazard (Belgium)
The Real Madrid winger has had a torrid time in Spain. Bought from Chelsea, where he was arguably the third best player in the world, he has struggled with weight issues, injury, and poor form at Los Blancos. But on his day, the winger can still be deadly. The Chelsea legend has captained the Belgian team since 2015, and has made 120 appearances for the team, scoring 33 goals. This is likely to be the last tournament for the Belgian golden generation, and they will be hoping to make it memorable.
21. Luka Modric (Croatia)
The Croatian, even at 36, is still at his silky best for Real Madrid. He makes running the midfield look so effortless. The 2018 Ballon D’Or winner has made 294 appearances for Real Madrid, scoring 22 goals. A crucial part of both Real and Croatia, this is likely to be his last World Cup, maybe even his last season in professional football. He has been a pillar in Croatia’s team since 2006, where he has made 152 appearances and scored 22 goals. He is the most capped player in Croatia’s history. He’ll hope his 2022 tournament is memorable for the right reasons.
22. Simon Kjaer (Denmark)
The Danish defender has done well to recover from numerous serious injuries and has nailed down his spot in the Scudetto-winning AC Milan team, and is widely expected to take up the captaincy following the expiry of current skipper Alessio Romagnoli’s contract. He is also well-known for aiding the medical staff when international team-mate Christian Eriksen collapsed during Euro 2020, something which won him worldwide praise.
23. Gareth Bale (Wales)
This ex-Real Madrid forward has recently signed for MLS club LAFC, following the expiry of his contract. This is likely to ensure he is match-fit for the World Cup. The Welshman helped end Wales’s 64-year World Cup hiatus, with his free kick against Ukraine in the play-off final deflecting off Andriy Yarmolenko before crossing the line being the only goal of the match. The Real Madrid icon has made 106 appearances for Wales, and scored 39 goals. This will likely be his last World Cup, as reports claim he had considered retiring if Wales failed to qualify.
24. Harry Kane (England)
Harry Kane is a name surely known all around the world. A Tottenham player his whole life, Harry Kane is considered one of the best strikers in the world. The Englishman was once released by Arsenal’s academy for being “too chubby” according to Arsenal academy manager Liam Brady. After a brief trial at Watford, Tottenham signed him, and Tottenham is where he has stayed at. A striker who knows where the goal is, Kane has 73 appearances for England, and has scored 53 goals, having led the Three Lions to the World Cup 2018 semi-finals, and the Euro 2020 final. He will be hoping to go one better this year, and win the tournament.
25. Hugo Lloris (France)
The Frenchman is one of the best goalkeepers in the world. Despite being 35, he still has a lot in the tank, surely more than enough for the 2022 World Cup. He can be considered a Tottenham icon, having made 336 appearances for the London club. He has also made 139 appearances for France, and will be hoping his team can play like retaining champions.
26. Manuel Neuer (Germany)
The German goalkeeper has revolutionized the goalkeeper’s position. His “sweeper keeper” style, a complete contrast to the convention, has become the norm over the years, with the German leading the way. Playing for Bayern Munich since 2011, the 6’4 goalkeeper has made 310 appearances for the Bavarians. He has made 113 appearances for Germany, and will be eager to have a better tournament than 2018, where the Germans got knocked out in the group stage.
27. Virgil van Dijk (Netherlands)
Arguably the best defender in the world, the Dutchman missed Euro 2020 due to his injury, but since his return he has shown the same class he always shows. He is the only defender to win UEFA Men’s Player of the Year, with his victory coming in 2019. Playing for Liverpool, the defender has won every trophy possible at club level, but is still to add an international trophy to his collection. The second-most expensive defender in history has made 47 appearances for the Dutch national team, and scored 5 goals in that time.
28. Robert Lewandowski (Poland)
Among the best strikers in the world. The Polish hitman, currently at Bayern Munich, is Poland’s most capped player ever, and is also the country’s all-time leading scorer, with 132 caps and 76 goals for the Central European nation. However, remarkably, the Polish frontman doesn’t have a single World Cup goal. He will be hoping to change that this year.
29. Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal)
Widely considered as one of the best players in history, Cristiano Ronaldo has captained Portugal since 2008, at just 23 years old. While he may be 37 now, he still has the physique and energy to lead this new-generation Portuguese team. The five-time Ballon D’Or winner currently wants out of Manchester United, having failed to qualify for the Champions League. However, he will surely captain Portugal in Qatar, and try to make what will likely be his final World Cup, his most successful World Cup.
30. Dusan Tadic (Serbia)
The Ajax forward, since he signed for Ajax in 2018, has remarkably not missed even a single game due to injury. That means he played in all 192 matches he could have played in, taking suspensions into account. The deep-lying forward, who can also play out wide and in midfield, has made 127 appearances for Ajax, and scored 66 goals. He made his Serbia debut in 2008, but he became a regular only in 2011. Since his debut, though, he has made 88 appearances and scored 18 goals. The captain will hope to provide more moments of magic to the Serbians.
31. Sergio Busquets (Spain)
Normally, this would be a different Sergio, Sergio Ramos of PSG. However, he hasn’t been picked by Spain and Luis Enrique since 2020, hence Sergio Busquets’s inclusion here. The Barcelona veteran, who has played for Barcelona his whole life, has made 137 appearances for Spain, and scored two goals. At 33, this is likely his last World Cup, but also his first as captain, provided Ramos is not included in the squad.
32. Granit Xhaka (Switzerland)
The Arsenal midfielder has captained the Gunners before, but that ended in catastrophe as he shouted back verbal abuse at fans as they booed him off. However, he is still Switzerland’s captain, and a well respected member of the squad. He has made 104 appearances for the Swiss national team, scoring two goals so far. He will hope to pull the nation toward the latter stages of the tournament.
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