This week, a busy club football calendar before the World Cup is disrupted as national teams get one more opportunity to polish their preparations before departing for Qatar to begin the tournament on November 20.
The World Cup being held during the European season is having a significant impact on clubs as well as national team managers.
While domestic tournaments suffer the most from the disruption to the schedule since they must conclude a week before the World Cup’s first match in Qatar.
It also means that teams won’t have much time to practice together before the tournament.
Therefore, events during the next week are given extra significance as European teams finish the UEFA Nations League group stage and other contenders compete in friendlies.
It includes back-to-back games for Brazil against Ghana and Tunisia on French territory.
The defending world champions, France, are attempting to stay in the top division of the Nations League while also preparing to defend the title they won in Russia in 2018.
The 2017 Nations League champions, Les Bleus, must defeat Austria at home on Thursday and Denmark away on Sunday to guarantee their place in League A.
Injuries to important players, like Paul Pogba, who is recuperating from knee surgery and is in a battle against time to be ready for Qatar, are only one of Didier Deschamps’ many problems as the coach of France.
Despite the short time, “he will do everything to try to be fit as rapidly as possible,” Deschamps said to broadcaster TF1 on Sunday.
It is also too soon to tell whether Kylian Mbappe’s image rights battle with the French Football Federation, which resulted in the Paris Saint-Germain star declining to participate in a picture session on Monday, will negatively affect the team’s morale.
Several new players are part of France’s latest team, trying to make an impression before November 13, when FIFA must receive final rosters.
Toney gets an opportunity to play for England
Ivan Toney of Brentford has been given a chance by England boss Gareth Southgate as the runners-up of Euro 2020 take on Germany and Italy in Nations League A3.
Like France, England had a string of unfavorable results in June; thus, winning both games is realistically required to stay out of League B.
But with Qatar in mind, Southgate will do a rule check on a 28-man extended squad.
Southgate said last week that one of the reasons for the selections was that they were made based on form. And capabilities over an extended period, despite our summer performances being unsatisfactory.
On September 27, Spain and Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal will face off in Braga in a pre-World Cup match that might determine which of the Iberian neighbors progresses to the Nations League championships in June.
Meanwhile, Wales manager Robert Page has included Los Angeles FC’s Gareth Bale in his team for matches against Belgium and Poland. Bale just signed a new four-year contract.
Wales is sure to be eliminated from its Nations League group, but they won’t let that worry them too much before making their first appearance on the World Cup stage since 1958.