These World Cup Teams Could Be Eliminated Due to Injuries

June 12, 2018 | insideinjuries | No Comments

Portugal

Winning the Euro Cup in 2016 was a huge momentum booster for Portugal, who has been on fire as of late. But the one thing that could slow them down in Russia is injuries. They may be one of the favorites to win it all but they also have an overall High Injury Risk.  Ronaldo may be the best player in the world, but his Injury Risk is Elevated due to his lengthy is injury history that includes an ankle sprain just last month. Pepe is another veteran that Portugal relies heavily on, but his history is even more concerning and includes a recent hamstring strain and toe fracture. Portugal’s captain aggressive style of play makes him a great defender but it also puts him at risk. It’s also worth noting that Portugal will be without midfielder Danilo Pereira in Russia after tearing his Achilles in April. If the team can escape without any more injuries they could win it all, but one small injury could ruin their chances.

England

England had no trouble qualifying for the World Cup, but advancing to later rounds could prove to be a much tougher challenge. Overall the Team Injury Risk is High due to injury concerns with many of their best players. Harry Kane has had repeated issues with his right ankle and although he is healthy now, it wouldn’t be a surprise if he aggravated his ankle at some point during the tournament. If Kane aggravates his ankle at any point during the tournament, England’s chances will go down with him. England will be without Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain after an April ACL tear required surgery. Another weak spot is Jordan Henderson. He has suffered far too many lower body muscle strains to count and comes with an Elevated Injury Risk. This team has the talent to make a deep run, but injuries and some concerns on defense could prevent them from advancing.

Brazil

Brazil has quite a few injury concerns, and the tournament hasn’t even started yet. Dani Alves won’t be making the trip to Russia after recently tearing his ACL, which puts a gaping hole in Brazil’s defense. Neymar has returned from a foot fracture, and even scored in a friendly recently, but he even admitted that he isn’t 100%. Now, at less than full strength, Neymar is still one of the best in the world. But it needs to be said that a foot fracture comes with a high-rate of re-injury for footballers. If Neymar can stay on the pitch he will be a difference-maker, but that’s easier said than done. Other key players like Gabriel Jesus and Philippe Coutinho also come with increased Injury Risks. Jesus missed six weeks in January to a knee ligament injury and Coutinho’s history of hamstring injuries is startling to say the least. Overall the team’s risk is High. If they can manage to stay healthy and Neymar can play close to 90 minutes, Brazil has a shot to win it all. But if any one of these recent injuries pops up again, they will have a hard time taking down other contenders like Germany, Spain, Argentina and France.

Nigeria

All three of Nigeria’s key players, Victor Moses, John Obi Mikel and Leon Balogun, come with significant injury concerns. Moses has suffered multiple hamstring injuries in the past three years, the most recent of which was a right hamstring tear in October. Mikel suffered an abdominal/hip injury last year that required surgery an a multi-month absence. While he is now fit, any aggravation of the injury could end his tournament run.  Balogun’s most recent injury was a bruised rib in April, but the real concern here is his long list of past injuries. It’s also worth noting that Moses Simon missed out on the World Cup squad as a hip injury has him sidelined indefinitely. In a tough group and with a High Overall Team Injury RIsk, it’s hard to see this team moving on.

Iceland

Iceland went on an incredible run to qualify for the 2018 World Cup. But advancing (or even earning a point or two), will be a tough task. Not only do they lack experience and fall into a brutal Group D, but they are also have one of the highest Overall Injury Risks as a team. Aron Gunnarsson, captain and heart of the Iceland team, just missed 4 weeks with a knee injury and recently missed four months following November ankle surgery. If Gunnarson is the heart of the team, then Gylfi Sigurdsson is the brains as the team’s top scorer. But he has his own injury concerns. He barely made the final squad due to a knee injury in March that forced him to miss 12 weeks. He proved himself fit, but he’s at High Risk of an aggravation, which could severely dampen any chances Iceland has of moving on.

Costa Rica

Two of Costa Rica’s most important players have a High Injury Risk according to our algorithm, making the Overall Injury Risk also High. Defender Giancarlo González missed three weeks in May with a knee injury, and while he has recovered, it remains a lingering concern. On the front end, striker Joel Campbell sidelined from October through March with a left foot/ankle injury. It’s also worth noting that less than a year ago Campbell missed three months after suffering a tear in his right knee. Significant lower body injuries are always a concern, and Campbell will be at risk aggravating either previous injury. The Ticos impressed during the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, and while they aren’t expected to make it out of the Group Stage, they have a shot if guys like Gonzalez, Campbell and Keylor Navas in goal can play at their best.

South Korea

South Korea is one of the Highest Risk teams entering the World. Two significant players didn’t make the squad due to injuries: Kim Jinsu due to an MCL injury and Kwon Chang-hun due to an Achilles rupture. On top of that, midfielder Ki Sung-Yeung has a string of lower body injuries that lead to an Elevated Injury Risk, and Koo Ja-cheol is High Risk due to a recent LCL sprain. It’s also worth noting that Kim Seung-Gyu in goal is also an Elevated Risk due to a left ankle injury that held him out for two months earlier in the year. Given South Korea’s injuries on both sides of the pitch, it’s hard to see them advancing.

Tunisia

Before the World Cup even started, Tunisia was dealt a huge injury blow with the loss of Youssef M’Sakni to a torn ACL.  He was widely considered one of the best players on their team, and replacing him up front will be a nearly impossible task. Outside of his injury, there aren’t many concerns, but losing your best player is a tough way to start the tournament. For that reason, their team Injury Risk is High. Tunisia will be fortunate to secure even a point or two in the group stage without M’Sakni.

Other Concerning Teams:

France

Long before the final World Cup squads were announced, France suffered a blow with the loss of Laurent Koscielny to an Achilles tendon tear. They have a few other players with somewhat concerning injury histories, including defenders Raphael Varane and Benjamin Mendy. Varane has a startling long injury history, but Mendy’s concerns are more recent. He suffered a torn right ACL in September and has yet to return from surgery. There is no telling how Mendy will be able to perform coming off such a major injury. Ousmane Dembele and Kylian Mbappe are also injury concerns up front. Mbappe reportedly suffered a left ankle injury in training leading up to the start of the World Cup. The severity of the injury is not yet know, but it has thrown France into the High Risk category.

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