The Qatar 2022 World Cup draw took place earlier today in Doha. Several Arsenal players now know who their national teams will be facing come late November. As a reminder, the Premier League will take a break next season during the World Cup.
With Arsenal expected to do a good deal of business in the summer window, we could be adding a few more names to the list of World Cup-bound Gunners by the time the competition gets underway. We could also be parting ways with some of them, too.
No Gunners are expected to play for any of the Group A countries, however Hale End-er Salah Oulad M’Hand, who received his first Arsenal first team call-up this season and occasionally practices with the senior squad, is part of the Netherlands youth setup. He has five goals and two assists in 15 PL 2 appearances this season. I believe he also has international eligibility for Morocco.
The big one. Arsenal could have as many as four players on the Three Lions roster - Aaron Ramsdale and Bukayo Saka seem like locks to make the squad. Emile Smith Rowe and Ben White have recently been called into the team. I would put White’s odds of making the team slightly higher than ESR’s only because England play a back three and are comparatively thinner at CB compared to the glut of attacking talent ESR will have to best.
Matt Turner, the soon-to-be Arsenal #2 keeper, should make the USMNT. He is currently second-choice behind Manchester City’s Zack Steffen. Steffen’s distribution is better. Turner is by far the better shot-stopper. I think Turner should be the guy, but I would not be surprised if he remains the backup.
Kieran Tierney’s Scotland is in the running for that European playoff spot in the group. Scotland face Ukraine in June in the semifinal of the European playoff, although the Russian invasion complicates that situation just a bit.
No senior Gunners in this group. Academy player Marcelo Flores received his first full national team call-up in November and could make the squad. El Tri, despite qualifying comfortably, didn’t make headlines with their Raul Jimenez-led attack and could shake things up.
Intercontinental playoff 1
The on-loan William Saliba was called into the French national team for the most recent round of friendlies and started in a 5-0 win over South Africa. By all accounts, he has been in good form all season at Marseille. I’m not sure which is a more difficult question: will Saliba make the French team or will Saliba be a Gunner next season?
20-year old Omar Rekik made two appearances for Tunisia at AFCON, both times as a late sub, and should make the World Cup roster.
Intercontinental playoff 2
Takehiro Tomiyasu is Japan’s starting right back, although he has missed the last two rounds of international matches with the calf problems that have kept him off the pitch in the Premier League. He’ll be healthy and starting for Japan in Qatar, knock on wood.
Bernd Leno will likely be one of the three keepers Die Mannschaft bring to Qatar, but he is not likely to be an Arsenal player next season. He will likely be sold this summer.
In case you had forgotten, Mikel Arteta is Spanish, but that’s pretty much where the Gunners’ current connections to La Roja end. Hector Bellerin (still an Arsenal player) was last called into the squad in 2020 for friendlies and did not feature.
Sambi Lokonga was called into the Belgium setup for their most recent round of friendlies, although he did not feature. Thierry Henry is an assistant coach for Belgium — the Arsenal connection there can’t hurt Sambi’s chances, right? If he does make the squad, it will likely be as one of the last guys on the roster as one of those “bring one or two young guys for the experience” situations.
Arsenal have been linked with Canada’s Jonathan David, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves.
Gabriel Martinelli and Gabriel Magalhaes were both called in for the Seleção’s recent friendlies. It’s always tough to make the Brazilian national team as an attacker, so I’d put Gabby’s chances lower than Gabriel’s. I think the Arsenal CB is likely to make the side.
Granit Xhaka captains the Swiss national team and will likely be wearing the armband at the World Cup. Will he be an Arsenal player next season? My gut says he will be, but it also wouldn’t surprise me in the slightest were he sold this summer.
Cedric was called back into the Portugal setup for the first time in a year and could make the World Cup roster, although it would be as a backup. He didn’t feature in the latest round of international matches. Nuno Tavares is a Portugal U21 player but was not called in for their two recent friendlies. I would be shocked if he made the team, although he is the type of player that can show well. He aggressive attacking style, penchant for dribbling at opponents, and athleticism can be eye-popping.
Thomas Partey is a mainstay for Ghana and that won’t change. I just hope the Black Stars get him back to London intact.
Lucas Torreira is a mainstay for La Celeste, but he won’t be an Arsenal player come World Cup time. He’s all but sold to Fiorentina, if reports can be believed.