How Celtic's international stars' World Cup chances look after final break before Qatar
Over a decade has passed since it was announced that Qatar would host the 2022 World Cup in a break from tradition that would require the tournament to take place during the Winter due to the stifling Middle Eastern summer heat making football unfeasible.
Celtic have a strong recent history of international players and even with Scotland losing out to Ukraine in their play-off to reach this year’s tournament, there’s a vested interest with several members of Ange Postecoglou’s squad likely to take part in Qatar, particularly following their involvement in the recent international fixtures.
With less than two months before the tournament kicks off, here’s a rundown of Celtic’s international stars and their likelihood of making their country’s respective squads for the winter World Cup.
Cameron Carter-Vickers missed the international break with injury but was involved in the USA’s June friendlies, so should still be in with a decent chance of making the tournament and adding to his 11 caps.
Aaron Mooy was given an early reprise from international duty after playing the full ninety of the Socceroos 1-0 win over New Zealand last week, and has been previously named as a key man for Qatar by manager Graham Arnold, so is a stick-on to be selected.
Similarly, Josip Juranovic was recently given a very public vote of confidence from Croatia manager Zlatko Dalic, and if fit, will likely start for his country at the World Cup, never mind just make the squad, having also deputised at left-back for his country in addition to playing in his favoured position on the right.
Despite neither scoring for Japan over the international break, Kyogo Furuhashi and Daizen Maeda’s involvement from the start in the two games over the international break suggests that both are likely to be given a spot on the plane to Qatar.
Those who likely won’t make Qatar
Joe Hart has 75 caps and represented his country at three international tournaments, but hasn’t played for England since 2017 and barring an unprecedented injury crisis between the sticks for the Three Lions, will enjoy a well-deserved break during the World Cup instead.
After Reo Hatate was left out for the post-league season internationals, it felt like a logical decision given the concentration of football the midfielder had played, but now fully fit and playing in the Champions League, his complete lack of involvement is mystifying, and it looks like his World Cup dream is over. Even if he finds fitness in time, Yosuke Ideguchi almost certainly won’t be involved despite accumulating 15 caps for his country so far, with the latest coming in December 2019.
Celtic, of course, have two Danes in the squad in Matt O’Riley and Oliver Abildgaard, but it would take something extraordinary for either to receive a call-up. Abildgaard has a single cap for his country from 2020, and faces stiff competition in defensive midfield with Premier League stars Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, Christian Norgaard and Sevilla midfielder Thomas Delaney. Though O’Riley is now a regular for the Denmark U-21s, scoring over this international break, it seems unlikely that he’ll get the nod for Qatar barring a serious injury crisis.
Despite having 11 caps for Switzerland, it would be a shock to see Albian Ajeti called up, having not received a call-up for over a year, not played for his country since 2020, and barely playing for his loan club Sturm Graz so far.
Even for those who miss out on Qatar there’s plenty to be excited about on the domestic front in a truly unique season for everyone associated with Celtic.
In other news: Scotrail confirm further travel issues for Celtic supporters