(L-R) Neymar, Kevin De Bruyne, Kylian Mbappé, Karim Benzema (out due to injury) and Lionel Messi are in Qatar for the World Cup. (Amber Matsumoto/Yahoo Sports)Amber Matsumoto, Yahoo Sports

The World Cup is officially underway in Qatar. The first game was Sunday as Ecuador spoiled Qatar’s debut in the international tournament. As you get prepared for this awkwardly timed tourney, here are 30 of the best players in the world to keep an eye on in November and December. 

(Note: This list has been updated since it was first published to reflect the announcements that Sadio Mane (No. 13) and Karim Benzema (No. 3) would miss the World Cup due to injury.)

30. Aurelien Tchouameni, MF, France

The 22-year-old may seem like a surprise entry into this list but he’s set to play a massively important role for his country with Paul Pogba and N’Golo Kante out of the squad. His arrival ahead of the 2022 season along with Camavinga’s emergence made Real Madrid comfortable with selling Casemiro to Manchester United. If France makes a run through the knockout rounds despite all its injuries, Tchouameni will likely be a big reason why.

29. Christian Eriksen, MF, Denmark

Eriksen and Denmark can reasonably be considered the co-favorites to win Group D given all of France’s injiury issues. And Eriksen’s return to international soccer is easily the best story at the World Cup after his cardiac arrest at Euro 2020 last summer. Eriksen is the leader and midfield maestro of a Danish squad that may no longer be considered a dark horse given all of the attention it’s received as a sleeper pick to win the World Cup.

28. Rafael Leão, F, Portugal

The reigning Serie A MVP has been awesome for AC Milan … and mostly a non-factor for Portugal. Surely, with Diogo Jota injured and Cristiano Ronaldo fading, that has to change at the World Cup.

27. Bruno Fernandes, M, Portugal

The Manchester United vice-captain hasn’t been in the best club form so far this season. But he’ll play an important role for Portugal pulling the strings in midfield whether or not Cristiano Ronaldo starts up top. Fernandes is good enough to be Portugal’s best attacking player. It’s just a matter of if he can find his form.

Bruno Fernandes will be key for Portugal in the World Cup. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)ASSOCIATED PRESS26. Jamal Musiala, M, Germany

Born in Germany to a Nigerian father, then raised in England, Musiala …read more

Source:: AOL.com

      

World Cup 2022: The top 30 players set to compete in Qatar

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