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2022 World Cup | US international Chris Richards is the latest absentee for the winter tournament in Qatar – Senegal sweats over Sadio Mané

Richards, and possibly Mané, will add their names to an extensive list of players set to miss out on the World Cup after Giovani Lo Celso and Jesús Corona were confirmed absentees for Argentina and Mexico

Another day, another addition to the casualty list in 2022 as the World Cup in Qatar is now less than two weeks away after the United States – and possibly Senegal – have been dealt considerable blows to their upcoming winter tournament campaign.

For Gregg Berhalter’s young Stars and Stripes outfit, Richards is one of a large contingent of talented players under the age of 23 that have a bright future as the next generation of football in the US after coming through the ranks at Bayern Munich before a credible loan spell with TSG 1899 Hoffenheim which ultimately saw him move to Crystal Palace this summer.

His absence, due to a thigh injury as reported by B/R Football, will strip the USMNT of the versatile defender capable of being deployed both at center-back as well as right-back who has not featured for his country since January due to a myriad of fitness concerns which has seen his minutes at Selhurst Park take a massive hit for the same reason.

But an even bigger shock – and perhaps one of the biggest thus far when it comes to injuries – to the upcoming tournament in Qatar could fall at the feet of Aliou Cissé’s Senegal after iconic national team star and Bayern Munich forward Sadio Mané is now at risk of missing out on proceedings beginning in thirteen days.

Mané expectedly featured in Julian Nagelsmann’s XI for the Bundesliga giants at the Allianz Arena earlier tonight against SV Werder Bremen but was forced to come off injured in the 21st minute and was replaced by German international Leroy Sané, with Mané limping off the pitch before saluting the crowd on his way down the tunnel.

It would constitute a massive blow for Senegal that the Lions of Teranga may not be able to countenance, with Mané the undisputed star for a Senegal outfit that presents a very realistic option as a tournament dark horse with what is the best squad of any nation coming out of Africa while being boosted by their recent success at the African Cup of Nations.

In what has been a frustrating season for clubs, players, and national teams alike given additional fixture congestion to allow for the World Cup to go ahead as planned, as stars continue to fall to the fitness bug, matters may only get worse before play begins on the 20th of this month.

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Andrew Thompson

US-based Football writer. German football guru with a wealth of experience in youth development and analysis. Data aficionado. Happily championing the notion that Americans have a knowledgeable voice in the beautiful game.

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