News today that Theo Walcott will miss this year’s big happening in Brazil reminds us of the added jeopardy of injury in a World Cup year.
Walcott is 24, which means he’ll have one more World Cup in the sweet spot of his playing days. After that, he’ll be 32 by the time Qatar 2022 rolls around. That’s an age where players are beginning to slow down, and managers are looking to get younger legs into certain spots.
(That may be especially true in 2022, considering a controversial selection of location that could create a first World Cup where some poor player actually bursts into flames during the run of play.)
In the bigger picture, we also know that Walcott will not be the lone member of this World Cup 2014 roster of misfortune. Injury will cut down opportunity for others in the coming months, an unfortunate reality.
There certainly could be a player from our own country. Remember that Steve Cherundolo and Chris Armas were late, injury scratches from the 2002 World Cup in Asia. A horrific series of injuries took Charlie Davies out of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.
Michael Ballack (pictured above) and David Beckham missed World Cup 2010 with injuries
Marco van Basten was in the middle of his long-running injury struggles (that eventually drove the graceful Dutch striker from the game way too early) when he missed the 1994 World Cup in the United States.
Of course, not all the names who miss World Cup 2014 will be the Beckham stratosphere, or even in the Ballack zone. Still, the list will surely grow.