Perhaps the biggest shock is that Germany have left Leroy Sane out of their final squad with the PFA Young Player of the Year in the Premier League expected by many to be a key player for Die Mannschaft this summer.
Not Joachim Low.
It is a huge call from Low after Sane, 22, had a breakout season in England, winning the Premier League title and League Cup with Manchester City. The winger scored 14 goals and racked up 17 assists in all competitions but with Germany playing a 3-5-2 formation their need for wingers is scarce and Sane was a victim of Low having an embarrassment of riches in attacking areas with Julian Brandt, Marco Reus, Thomas Muller, Timo Werner, Leon Goretzka, Mezut Ozil, Julian Draxler and Mario Gomez ahead of him.
Sane’s captain at Man City, Vincent Kompany, is heading to the World Cup as Roberto Martinez chose to select him in his final squad despite the veteran center back suffering a groin injury in their friendly draw against Portugal on Saturday.
Kompany, 32, has worked hard to get back to full fitness this season for City but there is still some doubt as to just how serious this latest injury is. Still, he’s heading to Russia and Belgium certainly have plenty of cover in that area of the pitch with Toby Alderweireld, Thomas Vermaelen and Jan Vertonghen all in the squad, plus Laurent Ciman on stand-by.
There is also positive news for Mohamed Salah as the Liverpool star was included in Egypt’s final 23-man squad as he continues his recovery from a left shoulder injury.
Salah, 25, has been working around the clock to be fit to play for Egypt after coming off injured in Liverpool’s UEFA Champions League final defeat to Real Madrid on May 26.
Egypt believe he will be out for no longer than three weeks with the injury and the winger who scored 44 goals in all competitions for Liverpool this season will surely be fit for at least their last two Group A games. Appearing in their first World Cup since 1990 The Pharaohs appear to have their superstar back, which is not only great news for Egypt but the entire World Cup.
Vincent Kompany‘s 2018 World Cup fate will be revealed sometime in the next 24-48 hours, as the whole of Belgium awaits results on the 32-year-old’s groin injury suffered Saturday in a friendly against Portugal.
Belgium boss Roberto Martinez is set to name his 23-man World Cup squad on Monday, and Kompany was expected to be an essential figure when the Red Devils take on Panama, Tunisia and England in Group G in Russia. Saturday’s injury, the latest in almost a decade’s worth of setbacks for the Manchester City captain.
Kompany missed out on Belgium’s 2016 European Championships campaign due to a leg injury.
Martinez, like everyone else, is keeping his fingers crossed and counting on the kind of veteran leadership you get from a three-time Premier League champion — quotes from the AP:
“You don’t want to lose players like Vincent. There’s the experience, there’s a little bit the know-how, there’s the communication on the pitch. I think that understanding — knowing what’s expected in big games and big moments is important so you don’t want to lose any of those players.”
“We feel a little bit disappointed for him because he’s been working so well in the camp. Already his influence in the group is always positive, he always wants to help and he’s been working extremely hard.”
Should Kompany miss out due to injury, Toby Aldeweireld and Jan Vertonghen, who have played together at Tottenham Hotspur since the former joined in 2015 — and Belgium and Ajax before that — would be the obvious central partnership against the Panamanians on June 18.
BRUSSELS (AP) — European champion Portugal held Belgium to a tame 0-0 draw Saturday, a result overshadowed by fears that defender Vincent Kompany may have sustained an injury early in the second half.
Without waiting to be substituted, the injury-prone Kompany walked off shortly after the break after appearing to overstretch while making a defensive challenge. It was not immediately clear if he was injured or left the field as a precaution.
The Manchester City defender’s career has been blighted by injuries, but he appeared fit ahead of the pre-World Cup friendly at the King Baudouin stadium.
Midfielder Kevin De Bruyne said it was too early to say whether 32-year-old Kompany was seriously hurt.
“Maybe he only has something small to deal with,” De Bruyne said.
Kompany’s departure was the major talking point in a disappointing goalless draw which underscored that Belgium’s star-studded squad still has work to do if it is to live up to its billing as one of the favorites to win the World Cup in Russia.
Belgium fans jeered their team off the pitch at full time.
Vincent Kompany talks third PL title, Belgium outlook and more
A large contingent of New York-based Citizen supporters gathered in Manhattan on Friday evening to honor the late Steve “Jepo” Jepson — a fanatical Man City fan who brought his passion for his boyhood club to the United States in 2007.
Jepo’s long battle with ALS — also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease — came to a devastating end in December 2017, but his family had the opportunity to receive a tremendous surprise on behalf of his favorite side.
Pauline’s wife, Pauline, and two sons, Ben and Sam, were greeted by many friendly Man City faces at Amity Hall on Friday night, however, there was one warm welcome that the family hadn’t anticipated.
Upon finding their way to a private section in the back of the bar, the Jepson family quickly found themselves pleasantly greeted with chants of “Here’s to you, Vincent Kompany. We love you more than will know.”
Those chants were then followed by the Man City captain himself, one Vincent Kompany.
Pro Soccer Talk caught up with the Belgium defender prior to the event, and discussed the Citizens’ historic 2017/18 season, Kompany’s expectations for Belgium at the World Cup and much more.
PST’s Matt Reed: The club and yourself have been visiting the U.S. on a more regular basis over recent years. Can you just talk about the experiences you’ve had stateside and are you surprised at all by the following that club has in America?
Vincent Kompany: I think we’ve always had a very big, hardcore fanbase, but clearly it was mainly in the UK for many years. I think as people traveled we expanded in that way. But over the years, and I’ve been at the club for 10 years, every single year we come back to America there’s something about the team that seems to catch on with the fans in America. I don’t know what to expect out there, but I just hope to see another confirmation of how well we are doing and how we are connecting with the fans. It’s about creating loyalty.
MR: Man City has been able to participate in the International Champions Cup for several years now. Is the tournament as enjoyable for the players as it is for the supporters?
VK: It’s a weird one because for us we’re in preseason, so we call it friendly games, but in recent years they haven’t been friendly games anymore. We played Tottenham Hotspur, I remember, and it was an intense game. We finished the game, and it felt like we had played a Premier League game. It was meant to be a preseason game, but then we played Real Madrid with 100,000 fans in the Colosseum. There’s another moment in you where you can allow yourself to not make the most of this environment. We play big games and when you fill big stadiums, that competitive drive comes back in and less and less I’d call them friendly games.
MR: Having been at the club for 10 years now, you’ve been involved in several title runs. This one was obviously significantly different than say 2011/12, where it came down to the final day. Taking it into account that City reached 100 points and all the other records your side broke, is this the best team you’ve ever played for?
VK: Yeah, it’s the best team I’ve ever played on. I think the big difference between the first time we won and now was that the first time was bigger for Man City’s recent history because it allowed everything else to happen after that. I think that the title now, in the history of football, is a very meaningful title. It takes it to another level, but nothing could have happened for us the way it did without winning that first title.
MR: There was a lot of stress put on Pep Guardiola when he first arrived in England, and after finishing third last season that sort of carried over to 2017/18. Do you think he’s been hard on himself for not capturing the Champions League, despite all the amazing things your club accomplished this year?
VK: No, unfortunately we’ve been hit by history in this case. We’ve always had difficult games at Anfield. They’ve always given us trouble no matter the situation. They [Liverpool] are just a team that have habitually given us trouble, and we went through a similar event in the FA Cup. We played Wigan, and if you know our history, Wigan is a team that usually kicks us out of the FA Cup. Unfortunately we drew Wigan in the FA Cup and Liverpool in the Champions League, and it just shows that we have to deal with these two fixtures in the future.
Question: This will be your second World Cup with Belgium. There’s going to be greater expectations this time around for your country. How are you guys feeling heading into the tournament?
VK: First of all, for me personally, I will be the player with the least stress. I will have zero percent stress. Everything that I have today is a bonus. I was written off so many times before and I just enjoy training and being there. I enjoy coming into games and training sessions where I can feel that I’m as good, or better than, the players I’m playing against. For me, it’s already won. And at the same time, because I prepare so well, I don’t have worry too much about what’s going to happen on the pitch. Everything takes care of itself.
Question: Do you find yourself watching MLS on a regular basis? And are there any teams in particular you like to watch?
VK: Probably once a week I’ll see a game. I try to watch as many games of New York City as I can, but with the time difference sometimes it’ll be like 2 o’clock in the morning. I’ve seen a few games of LA FC as well because they have a Belgian player, Laurent Ciman. And yes, the level is improving so much.
It took 16 minutes for Manchester City’s day to go from celebrating the Premier League title to losing to a rival for the second time in a week.
Paul Pogba scored twice in 100 second-half seconds to put Manchester City’s title celebrations on pause, and Chris Smalling made amends for an early error to lead United to a 3-2 win over City on Saturday at the Etihad Stadium.
Vincent Kompany and Ilkay Gundogan scored to stake City to a halftime lead. City can next win the league with a win at Tottenham next week accompanied by a Man Utd loss versus West Brom.
United is now 13 points behind City and four points ahead of Liverpool and Tottenham.
The poetics of Kompany getting on the board in the 25th minute aren’t lost on the blue side of Manchester, and he thundered by Chris Smalling to smoke a header beyond De Gea despite a strong tug on the back of shirt.
An ethereal turn from Gundogan put the title on their lips, as he finished a 1-2 by slipping a goal inside the far post.
It wouldn’t have been a Manchester Derby with a drama-free second half, but Pogba made sure it was chock full of fun.
First, the United midfielder ran into the box to collect an Ander Herrera chest pass of Alexis Sanchez’s cross, and it was less than four minutes later that he deftly headed Sanchez’s cross directly to make it 2-2.
Jesse Lingard dragged a shot wide in the 60th minute as United looked to complete the comeback, but the Red Devils found their 3-2 lead through Smalling when the defender raced onto Sanchez’s free kick in the 70th minute.
Now down to a rival for the second time in a week, Guardiola introduced Kevin De Bruyne and Gabriel Jesus. Then Sergio Aguero, who nearly won a penalty when Young skittered into his ankle inside the box after knocking the ball away from the Argentine.
The game descended into a foul and banter festival for about five minutes, as Martin Atkinson handed out yellow cards to Fernandinho, Sergio Aguero, and Paul Pogba.
De Gea didn’t have his A-plus game, but made an A-plus save on Aguero in the 89th minute. And he made an outstanding save when Sterling plunked a ball off the post and back toward the goal line on the ensuing corner kick.