The Clubs That Sent the Most Players to This Year’s World Cup

Source: Naomi Baker / Getty Images Sport via Getty Images

The 2022 FIFA World Cup kicked off with a stunning 1-2 upset in the fifth match of the tournament on Nov. 22 when underdog Saudi Arabia defeated Argentina, one of the world’s greatest national football teams. In an extraordinary comeback in the second half, striker Saleh Al-Shehri, 29, and winger Salem Al-Dawsari, 31, delivered two goals within five minutes, ending Argentina’s 36-game winning streak. The game will go down in soccer history as one of the biggest World Cup upsets, up there with North Korea defeating Italy in 1966 or Senegal’s victory over France in 2002. (These are the best men’s national soccer teams of 2022.) 

Al-Shehri and Al-Dawsari both play for the Riyadh-based Al-Hilal football club, making them among the World Cup footballers who play for both a club and a national team from the same country. Other players that didn’t need to switch back to their home country for the World Cup include the highly promising 18-year-old newcomer Pablo Martín Páez “Gavi” Gavira, who is taking a break from playing for Barcelona to join his countrymen on the Spanish national team.

This year’s World Cup is taking place in the middle of the league football season in order to avoid the insufferable heat and humidity of summertime in Qatar, the first Arab country to host a World Cup. Jung Woo-young didn’t have to travel far to join his national team; the 32-year-old South Korean striker normally plays for Al Sadd, a club in the Qatar Stars League.

One notable player who switched countries for the World Cup is Real Madrid’s Luka Modrić. The technically adept midfielder is the captain of the Croatian national team, which famously finished in third place at its first World Cup in 1998 following the dissolution of Yugoslavia in the early ‘90s when Modrić was in his early teens. And then there’s Manchester City’s Rúben Dias. The highly skilled 25-year-old defender is playing for his home country, Portugal.

In all, there are 830 players in this year’s tournament. With 54 players represented, England’s Premier League has the highest number of club footballers participating in this year’s FIFA World Cup, followed by Spain’s La Liga, with 42 – and La Liga’s Barcelona team has the most players on the pitch in 2022: 17. (Here’s a list of the all-time top goal scorers at the World Cup.)  

To compile a list of the football (soccer) clubs with the most players in the 2022 World Cup, 24/7 Tempo reviewed information on each of the 32 national teams participating in the tournament from the official site for FIFA, the governing body of international soccer. 

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