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World Cup: Sadio Mane makes Qatar cut despite injury

Sadio Mane will be going to the World Cup, Sergio Ramos won't be, as several more countries have named their squads for Qatar.

Bayern Munich star Mane has been included in Senegal's 26-man list for the finals despite sustaining an injury that is almost certainly going to sideline the ex-Liverpool forward from the start of the tourmanent.

Ramos' exclusion from the Spain ranks is less of a surprise, head coach Luis Enrique refusing to bow to sentiment and enable the PSG stopper the chance to become just the fourth man to appear at five different finals.

Elsewhere, Sven Botman and Donny van de Beek were among the big names missing from the Dutch squad.

What:World Cup 2022
Where:Qatar
When:Sunday, 20th November – Sunday, 18th December 2022
How to watch:BBC and ITV
Odds:Brazil 4/1, Argentina 11/2, France 6/1, England 8/1, Spain 17/2

Barca-biased Enrique backing Spain's young guns

Spain head coach Enrique threw curve-balls galore as he unveiled his country's most inexperienced squad to ever go to a World Cup.

Just six of the 26 have been to a previous finals and that doesn't include Ramos, the 36-year-old PSG legend who has been overlooked.

Also snubbed were Liverpool's Thiago Alcantara, Premier League keepers Kepa Arrizabalaga and David de Gea plus the three top Spanish goal-getters in La Liga this season, Borja Iglesias, Iago Aspas and Joselu.

Seven Barcelona and just two Real Madrid players have made the cut with Barca's 18-year-old midfielder Gavi set to become his country's youngest ever World Cup player.

Eight of the 23 outfield players selected for the 17/2 shots are aged 22 or under, with Atletico Madrid's Alvaro Morata the only pure No.9.

Spain are 5/6 to win Group E which also features Germany, Japan and Costa Rica.

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Cillessen cut as Van Gaal gambles between the sticks

Surprises were few and far between when Louis van Gaal announced the Netherlands' 26 just over a week before their Group A opener against Senegal.

Sven Botman, who has impressed at Newcastle, was arguably unlucky to not make the grade though the Dutch are strong in central defence.

Brian Brobbey, Ajax's eight-goal top scorer, might also consider himself unlucky though if Van de Beek had any hope that Gini Wijnaldum's injury had left the door slightly ajar for him, then that was swiftly slammed shut.

Where Van Gaal appears to have taken a risk is in goal with his chosen trio of keepers – Feyenoord's Justin Bijlow, Heerenveen rookie Andries Noppert and 39-year-old Ajax stopper Remko Pasveer – boasting just eight caps between them.

Jasper Cillessen, who starred at the 2014 World Cup, should feel rightly aggrieved at his snub.

Netherlands are 4/9 to win Group A ahead of Senegal, Ecuador and hosts Qatar.

Senegal pray that Mane will be fit

Mane's importance to Senegal, 11/10 to qualify from their group, was perfectly illustrated yesterday when he was named in his country's final squad for Qatar – even though he's not fit.

Mane picked up a serious-looking leg injury playing during Bayern Munich's 6-1 battering of Werder Bremen on Tuesday and was initially reported as being out of the tournament.

That suggests the former Liverpool ace's involvement in the Group A stage is questionable, but the medical team will do all they can to get Mane close to fitness.

Head coach Aliou Cisse has stuck largely with the squad that won the Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon last winter.

Mitrovic to recover from injury to spearhead Serb assault

Serbia, tipped to be battling Switzerland for second spot behind Brazil in Group G, named their squad yesterday with no surprises.

Captained by Ajax's ex-Southampton winger Dusan Tadic, the Serbs boast a classy centre-forward pairing of Dusan Vlahovic – still only 22 but an absolute Serie A goal machine in recent years for first Fiorentina and now Juventus – and Aleksandar Mitrovic.

Fulham frontman Mitrovic, Serbia's record scorer with 50 goals in 76 appearances, has been troubled by an ankle injury but there are no fears from the Serb camp that he will be ready for their first game against Brazil on November 24.

The Serbs are 11/10 to qualify for the knockout stages.

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