The pain in my knees got too bad. Although Paul Pogba had resisted surgery for a long time, he finally had the operation last September. The midfield star from Juventus Turin recently even got back into team training. But the pain came back, and the 29-year-old will be out for weeks again. It’s a big blow for Juventus and the France national team as Pogba will miss the World Cup in Qatar, which starts in 19 days.

France coach Didier Deschamps’ worries have increased significantly with Pogba’s cancellation. The 54-year-old lacks central, defensive midfield at the World Cup. Chelsea’s N’Golo Kanté will also not be available for the title holder at the tournament in Qatar due to a thigh injury.

Aston Villa’s Boubacar Kamara is a potential replacement for the two stars with a knee injury. Pogba and Kanté formed the powerhouse of the national team at the 2018 World Cup in Russia – and were the guarantors for winning the title.

But this World Cup took place in the summer. Players and coaches had significantly more time to prepare for the tournament and to recover from any injuries and injuries. The Winter World Cup poses a very special challenge for the national coaches. Every strain, every muscle fiber tear, every pull in the back in the coming days can mean the end of the World Cup.

National coach Hansi Flick only has nine days to prepare the German national team for the first preliminary round game against Japan. Only seven days before the opening game in Doha, the last match day before the Winter World Cup takes place in the Bundesliga. There is actually no time to get ailing players fit again through coordinated training.

The failures of the national teams will in all probability continue to accumulate. For example, the top English clubs, which are peppered with national players, still have three games to play in the Champions League and Premier League before the World Cup starts. 270 intense minutes in which a lot can happen.

Gareth Southgate will also watch the games with anxious eyes. England’s national coach has only had to cope with one cancellation for the World Cup so far. Chelsea’s Reece James, who was a Germany right-back, will not recover in time after suffering a knee ligament injury in last October’s Champions League game against Milan.

Diogo Jota will also be absent from the Premier League. The Portuguese of Liverpool FC has been out for several months with a calf injury and will not be able to play alongside Cristiano Ronaldo in Qatar.

There have also been cancellations for the Winter World Cup from the Italian Serie A. Argentina will be without Paulo Dybala, who sustained a curious injury. The AS Roma midfielder sunk a penalty to make it 2-1 in the game against US Lecce and injured his thigh in the process.

Dybala’s team-mate Georginio Wijnaldum will also not travel to Qatar – the Dutchman, who was a midfield seed for the national team, has not played a game this season due to a broken tibia. Flick, who will announce his 26-strong World Cup squad on November 10, has no such serious failure to complain about.

Even a nomination of Leverkusen’s Florian Wirtz, who suffered a cruciate ligament rupture last March, seems possible. “It’s not out of the question that we’ll take someone with us who hasn’t played a minute yet. But it would be desirable if at least one game could be played,” said Flick’s assistant coach Danny Röhl.