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Messi, Modric, Ronaldo: Stars who might not feature at 2022 World Cup

Julien Laurens takes issue with ESPNFC.com's omission of France's N'Golo Kante in their World Cup team of the tournament.
After Julien Laurens hails Paul Pogba's role in France's World Cup triumph, the FC crew examine whether the tournament was a new beginning for him.

The 2018 World Cup is just the beginning for players like Kylian Mbappe, but it might well mark the end of a glittering international career for several players who've either been to several tournaments or just the one. Nick Miller runs through 10 notables who might not be in the mix, or have already ruled themselves out, for 2022.

Rafa Marquez, DF/MF, Mexico: 39 years old

Playing in a World Cup is the highlight of many players' careers. Captaining your country in one is a dream. Rafa Marquez...

 By Reuters

Belgium's World Cup clash with Brazil 'defining' for golden generation - Vincent Kompany

MOSCOW -- Friday's World Cup quarterfinal against Brazil in Kazan is a defining game for Belgium's talented generation of players, said defender Vincent Kompany on Wednesday.

"The term 'golden generation' is obviously one the players didn't come up with and it's not something we pay too much importance to," he told a news conference at Belgium's training base outside Moscow.

"The fact that the game against Brazil is defining for our generation is for sure, though. It's not like we've been failing...

Belgium keep Vincent Kompany in World Cup squad despite injury

Pinned as the dark horses of Brazil 2014, Belgium weren't quite ready, but can Eden Hazard and co mount a real challenge in Russia?

Belgium will keep Vincent Kompany on the 23-man squad for the World Cup even though it is likely to be later in the group stage before the defender is fit to play.

Coach Roberto Martinez told a news conference on Sunday he would not be making any changes to his squad.

"Vincent Kompany stays with us," Martinez said. "We made the decision this morning that we will remain ... for the FIFA World Cup.

"Kompany is medically and fine and mentally ready. He makes change to play in the group stage. He needs...

 By Reuters

Belgium's Dedryck Boyata: I'm ready to fill in for injured Vincent Kompany

Pinned as the dark horses of Brazil 2014, Belgium weren't quite ready, but can Eden Hazard and co mount a real challenge in Russia?
Despite Belgium's plethora of talent, ESPN FC's Stevie Nicol is at a loss as to why they continue to struggle.

Dedryck Boyata said he is ready to step in for Vincent Kompany if the defender fails to recover from a groin injury in time for Belgium's World Cup opener against Panama on June 18.

Kompany, 32, was injured in a friendly against Portugal on June 2 and did not train along with the rest of the team on Saturday.

"If I have the chance to play, of course I will be very happy," Boyata, who came on as a substitute for Kompany and would be again expected to fill in if the Manchester City defender fails...

Man United's Romelu Lukaku to Vincent Kompany: 'We're friends... for 6 weeks'

Romelu Lukaku is prepared to put his club rivalry with Vincent Kompany to one side -- but only for six weeks.

The Manchester United striker and the Manchester City defender have been named in the Belgium squad ahead of the World Cup in Russia.

And on Monday Lukaku posted a video on Instagram insisting he could be friends with Kompany if it helped Belgium lift the trophy in Moscow on July 15.

"We're friends now," Lukaku joked. "For six weeks."

Kompany, never taking time off from his role as captain,...

 By Ian Holyman

Vincent Kompany in Belgium World Cup squad but injury could still rule him out

Despite Belgium's plethora of talent, ESPN FC's Stevie Nicol is at a loss as to why they continue to struggle.

Vincent Kompany will be given up to 24 hours before Belgium's World Cup opener against Panama to prove his fitness to Belgium boss Roberto Martinez.

Kompany, 32, was forced off early in the second half of Saturday's goalless draw with Portugal with a muscle injury, making him a doubt for a second successive major tournament after being forced to sit out Euro 2016.

While Martinez is keen to have the Manchester City captain's qualities and experience, he will be dropped if he hasn't proved his fitness...