2022 will see the FIFA World Cup held in an Arab state for the first time as Qatar plays host. 32 nations will participate and compete for the right to be called the best in the world, with France heading into the tournament as the previous winners. And as has been the case for practically every instalment of the competition since its inception in 1930, we can expect to see a host of Inter players grace international football’s biggest stage.
There have been some concerns that the country may not be ready to host matches, with England reportedly ready to step in as a back-up host, but those fears have not resurfaced recently. In this article, we will examine some of the players established at the senior level and the youngsters coming through who we can expect to see play for their country in 2022’s showpiece in the middle east.
Excluding the players presently out on loan, the Inter Milan squad includes nine players eligible to play for Italy. Of that nine, Roberto Gagliardini, Stefano Sensi, Andrea Ranocchia, Nicolo Barella, Danilo D’Ambrosio, and Antonio Candreva have caps at senior level for the Azzurri.
Sebastiano Esposito and Lorenzo Pirola have both played at multiple youth levels but are yet to earn senior call-ups. Exciting young striker Esposito will be 20 by the time the World Cup in Qatar arrives, while defender Lorenzo Pirola could also be knocking on the door for selection after recently earning his first under-19s cap.
At the other end of the spectrum, 33-year-old Candreva could find himself forced out of the reckoning, while fellow veteran Ranocchia chose to retire from international duty in 2016. Meanwhile, 31-year-old D’Ambrosio had to wait until 2017 to earn his first senior call up and will likely still be keen to feature on the biggest stage.
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Last night, Lorenzo #Pirola became the third Inter player born in 2002 to make their Serie A debut this season ???
— Inter (@Inter_en) July 17, 2020
Of course, the Inter Milan squad features a diverse group of international stars, with hot talents from Europe, Africa, and South America. Perhaps the most experienced outfield player is Englishman Ashley Young, who, at 35, has made 39 appearances for his country since debuting a full 13 years ago.
Goalkeeper Samir Handanovic has made close to 300 appearances for Inter and he has also given great service to Slovenia, but he retired from international football in 2015 after making 81 appearances for his country.
Further afield, new permanent arrival Alexis Sanchez is a legend in his native Chile, making more than 130 appearances for the South American nation since 2006 and showing no signs of slowing down. The 2022 World Cup could be the perfect way for him to bow out should his country qualify.
Another forward, Romelu Lukaku, has played a key role in Belgium’s emergence as a force in world football since 2010. The Red Devils are priced at 13.00 to win the World Cup in international football betting markets – more highly fancied than Italy. However, Lukaku has previously told media that he may consider retiring from international football at a relatively young age.
Elsewhere, Ghanaian Kwadwo Asamoah, Uruguayan duo Diego Godin, and Matias Vecino will be eager to make their mark, while Dutch defender Stefan de Vrij has played a major part in the Netherlands’ re-emergence as a footballing force during the last five years.
Romelu Lukaku has 32 goals in his last 30 Belgium games ??? pic.twitter.com/Fa1XVCmR4J
— B/R Football (@brfootball) September 9, 2019
It’s clear that everywhere you look in the Inter squad, and across the majority of Europe’s elite clubs, there is impressive international talent. And although Inter fans likely have their own nation to support, we’ll definitely be rooting for our boys when they turn out for their respective countries in two years’ time.