Sky Bet EFL World Cup players: How did Championship, League One and League Two players fare in Qatar? | Football news

A total of 30 players represented the Sky Bet English Football League in the World Cup.

From 19 different clubs, a total of 26 players from the Championship traveled to Qatar, while there were also two from League One and two more from League Two.

Of those 30, 18 were given the chance to increase their caps by their respective national managers, while QPR’s Ilias Chair and Burnley’s Anass Zaroury remained in the Middle East until the final weekend, with both featuring in Morocco’s third-placed play-off. to Croatia.

Here we take a look at how each player fared throughout the tournament…


Australia’s Riley McGree

Middlesbrough’s Riley McGree started all four of Australia’s matches in Qatar as Graham Arnold’s side reached the last 16, where they were knocked out by Argentina. The 24-year-old midfielder assisted Mathew Leckie’s winner against Denmark in the group stage and delivered a man of the match performance at the Al Janoub Stadium.

Meanwhile, Stoke defender Harry Souttar played every minute of the Socceroos’ campaign and was a rock at the back during the 1-0 wins over Tunisia and Denmark.

Australia's Harry Souttar
Australia’s Harry Souttar

Sunderland’s Bailey Wright made one substitute appearance, coming on as a 74th-minute substitute for McGree in the win over Denmark.


Cameroon’s Olivier Ntcham

Swansea’s Olivier Ntcham made just one substitute appearance during the Indomitable Lions’ time in Qatar. The 26-year-old midfielder – who first made his debut for the national team in September – replaced Pierre Kunde after 68 minutes of Cameroon’s famous victory against Brazil.


Canada's Junior Hoilett
Canada’s Junior Hoilett

Reading Junior Hoilett appeared in all three of Canada’s games in their first World Cup since Mexico ’86. The 32-year-old mustered 1.67 shots per 90 and 2.22 chances created per 90, but failed to score or assist as John Herdman’s men finished bottom of Group F, despite a valiant effort.

Costa Rica

Costa Rican Jew Bennette
Costa Rican Jew Bennette

Sunderland star Jewison Bennette made three appearances during his first World Cup. The 18-year-old started Costa Rica’s opener against Spain but was, understandably, a passenger in the 7-0 humiliation, before the vastly experienced Bryan Ruiz replaced him after 61 minutes. Bennette appeared as a second-half substitute against Japan and Germany but failed to make a significant personal impact.


Ghana’s Baba Rahman

Reading’s Chelsea loan Baba Rahman played all of Ghana’s defeats to Portugal and Uruguay and replaced Gideon Mensah late on in the thrilling 3-2 win over South Korea.

Ghana’s Antoine Semenyo

Bristol City Antoine Semenyomeanwhile, came on as an 89th-minute substitute in the opening loss to Portugal and was introduced after 72 minutes against Uruguay, earning him his fourth and fifth caps for his country.


Morocco finished fourth in Qatar

Morocco’s World Cup campaign was perhaps the most eye-catching of them all, with Walid Regragui’s men making it all the way to the semi-finals, where they lost to eventual runners-up France. When they reached that stage, they finished third, where they were beaten 2-1 by Croatia.

QPR’s Ilia’s chair and Burnley’s Anass Zaroury did not play until the play-off match on Saturday 17 December when Chair played the second half after Abdelhamid Sabiri was withdrawn and Zaroury was a 64th-minute substitute for Sofiane Boufal.


Towards the World Cup, Birmingham’s Krystian Bielik had only played once for Poland since November 2019, but was included in Czeslaw Michniewcz’s squad for the tournament after a solid start to the season for the Blues, following his summer move from Derby.

Poland's Krystian Bielik
Poland’s Krystian Bielik

The 24-year-old midfielder started against Saudi Arabia and Argentina in Qatar, came on as a substitute against France and Mexico, and finished the tournament with an impressive 87 per cent pass success rate.


Senegal's Ismaila Sarr
Senegal’s Ismaila Sarr

Watford’s Ismaila Sarr was one of Senegal’s star players on the way to the round of 16. Playing in his second World Cup aged just 24, Sarr started all four of his nation’s matches, scoring a first-half penalty in the 2-1 win over Ecuador and missing the chance to give Senegal the lead against England when he shot well over the crossbar.

Senegal's Iliman Ndiaye
Senegal’s Iliman Ndiaye

Sheffield United Iliman Ndiaye continued his rapid rise from non-league to the world stage in just three years with three appearances in Qatar. The 22-year-old registered an assist when he set up Bamba Dieng in the 3-1 win over Qatar and played the first half against England.

QPR goalkeeper Seny Dieng and Reading’s Porto lent Mamadou Loum did not contain


Tunisia’s Hannibal Mejbri

Birmingham’s Hannibal Meibri – on loan from Manchester United – will have gained invaluable early experience on his World Cup debut in Qatar, given that he does not turn 20 until January and that the bulk of the Tunisia squad is made up of experienced players aged 27 and over.

Head coach Jalel Kadri introduced him after 80 minutes of the opening game against Denmark, with captain Youssef Msakni making way for the teenager, but it was his only minutes on the pitch throughout the tournament.


Luton goalkeeper Ethan Horvath did not come off the bench in Qatar, with Arsenal’s Matt Turner retaining the No. 1 shirt for each of the USA’s four matches at the tournament.

Norwich’s Josh Sargent however, contained He started against Wales and Iran and managed just under 80 minutes in both and made a late substitute appearance in the draw with England in between.

USA's Josh Sargent
USA’s Josh Sargent

He managed to create just one chance and attempt three shots in his three appearances, generating an expected goal average of 0.37 and an expected assist average of 0.09, but was unable to feature against the Netherlands in the round of 16 after sustaining an ankle injury against Iran.


Almost half of Wales’ squad was made up of players who ply their trade in the Sky Bet EFL – and five of them earned international caps during the nation’s first World Cup appearance in 64 years, which ended prematurely in the group stage.

Wales’ Connor Roberts in action against England

Burnley right back Connor Roberts played every minute of Wales’ opening 1-1 draw with USA and was replaced by Brennan Johnson after 57 minutes of the eventual 2-0 defeat to Iran in the second group stage. Rob Page left the 27-year-old on the bench for the crunch clash against England but was forced to bring him on after just 36 minutes when Neco Williams picked up an injury.

A hamstring problem meant Joe Allen had not made a single appearance for Swansea since 17 September, but his experience was brought in 77 minutes into the Iran defeat and he was fit to play against England, where he completed 81 minutes.

Wales' Joe Allen
Wales’ Joe Allen

Meanwhile, the Portsmouth midfielder Joe Morrell made two appearances as a second-half substitute against USA and England, Cardiff Ruby Colwill was an 81st minute substitute in the defeat to England and Huddersfield Sorba Thomas was brought on after 89 minutes for a late cameo against USA.

The remaining seven EFL players – Adam Davis (Sheffield Utd), Ben Cabango (Swansea), Tom Lockyer (Luton), Chris Gunter (AFC Wimbledon), Matthew Smith (MK Dons), Jonny Williams (Swindon), Mark Harris (Cardiff) – did not enter the field.

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