Sky Bet EFL players at the World Cup: How have players from the Championship, League One and League Two fared in Qatar? | Football News


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

Hailing from 19 different clubs, a total of 26 players from the Championship travelled out 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 add to their caps by their respective national managers, while QPR’s Ilias Chair and Burnley’s Anass Zaroury remain in the Middle East, with Morocco having booked a quarter-final date with Portugal after their historic last 16 shootout win against Spain, though neither has played yet.

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


Australia's Riley McGree
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 stages and turned in a player of the match performance at the Al Janoub Stadium.

Meanwhile, Stoke defender Harry Souttar played every single 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 only made his debut for the national team in September – replaced Pierre Kunde after 68 minutes of Cameroon’s famous win against Brazil.



Canada's Junior Hoilett
Canada’s Junior Hoilett

Reading’s Junior Hoilett appeared in all three of Canada’s matches 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 was unable to either score or assist as John Herdman’s men finished bottom of Group F, despite a valiant effort.

Costa Rica

Costa Rica's Jewison Bennette
Costa Rica’s Jewison Bennette

Sunderland starlet 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 during the 7-0 humbling, before the vastly experienced Bryan Ruiz replaced him after 61 minutes. Bennette did appear as a second-half substitute against Japan and Germany, but was unable to make a significant personal impact.


Ghana’s Baba Rahman

Reading’s Chelsea loanee Baba Rahman played the entirety 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’s Antoine Semenyo, meanwhile, came on as an 89th-minute substitute in the opening defeat to Portugal and was introduced after 72 minutes against Uruguay, which earned him his fourth and fifth caps for his country.


Morocco beat former champions Spain on penalties to reach the quarter-finals

Morocco reached the World Cup quarter-finals for the first time with their dramatic shootout victory against Spain, meaning QPR’s Ilias Chair and Burnley’s Anass Zaroury are the only two players from the Sky Bet EFL that remain in Qatar. Neither has featured on the pitch yet, however.


Leading up to the World Cup, Birmingham’s Krystian Bielik had played just once for Poland since November 2019, but he 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 a substitute against France and Mexico, finishing 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 performers on their way to the last 16. Playing in his second World Cup at the age of just 24, Sarr started all four of his nation’s matches, scored a first-half penalty in the 2-1 win over Ecuador and missed the chance to give Senegal the lead against England when he blazed a shot well over the crossbar.

Senegal's Iliman Ndiaye
Senegal’s Iliman Ndiaye

Sheffield United’s Iliman Ndiaye continued his rapid rise from non-League to the world stage in only 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 loanee Mamadou Loum did not feature.


Tunisia’s Hannibal Mejbri

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

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


Luton goalkeeper Ethan Horvath did not make it 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 did feature, however. 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.

The USA's Josh Sargent
The USA’s Josh Sargent

He managed to create just one chance and attempt three shots in his three appearances, generating an expected goals figure of 0.37 and an expected assists figure of 0.09, but was unable to feature against the Netherlands in the last 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 those earned international caps during the nation’s first World Cup appearance in 64 years, which ended prematurely at the group stages.

Wales’ Connor Roberts in action against England

Burnley right-back Connor Roberts played every minute of Wales’ opening 1-1 draw with the USA and was replaced by Brennan Johnson after 57 minutes of the eventual 2-0 defeat to Iran in the second group game. 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 issue meant Joe Allen had not made a single appearance for Swansea since September 17, but his experience was called upon 77 minutes into the Iran defeat and he was passed fit to play against England, where he completed 81 minutes.

Wales' Joe Allen
Wales’ Joe Allen

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

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


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