The 2022 FIFA World Cup is just around the corner, and at this point, anticipation couldn’t be any higher. The delayed tournament — which was caused by Qatar’s sky-high summer temperatures that reach as high as 50 degrees in June and July — has only added to the excitement. And while it will be strange to experience football’s biggest party in the middle of the summer, we will instead be treated to the first ever winter World Cup, which will be a spectacle in itself. As we all know, the Tartan army will not be heading to the Arabian Gulf state, after falling to a 3-1 defeat at the hands of Ukraine back in June. But although Scotland will not be at the biggest event of the year, Celtic fans will still have nations to support.
Of course, they will still be supporting every team that England plays. But as well as that, as many as six Bhoys playing in Qatar. That number is up from the four Celtic players which featured in Russia back in 2018. Belgium’s Dedryck Boyata, Australia’s Tom Rogic, Sweden’s Mikael Lustig and Costa Rica’s Cristian Gamboa were our representatives four years ago. But who are the representatives this time around?
Cameron Carter-Vickers – USA
One of the first choices for any Hoops fan to support this winter should be the USA. Not only are they in the same group as England, they also have our central defender Cameron Carter-Vickers in their squad. The 24-year-old — who finally sealed a permanent move from Tottenham Hotspur this summer — is expected to start at the heart of the American defence.
Celtic’s new £6m man already has 10 caps for the USMNT and he appears to have broken into the starting eleven at the perfect time, starting three of their last four games.
Josip Juranovic – Croatia
Right-back Josip Juranovic impressed during his debut campaign at Parkhead. Following his £2.7m move from Legia Warsaw last summer, he went on to make 36 appearances in all competitions for Celtic, managing to provide seven goa involvements along the way. Despite being just 26 years of age, he has already made 242 appearances throughout his career, in three different countries.
And it isn’t just a club level where he boasts impressive numbers. He already has 20 caps for Croatia and has been their first choice right-back since November 2010, keeping former Atletico Madrid man Šime Vrsaljko out of the team.
Aaron Mooy – Australia
Australia’s creative force in midfield has been the same man for many years now, one of Celtic’s newest additions, Aaron Mooy. Ever since bursting onto the scene with Huddersfield Town, the central midfielder has been integral to his national team’s plans. He started both of their recent playoff victories against the UAE and Peru. You can expect him to add to his 52 caps in the desert this winter, once again providing that creative influence for his team.
Kyogo Furuhashi, Yosuke Ideguchi & Daizen Maeda – Japan
Let’s be honest, if there’s one team Celtic fans the world over will be supporting this winter, it’s Japan. And that’s thanks to the Japanese trident at Parkhead. Kyogo Furuhashi specifically was in scintillating form throughout the first half of last season, providing 10 goal involvements in his first 13 appearances. Then, perhaps courtesy of the sheer number of matches modern footballers play, a hamstring injury curtailed his season. But his influence was a key reason as to why the Hoops romped to the Scottish Premiership title last season and he will be a key man for Japan in their World Cup adventure.
Yosuke Ideguchi and Daizen Maeda are lesser-known quantities in Glasgow, but both have been capped for their national team. Providing they manage to force their way into Ange Postecoglou’s plans, they should also be on the plane to Qatar. This makes Japan one of, if not THE team for Celts fans to follow in Japan.
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