The January international window is known for being crunch time for World Cup qualification, and that is no different this cycle as teams can seal a spot in Qatar for the 2022 World Cup.
As a result, many top Premier League players have already jetted off to join up with national teams, with spots at the 2022 World Cup on the line.
In this window, only three of the five confederations have active World Cup qualifying matches ongoing — Asia (CAF), North America (CONCACAF) and South America (CONMEBOL). All three confederations utilize a round-robin style qualification table. CONCACAF qualifying has six matches remaining, which equates to three matches per window between now and March, while both AFC and CONMEBOL both have four matches remaining, breaking down to two per window.
Two confederations do not see World Cup qualifying matches take place this window: Africa (CAF) and Europe (UEFA). CAF currently has the Africa Cup on Nations ongoing, and won’t get to its final round of World Cup qualifying matches until the March international window. UEFA has already confirmed 10 of its 13 places, and the others will be decided during the March international window by three mini knockout brackets.
Which Premier League players were called in for World Cup qualification?
With just CONMEBOL, CONCACAF and AFC in World Cup qualifying action this international break, here are the players from each team who have departed after being named to an international roster this window.
Manchester United has the most, thanks in part to a pair of Brazilians, while Aston Villa, Brighton, Liverpool, Man City and Tottenham all have three players taking part. Burnley, Crystal Palace, Leicester City, Norwich City and Southampton do not have any players participating in World Cup qualification this international window.