Dele Alli says England aiming to achieve greatness at 2018 World Cup

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Dele Alli insists England are well prepared for the World Cup and the target is to “achieve greatness” in Russia.

The Three Lions play their final warm-up game against Costa Rica at Elland Road on Thursday before flying out to their base in Repino.

While Gareth Southgate‘s youthful squad are unlikely to be crushed by the weight of expectation experienced by previous players, Alli believes there is something special about the current crop.

“I don’t think we can put limits on it, the sky is the limit,” the Tottenham and England midfielder said when asked if the squad have set a target.

“We have a young, hungry team that wants to achieve greatness, we want to bring the country together and achieve something great.

“We have got some great players all over the field and great experienced players as well to help the younger ones.

“We are raring to go, we have been doing a lot of work, we play a lot of football and a lot of us have been playing professionally for a long time now.

“Growing up as a kid, these are the moments you dream of being a part of and we have an opportunity to do that.”

Alli was a key member of the England team which suffered a shock Euro 2016 elimination at the hands of Iceland.

That not only saw Roy Hodgson leave his post as manager but also put plenty of the players in line for criticism.

But Alli, 22, is ready to use those experiences to make sure there is no repeat of their feeble exit this time around.

Dele Alli 4

“I think we learned a lot as players, it was one of the best moments of my career and one of the worst as well with the way it ended,” he added.

“But to represent your country at a major tournament is always an honour and I have got another chance to do it.

“We have to prove to ourselves – we are excited, we have a strong team and there is a lot of belief we can achieve something great within the squad.

“We have got fantastic players, Gareth has been doing a lot of work with us to make sure we are ready and we feel ready so we are looking forward to it.”

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Leroy Sane, Mauro Icardi and other stars who missed the plane to World Cup 2018

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Leroy Sane was a shock omission from the Germany World Cup squad when it was announced on Monday morning.

The Manchester City man missed out on a trip to Russia despite a stellar season at the Etihad Stadium – but he is not the only big-name casualty.

Here, we select a team of surprise absentees ahead of the tournament.

Joe Hart – England

While the Manchester City goalkeeper struggled at times on loan at West Ham last season, the 31-year-old started nine of England’s 10 World Cup qualifiers before missing the cut for Russia.

Hart

Alex Sandro – Brazil

Winning a third straight Serie A and Coppa Italia double at Juventus clearly does not guarantee you a World Cup spot as Sandro was overlooked as full-back cover in favour of Filipe Luis.

Alex Sandro

David Luiz – Brazil

The Chelsea man may no longer be an automatic first choice for club or country but his experience on the international stage could have seem him earn a spot in Tite’s squad.

David Luiz

Chris Smalling – England

With 31 caps, he is tried and tested at international level as well as spending the last eight years in the heart of the Manchester United backline, but he paid the price as Gareth Southgate wants defenders who can carry the ball out from the back.

Chris Smalling 1

Marcos Alonso – Spain

One of a trio of Chelsea players who would have hoped to make it to Russia but, despite making the Premier League team of the year, will instead be left at home as Arsenal’s Nacho Monreal got the nod over his compatriot.

Marcos Alonso 2

Anthony Martial – France

A combination of an unsettled season at Manchester United and the embarrassment of attacking riches at Didier Deschamps’ disposal led to the 22-year-old being excluded this summer.

Martial of France

Fabinho – Brazil

The 24-year-old may have just signed for Liverpool in a big-money move having boasted some impressive stats for Monaco last season, but the midfielder only has four senior caps to his name and will not be adding to that tally in Russia.

Fabinho celebrates

Radja Nainggolan – Belgium

Roberto Martinez has appeared unconvinced by the Roma midfielder since taking the reins as boss of the Red Devils but it is still somewhat surprising that he misses the cut – even if Belgium have plenty of options in the middle of the park.

Nainggolan

Leroy Sane – Germany

The Premier League’s young player of the year hit 14 goals and provided 19 assists in all competitions for Manchester City last season but Germany boast such a strong selection pool that the 22-year-old will be watching from his sofa this summer.

Sane of Germany

Alexandre Lacazette – France

Arsenal broke their transfer record to land the free-scoring forward from Lyon last summer but, despite a decent return of 17 goals in his first season in England, he missed out on the France squad.

Lacazette reacts

Mauro Icardi – Argentina

Jorge Sampaoli was spoilt for choice in attack as he called up Lionel Messi and Sergio Aguero as well as Juventus pair Gonzalo Higuain and Paulo Dybala – even though they hit less Serie A goals than Icardi during the 2017/18 season, with the Inter forward missing out despite a 29-goal campaign.

Mauro Icardi 1

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Man City star Vincent Kompany's history of injuries as he remains doubt for World Cup 2018

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Vincent Kompany is a doubt for the World Cup after suffering a groin problem in Belgium’s goalless draw with Portugal in Brussels.

The 32-year-old defender will undergo a scan on Sunday to determine the extent of the latest in a long line of injury setbacks.

Kompany is danger of missing out for Belgium who launch their World Cup campaign against Panama on June 18 – before taking on Gareth Southgate‘s England 10 days later.

Here’s a look at Kompany’s injuries going back to the 2015-16 season when he missed much of the campaign.

15/09/2015

Leaves the field after 75 minutes of the Champions League loss to Juventus at the Etihad Stadium. The score is 1-1 at the time but City are eventually beaten 2-1. Kompany initially says the injury is “not serious” and his substitution is “just a precaution” but he does not play again for a month.

13/10/2015

Plays in Belgium’s Euro 2016 qualifier against Israel against City manager Manuel Pellegrini’s wishes.

Pellegrini claims it has hampered his recovery and the player is put on the bench for the next two City games. He does not appear in the first of them and comes on only in the 89th minute in the second.

Vincent Kompany of Manchester City

08/11/2015

Plays 90 minutes in a goalless draw at Aston Villa but just days later he pulls out of the Belgium squad as a precaution, citing more calf trouble. He ends up missing City’s next eight games.

26/12/2015

Returns to action as a 62nd-minute substitute against Sunderland, but his comeback lasts just nine minutes.

He suffers a bad reaction and does not play again until February 14.

15/03/2016

Just seven games into his latest comeback, he injures his calf again, pulling up in the early minutes of City’s Champions League last-16 second-leg clash against Dynamo Kiev. Pellegrini says he will be out for a “minimum of one month”.

04/05/2016

Limps off in the early stages of City’s 1-0 defeat to Real Madrid in the Champions League semi-final second leg and misses out on Belgium’s participation in Euro 2016.

Vincent Kompany of Manchester City lies injured

19/10/2016

Misses City’s 4-0 defeat at Barcelona as a precaution because of a groin problem. He had returned from the injury with a brief substitute appearance in the 1-1 draw with Everton the previous weekend.

19/11/2016

Damages his knee ligaments in the 2-1 win at Crystal Palace and undergoes specialist treatment in Spain but does not return until the 3-0 FA Cup win against the same opponents on April 15, scoring one goal.

Injuries restrict him to 16 appearances throughout the season, including Belgium’s 2-0 win in Estonia in a World Cup qualifier in June.

29/12/2017

Hits a seat in the dugout in frustration following his latest injury setback after limping off with a calf problem just 11 minutes into City’s 1-0 victory at Newcastle. Ends another injury-hit season with 22 appearances.

02/06/2018

A groin injury in the 0-0 draw against Portugal in a pre-World Cup friendly in Brussels puts his involvement in Russia in doubt with coach Roberto Martinez due to slim his 28-man squad down to 23.

Kompany had coped with muscle and knee problems during City’s title-winning season only to suffer more injury heartache on the international scene.

Kompany of Manchester City

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