Which Chelsea players could be involved in the 2022 World Cup play-offs?
Chelsea already have their hand firmly in the World Cup pie.
Following the latest round of international fixtures, several Blues booked their place at Qatar’s table next winter.
Reece James, Ben Chilwell, Mason Mount and recently deputised Conor Gallagher all helped England to qualification.
Kai Havertz, Antonio Rudiger and Timo Werner – before he got injured – aided Germany’s progression.
Cesar Azpilicueta and Marcos Alonso did so with Spain, Romelu Lukaku with Belgium, Andreas Christensen with Denmark, Thiago Silva with Brazil and Mateo Kovacic with Croatia.
However, there are still a few loose ends to be tied up in regards to filling up the other slots available to European countries.
A play-off tournament held between March 24th-29th shall decide which three lucky winners will join the rest of their continental comrades at the main event.
And of course, Chelsea are set to be represented in the mini-competition as well.
Here are the players owned by the Champions League holders who could be present in the play-offs:
Jorginho and Emerson Palmieri (Italy)
Perhaps the biggest shock of the qualifiers was Italy’s inability to advance first time.
The European Championship victors are now having to enter the World Cup the hard way, after a poor tail-end to their Group C campaign.
Ahead of the Euros, Roberto Mancini’s men had won three from three without conceding a goal.
Since that shoot-out victory at Wembley, Gli Azzurri have won just twice in all competitions, including their disappointing Nations League journey.
Successive draws with Switzerland and Northern Ireland meant the Italian’s relinquished their top spot to the Swiss.
Mancini’s men had the chance to beat Switzerland at the death, after they were awarded a penalty in stoppage time.
Jorginho stepped up the plate – arguably the one man you’d want on stop-kicks in that situation – but blazed his effort over the bar.
He and on-loan Chelsea defender Emerson Palmieri will have a chance of redemption in the New Year.
Billy Gilmour (Scotland)
Whilst Italy’s possible elimination has every stunned, Scotland’s success has everyone singing the praises of Steve Clarke’s side.
A terrific qualifying adventure was topped off by an even better result at home to Andreas Christensen’s Denmark on Monday.
The Tartan Army needed three points to ensure they finished as one of the highest-ranked group runners up.
On paper, this looked like a tall order; Denmark were unbeaten in the previous 26 qualifiers and boasted a 100% record in Group F.
Yet, Clarke’s boys defied the odds and defeated the Danes 2-0.
Although he wasn’t on the score sheet, Billy Gilmour once again proved himself on the grandest stage.
Which has become a running theme throughout the 20-year-old’s youthful career, despite his struggles at Norwich City.
Gilmour can once again light up the national stage when Scotland aim to land their ticket for the World Cup.
Ethan Ampadu (Wales)
Whilst Scotland have been grabbing plenty of headlines, Wales deserve just as much praise.
They are two games away from qualifying for their first World Cup since 1958.
Four triumphs from their last seven outings has propelled Rob Page to the periphery of historical recognition.
His band of Dragons have looked far from mythical in the past few months.
Ethan Ampadu can add his name to the list of Page’s trusted firebreathers.
Ampadu – currently on loan at Venezia – has played in all but two of Wales’ qualifying matches and will look to feature in the next batch of vitally important clashes.