Sixteen players from Pep Guardiola's Premier League title-defending squad were called up for Qatar duties. It's undoubtedly a stressful time for Guardiola, as he'll be praying that his most valuable squad members can remain fit and healthy for their domestic return.
No other Premier League team has as many players competing at the World Cup as Manchester City. However, as we reach the quarter-final stage of the prestigious tournament, how many of those sixteen are still competing? And who has already caught a plane back to Manchester?
England – Kyle Walker, Kalvin Phillips, Phil Foden & Jack Grealish
City has supplied the Three Lions with four players, making England the squad that boasts more talent from the blue side of Manchester than any other nation.
Walker, Phillips, Foden, and Grealish have all been vital instruments in England's success thus far, as Gareth Southgate's men have earned a position in the World Cup final after staying undefeated in Group B and defeating Senegal in the round of 16.
Statistically, England has performed better than any other team combining defensive and offensive records. With 12 goals netted and just two conceded, no other team can match the goal difference of the Three Lions, and Manchester City's front runners will be imperative in the Three Lion's quarter-finals meeting with Les Bleus.
France has notably performed to a high level, and when we look at England's competition thus far, the USMNT is probably the most dangerous team they've competed against.
Despite the absence of prolific New York City goalkeeper Sean Johnson from the USA's starting XI, Arsenal's Matt Turner prevented England from finding success, as the Stars and Stripes have been the lone team to prevent England from scoring at the World Cup so far. And to a bettor's delight, New York sportsbook promo codes still assisted those backing the USA in the double chance market (win or draw) despite the absence of the state's star goalkeeper.
With that said, the USA is no more, and England is two wins away from reaching the World Cup finals. Flashbacks of the Euro 2020 final will be present, but there's no denying this England team is one of the best they've had in decades – with slight assistance from Guardiola and co.
Portugal – Ruben Dias, Joao Cancelo, and Bernado Silva
A trio of talent from the Citizens is displayed in Portugal's starting XI. Portugal hasn't let off the gas since their Group H winning success and recently dismantled Switzerland 6-1 to advance into the quarter-finals.
Brazil – Ederson
City's number one was named in Tite's squad. Still, the Brazilian manager has faced the difficult task of deciding which goalkeeper should start, as he's also gifted with Liverpool's Alisson as an alternative. Thus far, Alisson has been the primary choice, but the South American side undoubtedly owns the best goalkeeping duo in Qatar.
Brazil dominated their group stage and recently hammered South Korea 4-1 to book their position in the quarter-finals.
Argentina – Julian Alvarez
If you think Julian Alvarez missed Kevin de Bruyne's creativity when heading to Qatar in his Argentina shirt, think again. Lionel Messi plays behind Alvarez, and despite their shocking defeat to Saudi Arabia on matchday one, Argentina placed atop their group and cruised past Australia to reach the quarter-finals – a game where Alvarez and Messi were on the score sheet.
The Netherlands – Nathan Ake
Questions surrounded the Netherlands and their inexperienced squad pre-tournament. However, the Dutch team has excelled in Qatar, and City left-back Nathan Ake has assisted his nation in allowing just two goals throughout the competition.
With that said, the actual test will arrive following the Netherlands' 3-1 round of 16 success over the USA, as they'll face Argentina in the quarter-finals on Friday.
Spain – Aymeric Laporte and Rodri
Laporte, Rodri, and the Spanish national team began their Qatar campaign emphatically. A 7-0 win over Costa Rica sent a warning signal to fellow top-ranked teams; however, they couldn't find this form again.
Spain followed up their 7-0 opener with a 1-1 draw against Germany and a shocking 2-1 loss to Japan. Despite qualifying for the round of 16, they couldn't overcome Morocco in the knockout phase and were unexpectedly eliminated from the World Cup.
Switzerland – Manuel Akanji
With two wins from three and their lone loss coming up against Brazil in their group G outings, the Swiss nationals seemed prepared to tackle the round of 16.
Unfortunately for Manuel Akanji and co., Portugal sent them packing with an embarrassing 6-1 scoreline.
Belgium – Kevin De Bruyne
With rumours surrounding the golden generation of Belgium missing their last shot at success, many were hoping for this team's chance, especially when faced with inexperienced teams such as Canada and Morocco.
However, even the skillful attributes of Kevin De Bruyne couldn't assist Belgium in their group-stage efforts, as Croatia and Morocco were the two teams to advance.
Germany – Ilkay Gundogan
Manchester City captain Ilkay Gundogan was faced with his club teammates in Group E. But Hansi Flick's working-progress German squad wasn't clinical enough to overcome Japan. Despite levelling on points with Spain, goal difference sent the German squad out of the competition earlier than expected as surprise outfit Japan defeated both of them and finished first in the "group of death."