CELTIC’S Portuguese sensation Jota is in with a shout of being on the flight to Qatar with the Portuguese national team for the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
The 23-year-old has been a shining light for the Hoops during both his initial loan spell and since becoming a permanent fixture at Celtic Park this summer. Making his debut for the Portugal senior team at this winter’s World Cup would be a dream come true.
Portugal are in Group H and have been drawn alongside Uruguay, South Korea and Ghana, in what’s considered an evenly contested group. However, Portugal are the favourites to win the group, with bet365 pricing them as short as 4/6. This bookmaker has one of the three most recommended promotions for new customers signing up ahead of the World Cup and as you can imagine, the World Cup 2022 betting markets are most definitely hotting up.
With Jota notching five goals and just as many assists so far this campaign, it’s no surprise to see him named in the provisional Portuguese squad heading for Qatar. Manager, Fernando Santos, has a 55-man interim squad, which will need to be culled significantly in the coming days. Injury has forced Jota on the sidelines for Celtic’s last five games and his absence has been felt both on the pitch and from the terraces. He has that ‘X Factor’ that gets Celtic fans on their feet.
Jota left an instant impression on the Celtic faithful
Jota spent the 2020/21 campaign on loan with Spanish La Liga outfit Real Valladolid. However, he would only manage one goal in 17 appearances in a Valladolid side that would be relegated to the Segunda Division. Jota’s switch to Celtic the following season was a game-changer for him and the Hoops. He would rapidly establish himself as a fans’ favourite.
By the end of the season, Jota managed to notch his first goal in a Glasgow derby and concluded the 2021/22 season with 13 goals and 14 assists. It would be enough to convince Celtic to pay the £6.5 million buy-out clause and secure his services on a five-year contract.
Has an injury to namesake Diogo Jota opened the door to Qatar?
In terms of Jota’s international football career, he made 18 appearances for Portugal’s Under-21 side, but has never been a part of the senior fold. With almost 30 players needing to be cut from the provisional squad, Jota will need some divine intervention to seek inclusion. There is one new route into the senior side given that Liverpool’s Diogo Jota looks set to miss out through injury.
Nevertheless, a quick glance at the other Portuguese forwards shows Manchester United’s Cristiano Ronaldo, AC Milan’s Rafael Leao and RB Leipzig’s Andre Silva leading the way. Jota will also have to push past the likes of Sporting Lisbon pair Francisco Trincao and Paulinho, as well as Wolverhampton Wanderers duo Goncalo Guedes and Daniel Podence.
It could yet be a tall order for Jota, but he doesn’t have long to wait to find out if he’ll be successful. Portugal’s final squad for the 2022 World Cup must be announced no later than Thursday, November 10.
Celtic are set to be represented on multiple fronts at the 2022 FIFA World Cup
Celtic and boss Ange Postecoglu will have multiple interests at the 2022 Qatar World Cup. Japanese forward Kyogo Furuhashi is almost certain to feature, as are compatriots Reo Hatate and Daizen Maeda. Meanwhile Cameron Carter-Vickers is pushing hard for inclusion as a central defender in the USA’s men’s national soccer team, which is in the same group as England and Wales.
Experienced midfielder Aaron Mooy will travel as part of Australia’s Socceroos, while Danish duo Oliver Abildgaard and Matt O’Riley are also hoping to be on the plane to the Middle East.
Celtic’s last Scottish Premier League game before the World Cup begins is on November 12 at home to Ross County. Although they are out of the Champions League, they will hope to extend their lead over their bitter Ibrox rivals going into the month-long domestic break, after which the Hoops have four SPL games in the space of 11 days either side of Christmas.