Portugal: The Most Overworked Squad At the FIFA World Cup According to a FIFPRO Report

A week before the FIFA World Cup is due to start in Qatar, FIFPRO has released a report titled ‘FIFA World Cup 2022: The Player Workload Journey’. The findings show that Fernando Santos’ A Seleção are statistically the most overworked team of the 32 sides going into the FIFA World Cup.

The idea of having a World Cup that is in the middle of the season for many nations is something that has caused a lot of concern and raised a lot of eyebrows and this report looks at the detrimental impact it could have on many players. This report claims that “significantly reduced preparation and recovery periods before and after this FIFA World Cup 2022, pose an ominous threat to player health and hinder performance optimisation”.

According to the report, Portugal are the only nation at the World Cup with a squad that has played over 30,000 combined minutes so far this season (1st August to 24th October). The Portuguese players at their respective clubs and on international duty so far this season have already managed a combined 30,986 minutes.

Data and graphic via FIFPRO

If you stretch the time period back even further, Portugal remains in the top spot for minutes played. From the beginning of the 2021/22 season to October 24th, 2022, the Portugal squad has racked up 135,237 minutes.

You can see from the graphic below how the minutes for those Portuguese players has been divided across that time period.

Data and graphic courtesy of FIFPRO.

Individually, João Cancelo ranks second of all outfield players for most minutes played between July 2021 and October 2022 with a whopping 7,347. Across that time period, he has made 78 appearances with 59% of those minutes coming back-to-back.

Portugal go into this FIFA World Cup without the likes of Diogo Jota and Pedro Neto due to injury and several players who have been selected for the tournament have suffered injury and fitness issues recently, particularly Porto stalwart Pepe and Paris Saint-Germain’s Nuno Mendes. Goalkeeper Diogo Costa also missed training today due to muscle complaints and Santos will be hoping that Portugal’s new number one is in better shape for the first group match vs Ghana.

You can read FIFPRO’s full report here: https://fifpro.org/en/supporting-players/health-and-performance/player-workload/fifpro-report-looks-at-intensive-schedule-for-players-ahead-of-2022-world-cup/

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