Four Sounders players to watch at the 2022 World Cup
Nouhou Tolo (Cameroon)
Cameroon are in one of the toughest groups in the competition, Group G. They are joined by Brazil, Serbia, and Switzerland.
Tolo has made 16 caps for Cameroon, with roughly half of them coming this year. In this World Cup, Tolo will likely compete with Enzo Ebosse (Udinese/Serie A) for the starting spot and for minutes at left-back.
In qualifiers, Tolo started the first leg of Cameroon's final qualifying matchup with Algeria. He came on as a substitute in the second leg. Prior to that, Tolo started four of Cameroon's six group stage matches in the second round of qualifiers.
While Ebosse is an interesting option, I believe that Tolo will get most of the starts and minutes at LB. Although I think we will see plenty of both players either way. It is very likely that Tolo will get the most minutes of any of the four Sounders players at the World Cup.
Tolo is also joined by the Philadelphia Union's Olivier Mbaizo on the Cameroon squad.
Brazil are one of the big favorites in the tournament and come in as the top-ranked team in the FIFA Team Rankings. They are led by the likes of established stars Neymar (PSG/Ligue 1) and Gabriel Jesus (Arsenal/Premier League), the established CB pairing of Marquinhos (PSG/Ligue 1) and Thiago Silva (Chelsea/Premier League), Casemiro (Manchester United/Premier League) , and not to mention wonderkid Vinicius Junior (Real Madrid/La Liga). They also feature arguably the top GK in the world in Alisson (Liverpool/Premier League) (along with elite backup Ederson (Manchester City/Premier League)).
Serbia is led by 6'3 Juventus striker Dusan Vlahovic. They also have Aleksander Mitrovic (Fulham/Premier League) who is Serbia's all-time leading scorer, and is having a fantastic season this year in the Prem (after an incredible 43 goal campaign last year in the Championship). Serbia ranks 21st in the FIFA rankings.
Switzerland features fellow MLSer Xherdan Shaqiri (Chicago Fire) who is one of Switzerland's all-time greats. Their outfit also features Granit Xhaka (Arsenal/Premier League) who is right up there with Shaqiri in terms of all-time Swiss players. Switzerland is ranked 15th in the FIFA rankings.
Just about everyone expects Brazil to be one of the teams to advance to the knockout round out of this group and likely the ones winning the group, and I would also expect the same. It will be a very interesting battle between Cameroon, Switzerland, and Serbia to see who the other squad is advancing.