The 2022 World Cup is fully in swing, with every country in the competition now playing at least once. Some teams and players have impressed, while some need to improve massively over the next few weeks to avoid an early flight home.
Many players have shown great patriotism while representing their countries. However, there is a group of players who were not actually born in the country that they represent but still show the same desire and passion for their adopted national team.
In fact, an incredible 137 players in World Cup squads were not actually born in the country they are representing in Qatar.
Here are just some of the high-profile players at the World Cup who were born in different countries than the one they will be representing in Qatar 2022:
Breel Embolo (Switzerland)
The Monaco forward was born in Cameroon. However, as a child, his family moved to France before settling in Switzerland. He started his career in Switzerland with Basel before moving to Germany as a youngster.
Ironically, Embolo opened his goalscoring account at the World Cup against the country of his birth on Thursday afternoon in a 1-0 win. Out of respect for his birthplace, his goal celebration was a muted one.
Raheem Sterling (England)
The Chelsea winger was born in Jamaica. However, like Embolo, he left the nation of his birth as a child, arriving in England’s capital at just five years of age. Sterling has often alluded to his Jamaican heritage.
The winger has made a bright start to World Cup 2022, scoring in England’s opening game, a 6-2 hammering of Iran. The former Manchester City man could prove to be a key player for the rest of the tournament, just as he was in Euro 2020.
Alphonse Davies (Canada)
The versatile Bayern Munich player is certainly the jewel in the crown of John Herdman’s team. Davies’ story is an incredible one, as he was born to Liberian parents in a refugee camp in Ghana.
However, the Davies family emigrated to Canada in 2005, and his football career took at 15 when he moved to Vancouver for the Whitecaps FC Residency program. He only received his official Canadian citizenship in 2017.
Davies will no doubt have a big part to play if Canada is to progress beyond the group stage. Unfortunately for the Bayern star, he missed a penalty kick in his team’s opening game, a 1-0 defeat against Belgium.
It seems that that time has stood still for Pepe, formerly of Real Madrid. The centre-back is still going strong in the Portugal national team, despite being 39 years young. However, the Porto defender is no longer first choice in the heart of the Selecao defence.
Pepe never represented his birthplace Brazil at any youth or junior level. So, in 2007 he decided to become a Portuguese citizen, having been playing in the country since 2001 with both Maritimo and Porto.
The defender has gone on to win 129 caps for the Selecao. He will undoubtedly be willing and able to add to that figure if given a chance in Qatar.
Giovanni Reyna (USA)
The American starlet was born in Sunderland, England, when his dad Claudio Reyna was playing for the Black Cats. At the age of five, Reyna and his family moved back to the USA.
Reyna’s football talent was recognised when he joined the academy of New York City FC in 2015. However, German giants Dortmund also spotted his potential, and he joined BVB’s academy just four years later.
Reyna is, without a doubt, a young rising star, having already shown flashes of his ability in the Bundesliga, despite having barely left his teens. The midfielder did not feature in the USA’s first game of the World Cup against Wales. However, he could play against his birth nation, England, on Friday night.
Eric Choupo-Moting (Cameroon)
The well-travelled veteran striker was born in Hamburg, Germany, but represents Cameroon at international level. Choupo-Moting has spent most of his playing career in the land of his birth, apart from a short spell on loan in England at Stoke when the Potters were in the Premier League and a stint in France with PSG.
The veteran star played for Germany under 21’s in various youth tournaments. However, in 2010 he accepted an invitation to join the Cameroon squad ahead of the World Cup that same year. The striker was eligible for Cameroon due to his father being Cameroonian.
He has gone on to feature 70 times for the Indomitable Lions, scoring 19 goals and played in their opening game at World Cup 2022, a 1-0 defeat against Switzerland. If the African nation is to make an impact in the competition, then the Bayern Munich forward could play a crucial role.
Kalidou Koulibaly (Senegal)
Like several of the Senegal squad, the Napoli centre-back was born in France to Senegalese parents. Koulibaly played for the country of his birth at under-20 level, including at the FIFA U-20 World Cup.
However, the defender decided to play for his parent’s homeland in 2015, despite his birth nation showing an interest in calling him up for their national team. Koulibaly has since proven to be a key player for not only his club team but also for the Lions of Teranga. He has made 65 appearances for the African nation and is likely to be a mainstay at the heart of the Senegalese defence at World Cup 2022.