Arsenal stars Granit Xhaka and Takehiro Tomiyasu both suffered World Cup agony as they were knocked out of the competition this week.
Xhaka led Switzerland to the last 16 before they were comprehensively outclassed by Portugal, while it was penalty shootout heartbreak for Tomiyasu and Japan against Croatia.
Switching to more domestic matters, Arsenal have embraked on a training camp in Dubai ahead of their participation in the Dubai Super Cup, where they will play Lyon on Thursday and AC Milan on Tuesday.
Here’s the latest on the pair’s potential return dates.
Granit Xhaka has turned his Arsenal career around to become one of the Gunners’ most important players.
His Switzerland side managed to finish runners-up behind Brazil in Group G thanks to victories over Cameroon and Serbia but couldn’t go any further as they were knocked out in the last 16 for the third consecutive World Cup.
Portugal proved to be far too strong as Cristiano Ronaldo replacement Goncalo Ramos scored a hat trick in a bruising 6-1 victory. Xhaka was philosophical over the loss and his attention quickly turned to his club.
“Of course, emotionally it is not easy. But this is part of our business, part of football,” Xhaka said after losing to Portugal.
“You have to recover well. The Premier League is waiting and, of course, I wanted to be here longer than this. But we lost the game today and I am happy to go back now with the team.
“I have something to achieve there, and I know the team is in Dubai at the moment doing the pre-season.
“I’m flying back to Dubai, going back to the team, and going back to the training and trying to forget the tournament now.”
Given Japan took Croatia all the way to penalties in their last 16 clash, Takehiro Tomiyasu was perhaps slightly over-critical when analysing his own performance.
Coming into the World Cup carrying an injury, the defender made two substitute appearances in the famous wins over Germany and Spain before starting in the knockout stage.
Daizen Maeda had the Asian side 1-0 up before Ivan Perisic equalised with a header in the 55th minute. Tomiyasu played the entire 120 minutes but didn’t get the chance to take a penalty as Takumi Minamino and Maya Yoshida missed, allowing Croatia to pick up a 3-1 win on spot kicks.
Tomiyasu has since asked for some time for self-reflection, harshly describing his own performance in the last 16 as a ‘disaster’.
“Hopefully I can get a bit of rest. I need time to forget about football. I need a bit of time,” he told reports after Japan’s elimination.
“Of course we are so disappointed with the result. My performance was a disaster today so I am sorry for the team.
“I just need to be much better to help the team. It was not enough and also for the team we did not deserve to win. We were so close to achieving our aim.
“They were better than us. I can’t be proud. I am not satisfied about what happened. This is football and yeah, we need to be much, much better to win against a stronger team.”
Which Arsenal players have also been eliminated and who’s still in?
Thomas Partey was eliminated with Ghana after finishing fourth in Group H, while Matt Turner’s USA were bested 3-1 by the Netherlands in the last 16.
Gabriel Jesus won’t play for Brazil at the World Cup again due to his knee injury – one which is expected to sideline the forward for months – while Ben White left England’s squad for personal reasons.
Bukayo Saka, Aaron Ramsdale, William Saliba and Gabriel Martinelli are the remaining Arsenal players at the World Cup. Saka and Martinelli have been prominent for England and Brazil respectively, but Ramsdale is unlikely to see any minutes as Jordan Pickford’s understudy and Saliba got just half an hour in the 1-0 defeat to Tunisia.