The nations these superstars represent failed to qualify for the showpiece event in Qatar.
The qualification process for the 2022 FIFA World Cup proved an uphill battle for many. Several football giants managed to book their place for the quadrennial event. Brazil maintained their record of playing at every World Cup. Meanwhile, Canada qualified for the first time since 1986. However, amidst this, a few heavyweights failed to secure a spot at Qatar 2022. This will see some major stars not taking part in football’s biggest event.
Let’s have a look at the top 10 footballers who will be missing in action at the 2022 FIFA World Cup
10. Luis Diaz (Colombia)
The striker has taken the Premier League by storm since his arrival. He joined Liverpool in January and has been among the goals. But, the forward wasn’t able to lead Colombia to the World Cup in Qatar.
Colombia finished sixth in the CONMEBOL Qualifiers, missing out on a playoff spot by a single point. Peru trumped them in the standings. Luis Diaz was Copa America’s joint-top scorer last year, but will not feature at the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
9. Martin Odegaard (Norway)
The Norwegian international is yet to feature at a World Cup and won’t participate in the 2022 edition as well. Odegaard has established himself as a regular under Mikel Arteta at Arsenal. But, he wasn’t able to guide Norway to the showpiece event.
8. Gianluigi Donnarumma (Italy)
The Player of the Tournament at Euro 2020, Gianluigi Donnarumma will miss out on the 2022 FIFA World Cup. The PSG star wasn’t able to lead Italy to the showpiece event in Qatar. The Azzurri failed to qualify for the tournament for a second successive edition. They also missed out in 2018.
Italy finished behind Switzerland in their group. They were later eliminated by underdogs North Macedonia in the first round of the playoffs. Gianluigi Donnarumma was criticized for his role in their winning goal.
7. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Gabon)
The former Gunners striker has been sensational in recent months for FC Barcelona. He was on the fringes of the Arsenal team earlier this season, but has found his form at Barcelona since his move in January.
Aubameyang scored twice on his El Clascio debut. This helped Barcelona defeat Real Madrid 4-0. However, he was unable to lead Gabon to the showpiece event in Qatar. They finished second in Group F of the African World Cup Qualifiers, behind Egypt.
6. Jan Oblak (Slovenia)
The goalkeeper is considered as one of the best in the world right now. He played a crucial role in Atletico Madrid’s title triumph last season, but has failed to re-capture his form this campaign. This was evident in Slovenia’s qualifying campaign.
Jan Oblak has never played in a World Cup and will also miss this year’s edition. They finished fourth in their group. Slovenia haven’t qualified for the competition since 2010.
5. Riyad Mahrez (Algeria)
The winger had to endure heartbreak as Algeria missed out on qualification in the final minutes. They conceded in injury-time against Cameroon, who advanced ahead of them. Riyad Mahrez now needs to wait for another appearance at a World Cup.
Mahrez participated at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. He started Algeria’s opening encounter against Belgium.
4. Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Sweden)
The Swede came out of retirement to help his team qualify for the 2022 FIFA World Cup, but he was unable to do so. Sweden lost to Poland in the final round of European Qualifiers. The striker didn’t start the game. He made a substitute appearance with Sweden trailing 2-0.
The 40-year-old is one of the best players of his generation. But, his wait for World Cup participation goes on. Ibrahimovic last played in a World Cup game in 2006.
3. Jorginho (Italy)
Jorginho is the mainstay in Italy and Chelsea’s midfield and was instrumental in guiding his country to Euro 2020 glory. However, he will not participate at the 2022 FIFA World Cup. He was placed third in the Ballon d’Or rankings this year. However, the 29-year-old was unable to guide Italy to the showpiece event.
Jorginho had a huge role to play in the Azzurri’s exit. The midfielder missed two penalties in the qualifying playoff match. North Macedonia took advantage of this by scoring in the dying minutes to advance.
2. Erling Haaland (Norway)
The Borussia Dortmund striker is one of the best footballers on the planet at the moment. The 21-year-old’s goalscoring exploits have alerted many European heavyweights. However, he was unable to lead Norway to the finals in Qatar.
Norway were drawn in Group G of the European World Cup Qualifiers. They finished behind the Netherlands and Turkey in their classification. Erling Halanad scored five goals in the qualifying campaign. But, this wasn’t enough as Norway finished third.
1 Mohamed Salah (Egypt)
The Egyptian is another superstar to miss out on the World Cup in Qatar. Egypt lost to Senegal on penalties in the final round of African Qualifiers, and thus failed to qualify for the showpiece event in Qatar.
Both teams played out to a 1-1 draw over two legs in normal time. The game went to a penalty shootout. Senegal emerged victorious with a score of 3-1. Salah was one of the players to miss his spot-kick.