The FIFA World Cup is inarguably the most prestigious competition in world football, and every player hopes to play in the tournament at least once in their lifetime.
However, not every player gets this golden chance, especially given that only 32 countries qualify for the competition. In doing so, some big stars are left behind, and the 2022 FIFA World Cup is no different.
Some players are not going to the FIFA World Cup on account of their teams not qualifying. However, there are others who will also miss out on the tournament.
While some of them are out with injuries, the rest have not been picked for the tournament due to a lack of consistency or a drop in form.
On that note, let’s take a look at the greatest XI not playing in the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.
Jan Oblak, especially over the last decade, has been the most consistent shot-stopper in European football.
The Atletico Madrid goalkeeper is often a rock wall at the back and very rarely lets anything past him.
Hence, it is a disappointment that fans will not get to see his heroics at the 2022 FIFA World Cup following Slovenia’s inability to qualify for the tournament.
Reece James was certain to go to the FIFA World Cup with England this year, but those plans have gone down the drain over the last month or so.
James, who is arguably Chelsea‘s most important player right now, suffered an injury in the club’s 2-0 victory against AC Milan at the San Siro.
The right-back has two goals and two assists in 11 appearances across all competitions, while his defensive solidity has made him a sure starter for the West London club.
These abilities also impressed Gareth Southgate, who preferred him over others in the right-back slot over the past year.
However, the England boss informed James that he will not be part of the Three Lions squad for the upcoming tournament, despite the player having the chance to recover soon.
Austria have not qualified for the FIFA World Cup since 1988, and their disappointing run continued for this year’s tournament.
With very few difference-makers in the squad, it was always an uphill task for the European nation to qualify for the competition.
However, this means that David Alaba will yet again not feature at the FIFA World Cup, despite his brilliance for the nation year-after-year.
Regardless, Alaba will have his eye on the 2024 European Championship, which could be his last major tournament with Austria.
Milan Skriniar has been one of the best defenders in Serie A over the last couple of years but will not be part of the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
The centre-back, who plays for Slovakia, did not manage to help his team reach the last 32 of the most coveted tournament in the sport.
However, like many other countries, the nation stood very little chance of achieving the same.
But this might not be Skriniar’s last shot at representing his nation at the World Cup, as he is still only 27.
Andy Robertson has achieved a lot of success with Liverpool over the last five years, including helping them win two domestic cups last season.
The club also reached the final of the Champions League while also competing with Manchester City until the last day of the season for the Premier League title.
The left-back has been just as good for Scotland over the last five years but could not do enough to seal qualification for the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
It was a huge disappointment for the country, especially since they only had to defeat Ukraine earlier this year to get to the tournament.
N’Golo Kante was a huge reason behind France’s 2018 World Cup victory, but the midfielder will not be able to help his nation defend their crown this year.
The central defensive midfielder has suffered from injury issues over the last couple of years, which has certainly stunted his consistency.
He underwent surgery due to a hamstring injury earlier this season before suffering another setback in September. Hence, the Frenchman will not be part of this year’s tournament.
From one injured French star to another, Paul Pogba is also absent from France’s contingent for the 2022 FIFA World Cup this year.
The midfielder, who joined Juventus from Manchester United this summer, suffered an injury early in the season. Although he was hoping to avoid surgery and return soon, that scenario was ruled out a few weeks later.
Hence, given the odd timing of the tournament this year, the 91-cap international will not be able to recover in time to help his side aim to win the competition for a second consecutive time.
Thiago Alcantara is possibly the silkiest midfielder in world football, courtesy of which it was a shock when he was not included in Spain’s squad for the upcoming World Cup.
Although La Roja do have enough quality in the midfield line, Thiago’s experience would have come in handy, especially against the best teams. Moreover, his ability to break the lines with his cut-throat passes will also be missed.
Regardless, these are the decisions every manager lives or dies by, and only time will tell how this will pan out for Luis Enrique.
Mohamed Salah has faced quite a lot of heartache in 2022, both on the domestic and international front.
The Egyptian was part of the Liverpool side that narrowly missed out on the Champions League and Premier League titles in the span of one week.
However, prior to that, Egypt also lost the AFCON final to Senegal in February before also missing out on a World Cup berth.
Hence, despite having 14 goals and five assists in 21 games this season, Salah will not be part of the most prestigious tournament in world football this year.
Italy’s inability to qualify for the 2022 FIFA World Cup was one of the biggest upsets this year, especially after they won the European Championship last year.
Italy have produced some world-class stars over the last couple of years, and Federico Chiesa is certainly one of them. But given that the country will not be participating in the World Cup for a second consecutive time, Chiesa will also not be in Qatar.
The swashbuckling winger, who was one of the country’s standout stars at the 2020 Euros, recently returned from a nine-month injury. Despite that, fans will not get to witness his brilliance at this year’s tournament.
One of the few drawbacks of being Erling Haaland is that the striker does not play for a football heavyweight nation.
Despite that, Haaland has already bagged 21 goals in just 23 appearances for the Norwegian national team.
However, he could not help his nation finish ahead of 2nd-placed Turkey and 1st-placed Netherlands in their FIFA World Cup qualification group.
Hence, while Mbappe will be eager to make a mark in his second World Cup, Haaland will have to wait another four years to do so for the first time.
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