Teamwork makes the dream work

Haaland, Salah head greatest XI of gamers not at 2022 World Cup

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Welcome to the World Cup, a showcase of the world’s greatest footballers and people on the very peak of their powers, with host nation Qatar kicking all of it off on Sunday, Nov. 20 once they tackle Ecuador.

Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, Neymar and Harry Kane will all be trying to dominate the stage, however the subsequent month can be powerful for among the greatest gamers on this planet who must sit again and watch from the consolation of their very own properties.

In a 3-4-3 formation, we pick an XI of the most important stars who both didn’t qualify with their international locations or who’ve been compelled to sit down out of the match due to damage.

Stream on ESPN+: LaLiga, Bundesliga, extra (U.S.)

Worldwide crew: Italy
Worldwide caps: 49
Place: Goalkeeper
Age: 23
Membership crew: Paris Saint-Germain

Italy’s No. 1 goalkeeper is having to look at his second successive World Cup at house following the failure of the Euro 2020 winners to ebook their place in Qatar.

The Italians missed out in 2018 after being eradicated by Sweden within the playoffs, however they suffered an excellent larger blow this time by dropping their playoff semifinal at house to North Macedonia.

Donnarumma emerged from Euro 2020 because the participant of the match and he would have gone to Qatar as one of many world’s greatest goalkeepers. However similar to in 2018, the PSG star is lacking out on soccer’s massive occasion.

– 2022 World Cup: All squad lists for Qatar
World Cup finals bracket and fixtures schedule

Worldwide crew: England
Worldwide caps: 15
Place: Proper-back
Age: 22
Membership crew: Chelsea

England have a humiliation of riches at right-back, however the injury-enforced absence of James has arguably denied supervisor Gareth Southgate his greatest participant in that place.

Southgate can nonetheless flip to Newcastle United‘s Kieran Trippier, Manchester Metropolis‘s Kyle Walker and Liverpool’s Trent Alexander-Arnold, however James tops all of them together with his means defensively and going ahead.

However a knee damage suffered in opposition to AC Milan within the Champions League means he misses out.

Worldwide crew: Austria
Worldwide caps: 96
Place: Centre-back
Age: 30
Membership crew: Actual Madrid

Alaba has been a world-class performer at centre-back and in midfield for Bayern Munich and Actual Madrid for the previous 5 years, and can be Austria’s high participant.

However the Austrians had a dismal qualification marketing campaign, ending fourth in UEFA Group F behind Denmark, Scotland and Israel.

Worldwide crew: Scotland
Worldwide caps: 59
Place: Left-back
Age: 28
Membership crew: Liverpool

Scotland’s failure to beat Ukraine in a playoff semifinal in June meant that Robertson, arguably probably the most constant left-back on this planet lately, misses out on Qatar.

Having didn’t qualify for a World Cup since France ’98, Scotland’s lack of depth is a recurring difficulty, however in Robertson and Arsenal’s Kieran Tierney, they possess two of one of the best combating for one place.

Robertson’s absence from the World Cup can be a lift for Liverpool, however the 28-year-old may nonetheless make it to United States, Mexico and Canada for the 2026 World Cup.

Worldwide crew: Colombia
Worldwide caps: 37
Place: Winger
Age: 25
Membership crew: Liverpool

A knee damage suffered earlier this season would have nearly definitely dominated Diaz out of the World Cup had Colombia made it to Qatar, however the nation suffered a disastrous qualification marketing campaign and even didn’t ebook a playoff spot.

With the highest 4 nations qualifying mechanically, Colombia had been crushed to the playoffs by Peru (who misplaced their intercontinental decider in opposition to Australia), so Diaz was already going through an extended winter at Liverpool earlier than struggling his damage.

Colombia’s absence from Qatar additionally signifies that Radamel Falcao, at 36, is more likely to have performed his final World Cup.

Worldwide crew: Italy
Worldwide caps: 41
Place: Central midfield
Age: 25
Membership crew: Inter Milan

The Inter midfielder was excellent for Italy throughout their profitable Euro 2020 marketing campaign and would gone to Qatar as one of many main midfielders within the match.

Barella can distribute the ball and rating targets, whereas his model enhances that of the extra artistic Marco Verratti.

However with Italy lacking out on successive World Cups, Barella can be 29 when the subsequent one comes round in 2026, so may nonetheless shine on the large stage.

Worldwide crew: France
Worldwide caps: 91
Place: Central midfield
Age: 29
Membership crew: Juventus

The Juve midfielder performed a key function in France’s World Cup triumph at Russia 2018, however damage signifies that he’ll miss out this time.

The 29-year-old has been sidelined with a knee damage since returning to Juve on a free switch from Manchester United this summer time and has but to make a aggressive look for Massimiliano Allegri’s crew in his second spell on the membership.

With out Pogba, France are dropping one in all their greatest gamers and the World Cup additionally misses out on one of many recreation’s most high-profile stars.

Worldwide crew: Georgia
Worldwide caps: 19
Place: Winger
Age: 21
Membership crew: Napoli

Some gamers are destined to spend their total careers making an attempt, and failing, to play in a World Cup, and the Napoli winger Kvaratskhelia may simply be consigned to that destiny with Georgia.

However with Wales reaching a World Cup for the primary time since 1958, handing Gareth Bale a dream swansong, Kvaratskhelia can reside in hope that his tiny nation will qualify and provides him the prospect to play on the most important stage.

The 21-year-old has been a sensation for Napoli this season, notably within the Champions League, however with Georgia ending fourth out of 5 in UEFA qualifying Group B, he by no means got here near qualifying for Qatar.

Worldwide crew: Egypt
Worldwide caps: 86
Place: Ahead
Age: 30
Membership crew: Liverpool

Liverpool ahead Salah has had a heartbreaking yr on the worldwide stage with Egypt. Having suffered defeat within the Africa Cup of Nations remaining in opposition to Senegal in February, Salah then missed a spot kick within the penalty shootout defeat in opposition to the identical opponents within the World Cup playoff.

It is a blow for the World Cup to be lacking a participant of Salah’s star high quality, but additionally for African soccer, who have to be kicking themselves over a course of that led to the continent’s two greatest groups assembly in a playoff for one place in Qatar.

Salah’s 2018 World Cup was marred by his failure to totally overcome the shoulder damage suffered in that yr’s Champions League remaining in opposition to Actual Madrid, and he will not even get the prospect to make amends.

Worldwide crew: Norway
Worldwide caps: 23
Place: Striker
Age: 22
Membership crew: Manchester Metropolis

There is no such thing as a larger title or brighter star in soccer proper now than Haaland, however the Manchester Metropolis ahead misses out on Qatar after Norway completed third of their qualifying group. Netherlands certified as group winners and Turkey beat Norway to a playoff spot earlier than dropping to Portugal.

Regardless of his 23 targets in 18 video games since signing for Metropolis this summer time, Haaland scored simply 5 targets within the World Cup qualifying rounds for Norway — seven fewer than Group G high scorer Memphis Depay of Netherlands — with three of these coming in opposition to minnows Gibraltar.

Chances are high clearly a lot tougher to come back by with Norway than Metropolis, however Haaland is able to scoring the targets to hold his nationwide crew to the subsequent World Cup in 2026.

Worldwide crew: Ukraine
Worldwide caps: 8
Place: Ahead
Age: 21
Membership crew: Shakhtar Donetsk

The Shakhtar Donetsk winger is likely one of the brightest skills to emerge from Ukraine lately and his performances within the Champions League this season recommend he’ll earn a giant transfer to a significant European league within the months forward.

Regardless of the battle that’s ravaging the nation, Ukraine got here near qualifying for the World Cup after reaching the UEFA playoffs. However after beating Scotland in Glasgow within the semifinal, Ukraine misplaced out to a Bale-inspired Wales in Cardiff, denying the nation the prospect of a massively emotive look in Qatar.


Jan Oblak: Slovenia have not certified for the World Cup since 2010 — two years earlier than Atletico Madrid No. 1 Oblak made his worldwide debut. One of many excellent goalkeepers of his era, the 29-year-old will hope to lastly make it to the World Cup in 2026.

Milan Skriniar: The Inter centre-half is reported to be near a transfer to Paris Saint-Germain within the new yr, however Slovakia‘s failure to qualify signifies that that the 27-year-old will spend the subsequent six weeks at house. Having completed third in Group H behind Croatia and Russia, Slovakia had been denied the prospect to interchange the suspended Russia within the World Cup playoffs, lacking out on a semifinal in opposition to eventual qualifiers Poland.

N’Golo Kante: The Chelsea midfielder was an unsung hero of France’s 2018 World Cup triumph. Whereas Kylian Mbappe and Pogba claimed the highlight, Kante was there to carry all of it collectively in entrance of Didier Deschamps’ again 4. However a long-term hamstring damage has compelled Kante out of the competitors, denying France their greatest holding midfielder.

Jesus ‘Tecatito’ Corona: Mexico’s star participant misses the World Cup after struggling a fractured ankle whereas coaching with Sevilla earlier this season. Corona has undergone surgical procedure, however the participant won’t be slot in time for Qatar. With out Corona, Mexico can be lacking one in all their most artistic gamers and one able to making a distinction in opposition to high-ranked opponents.

Victor Osimhen: Like his Napoli teammate Kvaratskhelia, Osimhen is tearing it up in Serie A and the Champions League this season. However the 23-year-old will not be going to the World Cup after Nigeria suffered an away-goals defeat in opposition to Ghana within the playoffs. Had Nigeria certified, Osimhen would have given the Tremendous Eagles the purpose menace to make it by means of the group stage and maybe make him a contender for the Golden Boot.

Benjamin Sesko: The FC Salzburg striker was pursued by each Manchester United and Chelsea this summer time earlier than agreeing to maneuver to RB Leipzig in 2023. At 19, Sesko is thought to be one of many hottest younger strikers in world soccer, however he was unable to assist Slovenia qualify for his or her third World Cup, as they completed fourth behind Croatia, Russia and Slovakia. But when Sesko continues to develop as many predict, he’ll spearhead his nation’s hopes of qualification in 2026.

Martin Odegaard: The Arsenal captain has emerged as one of the crucial constant gamers in Mikel Arteta’s crew and is now dwelling as much as the hype that greeted his transfer to Actual Madrid as a 16-year-old. However similar to worldwide teammate Haaland, Odegaard was unable to make the distinction for Norway of their qualification marketing campaign. Nonetheless, the nation can be powerful opponents within the qualifying rounds for 2026 if Odegaard and Haaland keep match.

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