Some very big names have missed on the chance to participate in next year’s World Cup.
The most important international football competition will take place next summer in Russia. While some teams and their superstars have ensured their presence in the last round of qualifications, there were plenty that were left aside and will have to watch from distance.
Gareth Bale, Arjen Robben and Alexis Sanchez are only a few of the big names in football that will not participate in the 2018 World Cup, because their nations failed to qualify. But there are more top players and we present them below.
Gareth Bale: After having reached the semi-finals of Euro 2016, Wales failed to qualify for the World Cup. Bale was not able to help his team on the pitch for the decisive match against Republic of Ireland, and Wales lost 1-0, missing on the chance to secure a play-off spot.
Arjen Robben: For the Dutch International, the failure to secure presence in the upcoming World Cup meant retirement from the International football. Having played a World Cup final (2010) and semifinal (2014), the 33-year-old scored his team’s goals in the 2-0 win over Sweden, which unfortunately for the Netherlands was not enough to take them to Russia.
Alexis Sanchez and Arturo Vidal: One of the biggest surprises came from South America, as Chile failed to qualify for the World Cup. Having won consecutive Copa Americas in 2015 and 2016, Chile were expected to secure qualification easily, but results have been far from expectations. The last round defeat to Brazil, 3-0, coupled with the results from Argentina’s match (3-1 victory for Albiceleste) and Peru’s draw to Colombia meant that Chile and its stars will be watching the World Cup on TV next summer.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang: Dortmund’s striker came very close to the first ever qualification of Gabon to a World Cup. However, his efforts were not enough, as his nation were knocked out of the third round of African Qualifiers.
Marek Hamsik: The Slovakians were hopeful until the end that they will make it to the playoffs, despite a very slow start of their qualifying campaign. Despite finishing their group second, their record in the qualifiers placed them last in the standings of second-placed teams, therefore missing the chance to advance to playoffs.
Edin Dzeko: Group H of the Qualifiers was dominated by Belgium, who had no problem in securing direct qualification. Greece and Bosnia & Herzegovina were left to fight for the second place and the Greeks ultimately secured the playoff presence, with two points above their rivals. Dzeko scored five goals for his country during the Qualifiers, but that was not enough to maintain World Cup dreams alive.
Christian Pulisic: USA’s surprising 2-1 defeat to Trinidad & Tobago killed the American’s hopes of a World Cup presence. Christian Pulisic was hoping to take part in hist first World Cup next summer. The 19-year-old put in some great performances recently for his nation, being even named man of the match in the victory over Panama. Dortmund’s attacker was the top scorer of his team and will probably become the focal point of the rebuilding process for the US national team.
Riyad Mahrez: Algeria had a nightmare qualification campaign. Leicester’s star man was not able to help his nation avoid the last place in Group B of African Qualifiers, from where Nigeria, Zambia and Cameroon secured qualification.