5 Players we Wish Were Going to the World Cup

5 Players We Wish Were Going To The World Cup

Grace Crispin

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Erling Haaland - Norway

Erling Haaland has taken the Premier League by storm since his move to Manchester City this summer, but that’s where he’ll be staying while his clubmates jet off to Qatar for the World Cup.

Norway failed to qualify after finishing third in their UEFA qualifying group. Haaland’s team finished behind both the Netherlands and Turkey, three points adrift of the last qualification spot.

Despite Haaland being his usual prolific self during these qualifying games, scoring five times in the ten games, it wasn’t enough. However, these performances from Haaland in the qualifiers did take his tally for Norway up to 21 goals in 23 games.

The World Cup will be missing a special forward this winter, with Haaland showing his prowess in the Premier League. In just 13 games for City, the Norwegian has found the net 18 times and registered three assists - scoring a goal every 58 minutes.

Mohamed Salah - Egypt

Liverpool’s superstar Mohamed Salah will join his strike partner Roberto Firmino in staying in England this winter.

The qualifying process for the African teams in the World Cup is a somewhat unfair process. With only ten teams, sides are drawn from two pots and then face an opponent over a two-legged tie- with Egypt going on to draw AFCON winners Senegal.

Each team took a 1 - 0 win in each leg, with the second leg being forced to go to extra time, where the aggregate tie remained level. However, with the game moving to penalties, Salah was one of three Egypt players to miss their penalties, slumping to a 3 - 1 loss in the shootout.

Salah is a constant star in the Premier League, so will be missed in Qatar. Despite Liverpool’s issues domestically this season, Salah has scored six times and assisted three times in 14 games. The Egyptian’s 2018 World Cup was majorly affected by injury and he will be roughly 34 years old for the 2026 World Cup, but with his consistency, missing Qatar may not be as detrimental as feared.

Victor Osimhen - Nigeria

Nigeria were another victim of the odd qualifying format for African teams, meaning that the Super Eagles won’t be in Qatar this winter.

Nigeria were drawn against Ghana, and after a 0 - 0 draw in the first leg, the second leg, importantly the home tie for Nigeria, ended in a 1 - 1 draw. Because the goals in the tie came in the home tie for Nigeria, Ghana were able to progress to the World Cup based on away goals. This was even more disappointing for Super Eagles fans after a particularly poor AFCON showing, which saw Nigeria exit at the Round of 16 stage to a 1 - 0 loss to Tunisia.

A big casualty from Nigeria's failure to qualify is the absence of Victor Osimhen from the World Cup. The Nigerian has been tearing up the Serie A this season, the current top scorer in the league. Osimhen’s nine goals and two assists in 11 games have helped Napoli to the top of the league, eight points clear of AC Milan going into the World Cup.

Player Stats card - Osimhen

Nicolò Barella - Italy

One of the biggest shocks in recent times in football was Italy failing to qualify for the 2022 World Cup. Having won the 2020 (2021) Euros with a penalty shootout win over England in the Final, Italy were gearing up to be a big threat at Qatar, but it wasn’t meant to be.

After a 0 - 0 draw with Northern Ireland in the final match of the qualifiers, Italy only managed to finish second in Group C, behind Switzerland. This, therefore, meant that they would have to go through another qualifying round in order to go to Qatar, a seemingly easy tie against North Macedonia. However, a 92nd-minute goal from Aleksandar Travjkovski gave North Macedonia a 1 - 0 win and left Italy out of the hunt for the World Cup.

This means there are heaps of talented players we won’t be seen in Qatar, one of those being Inter Milan’s Nicolo Barella. The Italian has impressed so far this season for Inter, with five goals and six assists in 15 games from central midfield in the Serie A.

Nicolo Barella - Player Stats Card

Miguel Almiron - Paraguay

With Paraguay’s failure to qualify for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, their absence from the competition has reached 12 years, with their last (and best-ever) appearance coming in the 2010 World Cup.

Out of the ten teams competing for their place at the World Cup, Paraguay finished eighth, on 16 points, a staggering 29 points behind group winners Brazil.

This absence means we won’t be able to watch the rejuvenated Miguel Almiron on the world’s biggest stage. The Paraguayan has become a different player under Eddie Howe at Newcastle United, looking closer to his feared counterpart from Atlanta United. In 15 games in the Premier League, Almiron has been on the scoresheet eight times, assisting once, which is double his best-ever tally for a Premier League campaign - and we’re only in November.

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