The hype for the 2022 FIFA World Cup has been building for a while now. And after the final round of draws for groups in the tournament were concluded in Doha on Friday, we’re now one step closer to the finals. The group stage has some interesting games to look forward to including a clash between Lionel Messi’s Argentina and Robert Lewandowski’s Poland. In what could be fan’s delight, however, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo could face off in the final if their respective sides top their groups. We are keeping our fingers crossed.

However, some notable names will be watching the action from the sidelines like the rest of us. Today we’re taking a look at football’s biggest stars, who sadly didn’t make the cut for Qatar. 

9) Wilfried Zaha (Ivory Coast)

Wilfried Zaha (Ivory Coast)

Despite being instrumental for Crystal Palace for many years now, Zaha failed to replicate his form for his national team. The Ivorian will be one of many famous names, including fellow countryman, Franck Kessie, to miss out on the upcoming competition. The pair suffered a defeat against Cameroon prompting their disqualification.

8) Jan Oblak (Slovenia)

Jan Oblak (Slovenia)

Regarded by many as the best goalkeeper in the world, the Slovenian will be missing from action this November. The country which last reached the competition back in 2010, missed out on the ticket to Qatar by finishing fourth in its qualifying group.

7) Riyad Mahrez (Algeria)

Riyad Mahrez (Algeria)

One can imagine the Manchester City star’s disappointment when Algeria let in a goal in the fourth minute of stoppage time against Cameroon. The former African player of the year failed to propel his team into qualification, after a rather disappointing display. 

6) Marco Verratti, Gianluigi Donnarumma, Federico Chiesa (Italy)

 Marco Verratti, Gianluigi Donnarumma, Federico Chiesa (Italy)

Arguably, the biggest disappointment of this season has to be the Azzurri’s exit from the international competition for a second time in a row. Football fans all over the world were disappointed when a team consisting of Verratti, Donnarumma, and Chiesa who were instrumental in Itlay’s Euro run a year earlier failed to make its mark against North Macedonia. 

5) David Alaba (Austria)

David Alaba (Austria)

It’s going to be one long awkward training session when Alaba returns to the Real Madrid camp after the international break. The Austrian saw his chances of representing his country in Qatar fade, as Gareth Bale-inspired Wales defeated them in a 2-1 outing. 

4) Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Gabon)

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Gabon)

While Aubameyang might be letting the goalpost on fire at Camp Nou, he will be one of the many high-profile names missing from the competition. Despite scoring two crucial goals, Gabon failed to qualify for a spot, thanks to Mo Salah’s Egypt. 

3) Zlatan Ibrahimovich (Sweden)

Zlatan Ibrahimovich (Sweden)

Earlier reports suggested that the legendary striker was considering international retirement for a while. However, he laid the speculations to rest and pushed for a selection for Sweden. Sadly though, even Zlatan couldn’t overturn the two-goal deficit inflicted by Poland.  

2) Mohamed Salah (Egypt)

Mohamed Salah (Egypt)

It seems like Mo Salah’s effort of squeezing out Gabon and Aubameyang might’ve gone in vain. In a repeat of the AFCON 2022 final, the Egyptian missed from the spot during a penalty shootout against Senegal, after being blighted by fans with laser pointers.

1) Erling Haaland (Norway)

Erling Haaland (Norway)

Despite putting a 10/10 performance in Bundesliga every weekend, one of arguably the two most sought-after players in Europe will be missing from the biggest competition in football. Despite scoring a whopping five goals in qualifying, Norway failed to register for the competition, being edged out by Turkey who claimed second place behind the Netherlands.