World Cup Missing XI: Haaland, Salah and the stars who will be watching Qatar 2022 on TV

Erling Haaland Norway Greece 2021
GOAL has put together a stellar line-up made up solely of players from countries that failed to qualify for this year's finals

Qualification is not yet complete for the 2022 World Cup, with three spots still up for grabs, but we already know that some of the game's greatest players won't be travelling to Qatar.

Indeed, GOAL has been able to put together a stellar line-up comprised solely of superstars who will be sitting at home when the tournament gets under way later this year.

You can check out our adventurous 3-4-3 formation below and feel free to post your own selections in the comment box provided....

  1. GK: Gianluigi Donnarumma

    GK: Gianluigi Donnarumma

    It's a real shame that we won't get to see Slovakia and Atletico Madrid ace Jan Oblak at the finals but the absence of Gianluigi Donnarumma is even more shocking.

    After all, the giant goalkeeper was named player of the tournament at Euro 2020, after playing a key role in Italy's surprise triumph.

    Donnarumma, though, was powerless to prevent the Azzurri from sensationally failing to qualify for Qatar, with Roberto Mancini's side upset by North Macedonia in the play-offs.

    The Paris Saint-Germain shot-stopper is still only 23 and should get plenty more chances to grace a World Cup but elimination was the last thing he needed right now, given his poor form and ongoing struggle too establish himself at the Parc des Princes this season.

  2. CB: Milan Skriniar

    CB: Milan Skriniar

    Slovakia may have finished third in their UEFA qualifying group but they didn't really come close to securing even a play-off berth.

    It's a shame for Milan Skriniar, who played every minute of his nation's unsuccessful campaign.

    The much-coveted Inter defender is widely regarded as one of the finest centre-backs in the game today but the 27-year-old may never get the chance to compete in a World Cup.

  3. CB: Giorgio Chiellini

    CB: Giorgio Chiellini

    Giorgio Chiellini was almost at a loss for words after Italy's shock 1-0 loss to North Macedonia, admitting he was "crushed" by his nation's failure to qualify for a second consecutive World Cup.

    It's easy to understand why. The veteran centre-back will turn 38 later this year. Chiellini may have played a pivotal role in Italy's emotional Euro 2020 victory but he will never get another chance to take to the game's greatest stage.

    That's good news for forwards all over the world, of course, but a blow for neutrals, who felt one of the great defenders of the modern era deserved to bring the curtain down on his international career at World Cup 2022.

  4. CB: David Alaba

    CB: David Alaba

    We could have put David Alaba in several positions in this team. The Real Madrid ace is that versatile. And he's that good.

    It was tough, then, to see Austria beaten in the UEFA play-offs by Wales, as there is now a very real prospect that Alaba will never play in a World Cup.

    At 29, he should definitely have one more crack at qualification, but it's worth pointing out that Austria haven't made it to a finals since 1998.

  5. RW: Riyad Mahrez

    RW: Riyad Mahrez

    Manchester City's Riyad Mahrez top-scored for Algeria with five goals as they reached the CAF play-offs by pipping Burkina Faso to top spot in Group A.

    However, after a 1-0 win in Cameroon, the north Africans were then sensationally upset in the second leg, losing 2-1 in Blida to miss out on World Cup qualification on the away-goals rule.

    With Mahrez now 31, Algeria's captain may never get the opportunity to add to the 72 minutes of World Cup game time he saw at Brazil 2014.

  6. CM: Marco Verratti

    CM: Marco Verratti

    A lot of people would argue with some justification that Marco Verratti is the best central midfielder in the world.

    Exhibit A would be his recent performance for Paris Saint-Germain against Real Madrid at the Parc des Princes, when he almost single-handedly dominated Casemiro, Toni Kroos and Luka Modric.

    Verratti was also magnificent at Euro 2020, after recovering from injury to reclaim his starting spot in the Italy team. However, neither he nor the Azzurri will be going to Qatar.

    Verratti was arguably the one Italy player who turned up in the play-off loss to North Macedonia, but that won't take the edge off the fact that the injury-prone 29-year-old's international career is likely to end with him having only played 132 minutes of World Cup football, at Brazil 2014.

  7. CM: Franck Kessie

    CM: Franck Kessie

    Franck Kessie will be playing for Barcelona next season but he won't be lining out for Ivory Coast in the 2022 World Cup.

    The Elephants were denied a place in the CAF play-offs after being beaten 1-0 by Cameroon in the final group-stage fixture.

    That means no trip to Qatar for the likes of Jeremie Boga, Nicolas Pepe, Sebastien Haller and Wilfried Zaha.

    Kessie, though, was arguably best equipped to make his presence felt on the international stage but at least he will be able to focus solely now on proving himself capable of breaking into Barca's midfield.

  8. LW: Luis Diaz

    LW: Luis Diaz

    Liverpool fans have quickly realised why Jurgen Klopp & Co. were sparked into action by Tottenham's interest in Luis Diaz: the Colombia international is a truly special talent, one who has needed no time at all to settle at Anfield.

    Unfortunately, though, we won't get to see the industrious and skilful winger in action in Qatar.

    Diaz, who lit up last year's Copa America, did his best to secure a play-off place for Colombia but they ultimately paid the price for a 1-0 loss at home to Peru earlier this year which led to them finishing sixth in the CONMEBOL standings.

  9. FW: Mohamed Salah

    FW: Mohamed Salah

    What a devastating few months it's been for Mohamed Salah!

    First, the free-scoring Liverpool forward didn't even get to take a penalty as Egypt lost a shootout to Senegal in the Africa Cup of Nations final.

    Then, he blazed his spot-kick over the bar in his nation's World Cup play-off loss to the same side.

    It's, therefore, unsurprising that a clearly heartbroken Salah, who was far from impressed with how his country's 2018 World Cup campaign in Russia was handled, is now reportedly considering retiring from international football.

  10. FW: Erling Haaland

    FW: Erling Haaland

    It just does not feel right that Erling Haaland, the game's newest goalscoring phenomenon, will not be present in Qatar.

    The prolific Borussia Dortmund centre-forward has netted eight times in his last five appearances at international level, including five goals in three World Cup qualifiers.

    That wasn't enough, though, to carry Norway to Qatar, with the Scandinavians finishing third in their UEFA group, three points off a play-off place.

    The 21-year-old's time will surely come but it's still frustrating that the striking sensation won't have the chance to tear it up at this year's World Cup.

  11. FW: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang

    FW: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang

    Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has reminded everyone of his top-class quality by making a sensational start to his Barcelona career, with nine goals in his first 11 appearances in all competitions for the Catalans.

    However, the forward's hopes of appearing in a World Cup at least once in his career now appear to be well and truly over.

    The 32-year-old scored twice during the CAF group stage but Gabon finished a distant second to Egypt, who progressed to the play-offs with the minimum of fuss.

    Aubameyang, then, is going to have to just content himself with belatedly getting his chance to shine in Spain with Barca.