The majority of the world’s best teams have done their job and secured their place in FIFA’s World Cup, football’s most prestigious tournament (scheduled to take place later this year), with relative ease, but there are a few surprise omissions, as there are at every World Cup. Some teams/countries qualified, while others did not.
Today, we’ll look at how the qualification process works and name eight (8) countries that you’d bet on making the World Cup back when the qualifying campaign started.
According to Wikipedia, qualification was open to all FIFA member associations, of which there are currently 211. Qatar qualified for the tournament automatically as the hosts. The AFC, on the other hand, required Qatar to participate in the Asian qualifying stage because the first two rounds also served as qualification for the 2023 AFC Asian Cup.
Lebanon, the fifth-best second-place team, proceeded instead of Qatar, who reached the final stage as group champions. France, the reigning World Cup champion, went through the same qualifying procedures as everyone else.
Seven teams backed out. Saint Lucia initially qualified for CONCACAF, but later withdrew. North Korea also backed out of the AFC’s second qualifying round due to safety concerns related to the COVID-19 pandemic. American Samoa and Samoa also withdrew prior to the OFC qualifier draw, while Tonga withdrew following the 2022 Hunga Tonga–Hunga Ha’apai eruption and tsunami. Vanuatu and Cook Islands also withdrew from the OFC qualifiers in Doha due to COVID-19 outbreaks in their squads.
The FIFA Executive Committee met in Zürich on May 30, 2015, following the FIFA Congress, to discuss the allocation of slots to each confederation.
The committee decided to keep the same allocation used in 2006, 2010, and 2014 for the tournaments in 2018 and 2022.
Top Countries That Missed Out of World Cup 2022
In a joint statement with UEFA, FIFA initially banned Russia from international competition. The Russian Football Union filed an appeal with the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) upheld the ban for UEFA competitions, which meant Spartak Moscow was forced to withdraw from its Europa League Round of 16 match, paving the way for RB Leipzig to advance to the quarter-finals.
It also means that Russia’s women’s national team will be missing from this summer’s European Championships, which will be held in England. Portugal, the team they defeated in the playoffs to qualify, is expected to take their place.
The CAS issued a decision on March 18 that affected Russia’s participation in the World Cup playoffs.
Dániel Gazdag of the Philadelphia Union scored his second international goal for Hungary in a 4-0 win over San Marino in World Cup qualifying on Friday.
Despite the victory, Hungary was knocked out of qualifying for the 2022 World Cup due to other results. Hungary has one more qualifier against Poland on November 15. Poland has advanced to the second round of the playoffs after finishing first in their group, while England has entered the playoffs and is in position to directly qualify at the top of the group.
Hungary was already a goal up when Gazdag scored in the 22nd minute against San Marino.
Italy will have missed two World Cup finals in a row for the first time in history. North Macedonia sensationally knocked out Roberto Mancini’s team in the play-off stage, but the damage had already been done in the earlier rounds.
Italy finished second in their qualifying group, just two points behind Switzerland. They could have avoided the play-offs if things had gone a little differently. After a winning start, Italy went on to draw four of their ten qualifying matches, which were held by Bulgaria, Northern Ireland, and the Swiss twice. Despite not losing a single match, they finished second in Group C by taking four points out of a possible 12.
Italy is still ranked sixth in the FIFA world Men’s rankings and is the only team out of the top ten seeds that will not be traveling to Qatar.
Sweden initially refused to play and lost its play-off final match against Poland, resulting in its failure to qualify for a second consecutive World Cup after finishing in the quarterfinals in Russia in 2018. Zlatan Ibrahimovic, 40, of AC Milan, has most likely played his final World Cup finals match.
Sweden may not be one of Europe’s heavyweights, but their 17th-place finish in the FIFA World Rankings makes them the second-largest omission from the World Cup, a competition in which they have appeared in five of the last eight years.
Nigeria has failed to qualify for the World Cup for the second time; the first time was in 2006, when the Italian national team, popularly known as the Azzurri, won the tournament in Germany.
Nigeria failed to qualify for a seventh World Cup after a 1: 1 tie with its west African rival Ghana. In the 10th minute, Ghana took the lead through Arsenal’s Thomas Partey. Shortly after, Nigeria equalized when the video assistant referee (VAR) awarded a penalty in the 19th minute after Ademola Lookman was brought down by Dennis Odoi.
Cameroon earned a place on the away goals list with the final kick of the match against Algeria, deep into extra time, as Karl Toko Ekambi swept home a speculative cross to win the match 2-1.
Algeria, who had won the first leg 1-0 in Cameroon, were devastated by the defeat.
Colombia failed to qualify for the World Cup for the third time in a row, after finishing in the quarterfinals and round of 16 in the previous two editions.
Colombian stars like Luis Diaz, James Rodriguez, and Davinson Sanchez are among those whose World Cup memories will fade after the country narrowly missed out on qualification for Qatar by finishing sixth in the CONMEBOL table.
Chile, a surprise omission from South America, will miss their second consecutive World Cup after finishing fifth in qualifying by five points after winning only five of their 18 matches.
La Roja reached the tournament’s last 16 in both the 2014 and 2018 editions, displaying an exciting style of play and plenty of talent in previous squads, but failed to produce anything of the sort in Qatar.
Here’s a quick rundown of the top countries that did not qualify for the World Cup in 2022:
Please leave a comment below about a country omission that surprised you.