The formidable XI of players who failed to qualify for the World Cup - including Liverpool and Man City stars

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The 2022 FIFA World Cup kicks off this week, but some of the game’s superstars failed to qualify for Qatar.

Lionel Messi, Kylian Mbappe, Neymar, Cristiano Ronaldo and more!

Some of world football’s greatest names are currently making their way to Qatar as the first ever Winter World Cup Finals prepares to get underway. Over the next six weeks we will witness history in the making as the likes of Brazil, Argentina, France, Spain, and (ahem!) England commence respective their bids to become world champions in what is unquestionably one of the most controversial tournaments in history.

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But there are a whole host of world football’s biggest names that will watch on from afar after they failed to help their countries qualify and secure a place in Qatar. 3AddedMinutes selects a team made up of players that will be reduced to television viewers over the next month.

Goalkeeper: Jan Oblak (Slovenia)

Not the only world class goalkeeper missing the tournament after Italy’s failure to qualify meant Gianluigi Donnarumma will watch on from afar, perhaps gloomily sipping a dry martini at the bar of a classy Parisian establishment. But there is no doubt Oblak has proven himself to be one of the best goalkeepers of the modern era with a consistently high level of performance with La Liga club Atletico Madrid.

Full-back: Leonardo Spinazzola (Italy)

One of Italy's star players at Euro 2020 before an Achilles tendon injury in the quarter-finals left him sidelined for nine months. Spinazzola returned to action at the end of the last campaign and even earned a recall to his national team squad for their recent Nations League matches.One of Italy's star players at Euro 2020 before an Achilles tendon injury in the quarter-finals left him sidelined for nine months. Spinazzola returned to action at the end of the last campaign and even earned a recall to his national team squad for their recent Nations League matches.
One of Italy's star players at Euro 2020 before an Achilles tendon injury in the quarter-finals left him sidelined for nine months. Spinazzola returned to action at the end of the last campaign and even earned a recall to his national team squad for their recent Nations League matches.

The marauding full-back had become a key player in the Italy setup after shining in Serie A with Roma. With 21 caps to his name, Spinazzola should have been looking forward to shining on the world stage this winter - but Italy’s failure to qualify has left him kicking his heels.

Full-back: Andrew Robertson (Scotland)

Provided two assists in Liverpool's 3-1 win over Southampton as Jurgen Klopp's men headed into the extended international break in sixth place.Provided two assists in Liverpool's 3-1 win over Southampton as Jurgen Klopp's men headed into the extended international break in sixth place.
Provided two assists in Liverpool's 3-1 win over Southampton as Jurgen Klopp's men headed into the extended international break in sixth place.

Robertson has been arguably the most consistent full-back in the Premier League over the last five years and had enjoyed Premier League and Champions League success with Liverpool. However, Scotland’s play-off defeat against Ukraine means the former Hull City man will spend November and December awaiting a return to Premier League action.

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Centre-back: Giorgio Chiellini (Italy)

Italy's Giorgio Chiellini, 2nd left, talks to Spain's Jordi Alba, left, before the penalty shootout of the Euro 2020 semi-final. (Andy Rain/Pool via AP)Italy's Giorgio Chiellini, 2nd left, talks to Spain's Jordi Alba, left, before the penalty shootout of the Euro 2020 semi-final. (Andy Rain/Pool via AP)
Italy's Giorgio Chiellini, 2nd left, talks to Spain's Jordi Alba, left, before the penalty shootout of the Euro 2020 semi-final. (Andy Rain/Pool via AP)

Any World Cup side needs a rugged, veteran defender sculpted from pure alabaster and Chiellini fits the mould perfectly! He has been integral to the Italians for almost two decades now and it’s a shame he can’t bring down the curtain on his career by representing his side in Qatar.

Centre-back: David Alaba (Austria)

David Alaba and Casemiro are doubts for Tuesday’s game. Credit: Getty.David Alaba and Casemiro are doubts for Tuesday’s game. Credit: Getty.
David Alaba and Casemiro are doubts for Tuesday’s game. Credit: Getty.

The Real Madrid star will miss out on making a first ever appearances at the finals after Austria finished behind Denmark, Scotland and Israel in their qualifying group. That means Austria have not appeared at a finals since 1998 when they took just two points from a group containing Chile, Cameroon and Italy.

Midfield: Nicolo Barella (Italy)

Barella has been linked with LiverpoolBarella has been linked with Liverpool
Barella has been linked with Liverpool

Naturally there was always going to be a large smattering of Italian players in this side after their shock play-off defeat against North Macedonia. Barella will be a miss at the tournament after establishing himself as one of Serie A’s most consistent midfielders, appearing in the league’s team of the year during the last four seasons.

Midfield: Marco Verratti (Italy)

Paris Saint-Germain’s Italian midfielder Marco Verratti (R) fights for the ball with Reims’ French forward Hugo Ekitike (L) during the French L1 football match between Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) and Reims at the Parc des Princes stadium in Paris on January 23, 2022. Paris Saint-Germain’s Italian midfielder Marco Verratti (R) fights for the ball with Reims’ French forward Hugo Ekitike (L) during the French L1 football match between Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) and Reims at the Parc des Princes stadium in Paris on January 23, 2022.
Paris Saint-Germain’s Italian midfielder Marco Verratti (R) fights for the ball with Reims’ French forward Hugo Ekitike (L) during the French L1 football match between Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) and Reims at the Parc des Princes stadium in Paris on January 23, 2022.

Qualifying for the World Cup Finals would have meant Verratti reaching the 50-cap landmark in Qatar and earned him fine reward for the remarkable consistency he has shown with Paris Saint-Germain and Italy. But his full focus with go into helping PSG maintain their domestic domination and finally land a Champions League title.

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Midfield: Martin Odegaard (Norway)

Arsenal's Martin Odegaard celebrates at the end of the Premier League victory over Nottingham Forest (Picture: PA)Arsenal's Martin Odegaard celebrates at the end of the Premier League victory over Nottingham Forest (Picture: PA)
Arsenal's Martin Odegaard celebrates at the end of the Premier League victory over Nottingham Forest (Picture: PA)

The Arsenal midfielder has been in stunning form this season as the Gunners ended the first part of a unique campaign sat on top of the Premier League table. Odegaard has been integral for Mikel Arteta’s men, so maybe the Gunners boss will not have been too disappointed in seeing Norway miss out on a place at the finals.

Forward: Riyad Mahrez (Algeria)

Mahrez suffered penalty shoot-out heartache when Algeria were beaten by Cameroon in the third and final round of CAF qualifying. The Manchester City forward remains a key player for his country but at the age of 35, you wonder if his chance to appear in only his second finals.

Forward: Erling Haaland (Norway)

Erling Haaland is a doubt for the Premier League meeting between Manchester City and Brentford. Credit: Getty.Erling Haaland is a doubt for the Premier League meeting between Manchester City and Brentford. Credit: Getty.
Erling Haaland is a doubt for the Premier League meeting between Manchester City and Brentford. Credit: Getty.

Pep Guardiola could be forgiven for breathing a huge sigh of relief when Norway finish in third place in their qualifying group, with Netherlands topping the group and Turkey securing a play-off place before losing to Portugal. Their poor group stage performance means the Manchester City striker will be afforded a rest after a remarkable start to his first season in the Premier League.

Forward: Mo Salah (Egypt)

Mohamed Salah of Liverpool celebrates after scoring their team's first goal during the UEFA Champions League group A match between Liverpool FC and SSC Napoli at Anfield on November 01, 2022 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)Mohamed Salah of Liverpool celebrates after scoring their team's first goal during the UEFA Champions League group A match between Liverpool FC and SSC Napoli at Anfield on November 01, 2022 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
Mohamed Salah of Liverpool celebrates after scoring their team's first goal during the UEFA Champions League group A match between Liverpool FC and SSC Napoli at Anfield on November 01, 2022 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

The Liverpool star finally got to appear in a World Cup Finals in Russia four years ago - but a penalty shoot-out loss against Senegal prevented him from making a second appearance. His focus will now go on helping Liverpool improve after a below-par start to the season.

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