Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale, Michail Antonio, Luis Suarez and Robert Lewandowski among star names who could miss 2022 World Cup in Qatar while Erling Haaland and Wilfried Zaha already eliminated

Italy have become the latest nation forced to settle for a place in the World Cup play-offs after a 0-0 draw at Northern Ireland.

The Azzurri needed a win to have a chance of finishing above Switzerland in the automatic qualification spots but couldn’t find a breakthrough.

The World Cup in Qatar could be missing some of football’s biggest names

The Euro 2020 winners now run the risk of failing to qualify for a second successive World Cup after previously not missing one since 1958.

England had no such problems sealing their place in Qatar with a 10-0 win over San Marino in a game where the Three Lions only needed a point.

But Gareth Southgate’s men might not have to worry about facing some of the world’s biggest superstars next year – takes a look…

Which players could miss out on a place at Qatar 2022?

Cristiano Ronaldo

Serbia consigned Ronaldo and his Portugal teammates to a World Cup play-off spot following a 2-1 victory on Sunday.

The Manchester United star’s side only needed a draw to qualify for Qatar but were undone by Aleksandar Mitrovic’s late strike.

Ronaldo, 36, may now miss out on his last ever World Cup as a player should Portugal fail to emerge from their play-off ties.

Fellow Premier League players Bruno Fernandes, Bernardo Silva, Ruben Dias, Diogo Jota, Ruben Neves, Nelson Semedo and Joao Cancelo are all at risk of missing out as well.

The Man United striker was largely non-existent
Ronaldo’s last ever World Cup appearance may not end up being in Qatar

Erling Haaland

The striker is considered one of the brightest young talents in football but will have to wait for the chance to showcase his talents on the world stage.

Norway, who have not qualified for a major international competition since Euro 2000, finished third in Group G behind the Netherlands and Turkey.

Stale Solbakken’s side faced the Dutch on Tuesday knowing a win would at least guarantee them a play-off spot with a draw also enough if Turkey lose.

Yet Norway – who were without Borussia Dortmund star Haaland due to injury – fell to a 2-0 defeat and will now miss out on next year’s tournament.


Haaland and Arsenal’s Martin Odegaard will not be at the World Cup[/caption]

Luis Suarez

The Atletico Madrid ace is one of the biggest villains in World Cup history -from his handball against Ghana in 2010 to biting Giorgio Chiellini in 2014.

Yet there’s a chance Qatar won’t experience Suarez’s antics with Uruguay currently seventh in the South American section of qualifying.

Brazil and Argentina have already qualified while the following two teams will also secure passage to the World Cup.

The fifth placed team will go into an international play-off and but Uruguay are trailing Peru by a point in the race for that last coveted spot after four successive defeats.

Uruguay still have four fixtures remaining to turn around their current form or Suarez and Edinson Cavani could miss out on one last World Cup outing.

Luis Suarez infamously bit Giorgio Chiellini at the 2014 World Cup

Robert Lewandowski

England’s win over San Marino sealed their spot in Qatar – not that it would have mattered after runners-up Poland fell to a 2-1 home defeat to Hungary.

Paulo Sousa’s men now enter the European play-offs and the fate of captain and all-time top goal scorer Lewandowski remains in the balance.

The 33-year-old has only ever competed at the World Cup once back in 2018 – in which he failed to find the net and Poland finished bottom of their group.

Lewandowski will be desperate for redemption in Qatar but he might join Wojciech Szczesny, Matty Cash and Mateusz Klich in staying at home.

Lewandowski will be hoping to lead the line for Poland in Qatar


The Chelsea star squandered the chance to put Italy on the brink of World Cup qualification after missing a late penalty in a 1-1 draw against Switzerland.

The Euro 2016 winners were then left to rue the missed opportunity as a 0-0 draw against Northern Ireland allowed the Swiss to leapfrog them in the table.

Italy now run the risk of failing to qualify for a second successive World Cup and Jorginho is among the stars who could be made to pay.

Gianluigi Donnarumma, Leonardo Bonucci, Chiellini, Nicolo Barella, Federico Chiesa, Lorenzo Insigne and Ciro Immobile could all be left out.

Jorginho had another high profile miss for Italy in a crucial tie against Switzerland
Jorginho had another high profile miss for Italy against Switzerland

Gareth Bale

Wales have already been assured of their place in the World Cup playoffs after their performances in the Nations League.

Group E winners Belgium are the only guarantee to be in Qatar next year but the Dragons’ secured a home draw after finishing second.

For all Bale’s heroics at European Championships, Wales have only ever qualified for one World Cup back in 1958 and the winger will be desperate to change that.

Should the Real Madrid star fail, the likes of Aaron Ramsey, Dan James and Ben Davies will be among the players disappointed.

Bale has reached a century of appearances for Wales

Andrew Robertson

Nathan Patterson’s first international goal for Scotland to set them on their way to a 2-0 win against Moldova and earn a playoff place in the process.

The Tartan Army then made the road to Qatar a little easier by securing a home semi-final with a historic 2-0 win over Denmark on Monday.

And Steve Clarke’s side will need to replicate recent performances in the playoffs or Liverpool defender Robertson could miss out on a World Cup appearance.

Scotland haven’t featured in football’s biggest competition since 1998 and Premier League stars Kieran Tierney, Billy Gilmour, Scott McTominay, John McGinn and Che Adams will be desperate to end that streak.

Robertson was excellent against Denmark

Zlatan Ibrahimovic

The veteran striker was caught hitting Cesar Azpilicueta with a reckless shoulder charge in Sweden’s World Cup qualifier defeat to Spain.

Ibrahimovic was booked off camera following the clash, which means he is suspended for Sweden’s crucial World Cup play-off.

The AC Milan star, 40, will now be relying on the likes of Alexander Isak, Victor Lindelof and Dejan Kulusevski to seal his last ever World Cup outing.

Ibra, who only returned to the international fold this year after a five-year absence, has not featured in the competition since Germany 2006.

Ibra is known for being flamboyant and outspoken and would be a great miss at the World Cup

Michail Antonio

The West Ham striker only made his debut for Jamaica in September but it might be too late to help them reach the World Cup.

Antonio scored on his second international appearance in a 1-1 draw against El Salvador before bagging a screamer in a 1-1 draw against the USA.

Successive draws has left the Reggae Boyz sixth in North American qualifying.

The top three teams secure spots directly and Jamaica are seven points behind four-placed Panama who would enter an intercontinental playoff in June.

Theodore Whitmore’s men have only ever qualified for the World Cup once but still have a chance to be in Qatar with the likes of Antonio, Leon Bailey, Kemar Roofe and Ravel Morrison in their ranks.

Antonio joined former Man United starlet Morrison in making his international bow for Jamaica

Wilfried Zaha

The Crystal Palace star was recently forced to deny reports he was considering his international future after he was left out of Ivory Coast’s squad this month.

Zaha has scored five goals in 21 appearances for the Elephants since he switched his international allegiance from England in 2017.

But the 28-year-old’s absence was felt as Ivory Coast fell to a 1-0 defeat to Cameroon and will now miss out on the World Cup next year.

The Ivorians’ defeat spells the end for Zaha, Nicolas Pepe, Sebastien Haller, Franck Kessie, Eric Bailly, Maxwel Cornet and Serge Aurier.

Zaha switched to play for Ivory Coast in 2017 and has made 21 appearances
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