The FIFA World Cup is not only a big celebration, but also a bit of regret that we will not see a number of leading players at this event of the year. Who exactly we lost - read in our material.
Luis Diaz (Colombia)
One of the brightest dribblers of our time was also great at Porto, but the left winger managed to make himself known to the whole world only this winter, after moving to Liverpool. Already, Scousers fans are putting Diaz above Mane and Salah in terms of natural talent. The case is small - the Colombian diamond has to go through an additional cut in the hands of one of the best football "cutters" of our time, Jurgen Klopp. In the meantime, we have to admit: in the qualifying round for the 2022 World Cup, Colombia really lacked the effective actions of Luis Diaz - with three goals on his record, he did not even manage to become the top scorer of his team. The Colombians were also ruined by excessive peacefulness: every third match with their participation ended in a draw - the highest figure among all participants.
Victor Osimhen (Nigeria)
Two years ago, the impressive center forward became a real discovery of the French championship that ended prematurely due to covid. Then, as part of Lille, Osimhen scored 13 goals in 27 matches and so impressed with his game that he was very soon sold for a fabulous 70 million euros to Napoli. While the Nigerian fails to fully live up to expectations, the player is prone to injury, which is why he scores half as many top scorers in Serie A. However, Victor is very young, and they still see the potential of one of the best goalscorers of our time in him. Led by Osimhen, Nigeria won their sub-group in the African qualifier and never lost to Ghana in the final. Alas, everything was decided by the away goal rule, already outdated on many continents. In the second leg, Victor Osimhen could get a ticket to Qatar for his country, but his ball,
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Gabon)
Few fans, even of the clubs in which Pierre-Emerick played, were aware of which team their star player played for. This is not surprising, because one of the most dangerous forwards in the world is modest, even by African standards, Gabon. So this time, the best newcomer of the winter transfer window as part of Barcelona did not manage to work a miracle. His team lagged behind the winner of the quartet - the Egyptian team - by 7 points, while Aubameyang himself scored a modest 2 goals in 6 matches. And yet, it is worth noting the relative progress of his native team - for the first time since 2010, Gabon completed the qualifying stage for the World Cup in a place higher than third in its group.
Sebastian Aller (Ivory Coast)
The 27-year-old, who has never before claimed the status of a star, is having a historic season. Now Aller is leading the scorers list of the Dutch championship with a giant margin - 20 goals in 24 matches. But the quintessence of the Ivorian's magical season was his performance in the group stage of the Champions League, where he scored at least one goal in each (!) of Ajax's six matches. Poker in a duel with Sporting helped Aller become the first football player in history to score 5 goals in the first two rounds. But the striker failed to bring the native Ivory Coast to the desired result. In the decisive match for the championship in the qualifying quartet, his team lost dry to the Cameroonians.
Erling Haaland (Norway)
Around the gifted striker from Norway, the excitement is not the same as a year ago. Erling is still easily among the top three scorers in the Bundesliga, having conceded more than a third of the season's games: 16 goals in 17 games - a phenomenal result. Alas, in recent years, many questions have been raised about his health. Haaland's injuries have become too regular. Even a young body does not always withstand all this inhuman agility that the player is endowed with. As part of the national team, Haaland played below his capabilities. He scored more than half of all the goals in one match - against the unfortunate Gibraltar. However, here, too, the traumatism of the attacker became the decisive factor: the final 4 games of the selection for the World Cup in Qatar were forced to be played by the Viking homeland team without their main talent. It was on this segment that she lost all her advantage over competitors.
Riyad Mahrez (Algeria)
A couple of months ago, the Algerians suffered a real disaster at the African Cup, then the "Desert Foxes" managed not to even get into the top 16 (!) of the best teams on the continent. The selection for the World Cup, Mahrez and Co., was not an example better: at the group stage, the Algerian national team scored 25 goals (the closest pursuer has only 13 in this indicator), and Riyad himself entered the top three scorers with five goals. Alas, in the decisive junction for a ticket to the World Cup, the Algerians became the authors of, perhaps, the most disappointing “flight”. Having defeated Cameroon on the road in the first match, in the second leg, VAR canceled two goals of the Algerian national team at once. The game went into extra time, and Marez's team conceded the decisive goal in the 124th (!) minute.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Sweden)
The 40-year-old lion, as Ibrahimovic sometimes calls himself, does not even want to think about ending his career. And this is not surprising: should the top scorer of the leader of Serie A think about imminent retirement? In addition, the championship in which Zlatan is now playing has always been considered a tournament of football "long-livers". But in the national team of the great Swede, things are not so smooth. During Ibra's regular absences, for various reasons, Tre Krunur learned to demonstrate effective football even without it. In the recent two joints of the Swedish national team for a ticket to Qatar, the Milan striker spent a total of only 10 minutes on the field. And these were moments of despair - his compatriots were almost hopelessly inferior to Poland by that time with a score of 0:2.
Patrick Schick (Czech Republic)
At the recently held Euro, this stately Czech was remembered not only for his magnificent goal against the Scottish national team, scored from the center of the field. With 5 goals in 5 matches, Schick has become one of the main discoveries of the entire tournament. Without delay, the center forward of the Czech national team brought his club career to a new level: in the current Bundesliga season, Patrick scored 20 goals in 21 matches and managed to outshine Erling Haaland himself! Unfortunately for the Czech's personal fans, he suffered a debilitating calf injury in February, after which both teams ended their international campaign in succession. First, Bayer flew out of the Europa League, and literally a week later the fate of Leverkusen was repeated by the Czech national team, bled dry by the loss of its main goalscorer, which lost to the Swedes in the selection for the World Cup.
Mohammed Salah (Egypt)
Unfortunately, few will know how dramatic the decisive fights of the African selection turned out to be. And they were worth it. Almost at the same time as Carl Toko-Ekambi snatched a ticket to the World Cup from the hands of Riyad Mahrez in the 124th minute of the match, a complete remake of the recent African Cup final took place in Senegal: Sadio Mane and Mohammed Salah again found out in the 11-meter series who would get everything , and to whom - nothing. Two months ago, the turn to take a penalty did not reach the "Egyptian king" - an accurate shot by Mane closed the series ahead of schedule. This time, Salah hit among the first, but the result for the Egyptians did not change from the rearrangement of the terms. Mohammed became one of the three "pharaohs" who did not realize their attempts. As a result, Sadio Mane with a decisive goal from the point for the second time in two months brought Egypt into a state of football mourning.
Jorginho and the entire Italian team
The year 2021 was literally saturated with glory for the Azzurra. First, Mancini's wards made a splash at the main tournament of the continent, having won the gold of the Euro. And after some time, thanks to a draw with the Swiss, Italy updated the European record for the number of matches without defeat. Then it seemed that this division of points with the “crusaders” and Jorginho's unscoring penalty would not lead to serious consequences. However, after 2 months, the history of the Italian-Swiss confrontation repeated itself down to the smallest detail. Up to the newly unrealized penalty Jorginho - and yet this goal would have given the Italians a direct ticket to Qatar! As a result, the reigning European champions finished the group stage in second place, got a difficult grid of play-offs, but they never survived to the decisive battle with Portugal, stumbling in North Macedonia.
Experts have repeatedly noted that in today's Italy there are uncharacteristically few real superstars, that the national team is stronger than ever with its training and collective actions. It is all the more ironic that the main anti-hero of the entire qualifying campaign for her was the player who took 3rd place in the final vote for the most prestigious individual trophy, the Ballon d'Or.
10 world football stars we will miss in Qatar
- Written by: sport