5 biggest stars who could miss the 2022 FIFA World Cup

Cristiano Ronaldo and Luis Suarez
Cristiano Ronaldo and Luis Suarez
Shambhu Ajith

The final phase of the World Cup Qualifiers' group stage has been well stocked with surprises. Only 32 teams will make it to the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar. As a reminder of how high the stakes are when it comes to football's biggest spectacle, some of the biggest names in football might not even make it.

Different continents follow different qualifying formats for the 2022 FIFA World Cup

The World Cup will feature 13 teams from Europe, five from Africa, five from Asia (four + host nation Qatar), four from South America and three from North America. The last two spots will be filled by the winners of the intercontinental playoffs.

As things stand, there are several top footballing nations who are in danger of missing out on qualifying for the 2022 FIFA World Cup. On that note, let's go ahead and take a look at five of the biggest stars who could miss the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

#5 Erling Haaland (Norway)

Norway v Turkey - 2022 FIFA World Cup Qatar Qualifier
Norway v Turkey - 2022 FIFA World Cup Qatar Qualifier

Norway are currently third in Group G with one round of games remaining. They are tied on points with second-placed Turkey, who have a goal difference of +10 while Norway have +9.

However, Norway will have their work cut out trying to get a win over the Netherlands, whom they will face on Tuesday. Worse yet, Norway will be without their star man Erling Haaland, who is out with a hip injury and will not return any time soon.

Turkey, who are vying for a playoff berth, play Montenegro. It ought to be rather straightforward for the Turks to get a win in that game. Norway were never tipped to qualify straight from the group as the Netherlands were always the favorites to do that.

There could yet be a big twist in Group G. If Norway do end up winning the game and Turkey win theirs as well, then the Netherlands will crash out as they currently have only a one point lead over the chasing pack.

But if things go as predicted, Norway are set to crash out of the Qualifiers in the group stage itself and Haaland will be sorely missed at the 2022 FIFA World Cup. He is the most coveted striker in the world right now and is one of the most prolific strikers on the planet.

In the 2021-22 season, he has scored 13 goals and provided four assists in just 10 appearances for Borussia Dortmund.

Chances of Erling Haaland missing out on the World Cup have increased greatly thanks to Norway’s 0:0 draw at home against Latvia. Turkey will strongly fancy their own playoff prospects now.

#4 Luis Suarez (Uruguay)

Brazil v Uruguay - FIFA World Cup 2022 Qatar Qualifier
Brazil v Uruguay - FIFA World Cup 2022 Qatar Qualifier

It would be highly unfortunate if Luis Suarez fails to make it to the 2022 FIFA World Cup. The legendary striker is 34-years-old and this could very well be his last World Cup. But as things stand, things are looking rather bleak for Uruguay.

They have lost all of their last three matches and are currently sixth in the CONMEBOL 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers. They will need to climb above Ecuador and Chile who are fifth and fourth in the table respectively. All three sides are tied on points.

Uruguay are still in with a chance as all their matches against Brazil and Argentina are done while Chile and Colombia have a set of testing fixtures. If Uruguay don't end up qualifying, Suarez and his strike partner Edinson Cavani will be sorely missed at the quadrennial competition.

Uruguay currently sit in sixth place in CONMEBOL WCQ's with a -4 goal differential 😲Have we seen the last of Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani at World Cups?

#3 Bruno Fernandes (Portugal)

Portugal v Luxembourg - 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifier
Portugal v Luxembourg - 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifier

Bruno Fernandes is one of the best playmakers in the world. While he is not extremely neat in possession, Fernandes has a penchant for pulling off ridiculously effective passes. He is also as adept at goalscoring as he is at orchestrating play.

Fernandes has been one of the few bright spots for Manchester United in the 2021-22 season. However, he has failed to be as effective for the Portuguese national side. After suffering a defeat in their final group stage World Cup qualifier matchup against Serbia, Portugal are now headed to the playoffs.

Out of the 10 teams that go to the playoffs, only three will qualify. Fernando Santos' men have let their levels drop in recent months and are currently suffering due to it. Fernandes is one of the biggest names in world football right now and it'll be a pity for him to miss the World Cup during his prime years.

#2 Robert Lewandowski (Poland)

Poland v England: 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifier
Poland v England: 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifier

Robert Lewandowski is the most prolific striker on the planet right now. He has been scoring goals for fun for club and country. The Polish international has been tearing up the Bundesliga for several seasons and has done a commendable job leading his national team as well.

Poland look set to head for the playoffs as they sit second in Group I behind England. Only three points separate the two ahead of their respective final matches in the group stage. England are almost certain to win against minnows San Marino. The Three Lions already have a +6 goal difference over Poland.

The Poles will face Hungary, who have already lost their chance to qualify. As things stand, Lewandowski and co. are destined for the playoffs and it will take a miracle for them to qualify straight from the group.

Lewandowski is one of the frontrunners for the Ballon d'Or this term and has been in spectacular form for Bayern in the 2021-22 season so far. He has scored 23 goals and provided two assists in 17 appearances across all competitions for the Bavarians this campaign.

Another two goals for Robert Lewandowski.62 for club and country in 2021.Lightwork.

#1 Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal)

Portugal v Serbia - 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifier
Portugal v Serbia - 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifier

This could be a hard one to stomach for all football fans. Cristiano Ronaldo is one of the greatest footballers of all time and this is likely to be his final World Cup since he is 36-years-old now. Ronaldo was reduced to tears as Portugal lost their final game of the group stage against Serbia to be sent to the playoffs.

Aleksandr Mitrovic scored a 90th minute winner to help the Serbs top Group A. Ronaldo, who has regularly performed rescue acts with Manchester United this season, couldn't muster a stoppage time goal this time.

Portugal are still likely to qualify for the World Cup from the playoffs but they will need to stand their ground now. They have an incredible amount of quality but the team has struggled against strong opposition in recent times.

If Cristiano Ronaldo misses out on this World Cup, a lot of the sheen would have been taken out of the tournament before a ball is even kicked.

Just look at Cristiano Ronaldo 😩
Edited by Shambhu Ajith
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