The 2022 FIFA World Cup will commence in the fourth week of November in Qatar. The World Cup is inarguably football's showpiece event and 32 of the best national teams will battle it out for the beautiful game's biggest prize.
The 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers took place over the past three years. While most of the big sides have made it to the finals, there are quite a few top teams that have failed to qualify for the World Cup.
They will be missed at the tournament as football fans would ideally like to see all of their favorite players on the biggest stage of all. Without further ado, let's take a look at five of the highest ranked teams that have not qualified for the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
#5 Ukraine - FIFA Ranking 27
Ukraine are going through a very difficult time following Russia's invasion of the country in 2022. But their national team still came within touching distance of a ticket to Qatar for the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
They fell to Wales 1-0 in the European playoffs final. Ukraine had earlier secured a place in the World Cup Playoffs after finishing second behind France in their qualifying group.
It was an own goal by captain Andriy Yarmolenko that led to Ukraine's undoing in the final. As a result, Russia and Ukraine, neighbors embroiled in a war, won't be playing at the World Cup.
#4 Peru - FIFA Ranking 21
Peru incidentally had their World Cup dreams shattered in the host country of Qatar. After finishing fifth in the CONMEBOL World Cup Qualifiers, they qualified for the inter-confederation playoffs against Australia.
However, Peru fell to Australia 5-4 in the penalty shootout. Australia's substitute goalkeeper Andrew Redmayne saved Alex Valera's kick in sudden death. The Socceroos wheeled away in celebration as 10,000 odd Peruvian supporters were reduced to tears at the Ahmad bin Ali Stadium in Al-Rayyan, Qatar.
#3 Sweden - FIFA Ranking 20
Sweden enjoyed a run to the quarter-finals of the 2018 FIFA World Cup. However, they won't be a part of the 2022 edition after failing to qualify for the tournament. The Swedes finished second behind Spain in their qualifying group.
They faced the difficult task of putting one over on Poland to book a berth in Qatar. Robert Lewandowski and Piotr Zielenski found the back of the net for the Poles as they beat Sweden 2-0 to grab their tickets to the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
#2 Colombia - FIFA Ranking 17
Colombia fared well in the 2014 and 2018 editions of the World Cup, making it to the knockout stages on both occasion. However, after a thoroughly underwhelming qualifying campaign, they finished sixth in the CONMEBOL World Cup Qualifiers table.
Colombia's failure to even make the inter-confederation playoff spot for the fifth-placed team, is reflective of the lack of cohesion within the current team. They were just unable to win games.
Colombia finished sixth with 23 points from 18 matches. They won just five matches while drawing eight. As a result, we won't be seeing players like Luis Diaz, Juan Cuadrado and James Rodriguez at the World Cup.
#1 Italy - FIFA Ranking 7
Italy are the reigning champions of Europe. As such, it is a travesty that the star-studded Italian side have failed to qualify for the World Cup. The Azzurri had failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup as well.
Italy were forced into the playoffs after finishing second to Switzerland in their qualifying group. Italy did not even make the playoff final as they fell to North Macedonia in the penultimate game.
As a result, we won't be seeing players like Marco Verratti, Jorginho, Gianluigi Donnarumma, Lorenzo Insigne and Federico Chiesa, to name a few, at the World Cup.