From Salah to Alaba – Five stars who will not be lighting up World Cup

From Salah To Alaba – Five Stars Who Will Not Be Lighting Up World Cup From Salah To Alaba – Five Stars Who Will Not Be Lighting Up World Cup
Mohamed Salah, Erling Haaland and David Alaba
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By PA Sport Staff

While the World Cup in Qatar later this year is sure to be a star-studded event, there will be some big names missing from the action.

Qualifying matches over the last few days have ended the hopes of a number of notable players, adding to some already confirmed as absentees.

Here, the PA news agency looks at five high-profile individuals who will not be part of the tournament that kicks off in November.

Mohamed Salah

Mohamed Salah failed to score his spot-kick as Egypt were beaten on penalties by Senegal in their World Cup play-off (Stefan Kleinowitz/AP).

It was a case of deja vu for Salah on Tuesday as Egypt were beaten on penalties in their play-off by Senegal, with his fellow Liverpool forward Sadio Mane scoring the decisive spot-kick – just had been the case in February’s Africa Cup of Nations final. Skipper Salah was among those unsuccessful from the spot as the Pharaohs failed to secure a second successive World Cup qualification.

Erling Haaland


The Manchester City-linked Borussia Dortmund striker, scorer of 15 goals in 17 international appearances, will not feature in Qatar after Norway finished third in their qualifying group. The team have not qualified for a World Cup or European Championships in his lifetime – Haaland was born a few days after the end of Euro 2000, their last major tournament.


Jorginho (right) after Italy’s loss to North Macedonia (Antonio Calanni/AP).

Having been on a high last summer when they won the Euros, Jorginho – who came third in the 2021 Ballon d’Or voting – and his Italy team-mates suffered a huge shock on Thursday as they were beaten 1-0 at home by North Macedonia in their qualifying play-off semi-final. With the Azzurri having also missed out on the 2018 edition, the 30-year-old Chelsea midfielder’s wait for a World Cup appearance goes on.

David Alaba

Real Madrid defender Alaba is another player yet to feature in a World Cup, something that will not change this year after Austria lost 2-1 away to Wales in their play-off semi-final, courtesy of his club-mate Gareth Bale’s brace. The team last played at a World Cup in 1998.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic

Sweden’s Zlatan Ibrahimovic has played at three World Cups (John Walton/PA).

It appears Ibrahimovic, Sweden’s record scorer, has had his final World Cup appearance, with the team losing 2-0 to Poland in their play-off on Tuesday. The 40-year-old AC Milan striker featured at three editions – 2002, 2006 and 2018.

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