France trio Paul Pogba, N’Golo Kante and Christopher Nkunku, Liverpool legends Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane and Manchester City star Erling Haaland – the best XI of players not in Qatar might easily win the World Cup

    A host of star-studded payers will be absent from the World Cup in Qatar with may fans gutted not to see their heroes in action.

    Whether it be due to injury or their country failing to qualify, some of the word’s best footballers won’t be gracing the turf in Qatar.

    The World Cup in Qatar kicks off in Sunday, but a number of star players won’t be there

    AFP

    The World Cup in Qatar kicks off in Sunday, but a number of star players won’t be there

    The likes of Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Kylian Mbappe will all be competing for the game’s biggest trophy in the Gulf nation.

    Argentina, Brazil and England and defending champions France are among the favourites to win the World Cup.

    But one country that stands no chance of winning is Italy, after they failed to qualify just a year after winning Euro 2020.

    Putting together a starting XI that could arguably win the World Cup made up those missing out in Qatar include, talkSPORT’s team has won 12 Champions League titles between them.

    Three France stars are included, along with three Liverpool legends and one English defender.

    Here’s how our line-up looks…

    Gianluigi Donnarumma – goalkeeper – Italy

    The Paris Saint-Germain shot-stopper starred in Italy’s Euro 2020 run where he saved two penalties in the shootout final win against England.

    He has featured in 22 games in all competitions, and would have went into the World Cup in fine form having kept ten clean sheets so far.

    But Roberto Mancini’s side failed to qualify for the global tournament to make it two World Cups in a row Italy have missed out on.

    Italy star Gianluigi Donanrumma is regarded as one of the world’s best goalkeepers

    Getty

    Italy star Gianluigi Donanrumma is regarded as one of the world’s best goalkeepers

    Reece James – right-back – England

    A huge blow for the Three Lions, James failed to be named in Gareth Southgate’s squad as a result of his knee injury.

    The Chelsea ace revealed how he felt devastated after being left out after failing to fit enough in time.

    Though he did hint on social media he feels aggrieved to have been omitted after liking a tweet about him missing out.

    England will be without first-choice right-back James at the World Cup

    Getty

    England will be without first-choice right-back James at the World Cup

    Sergio Ramos – centre-back – Spain

    Despite Spain qualifying for Qatar, boss Luis Enrique surprisingly decided against calling up Sergio Ramos.

    That is despite the 36-year-old being in great form for PSG having featured in 20 games this term – seven more than he managed last season.

    Ramos, who won the 2010 World Cup along with two European Championships, is Spain’s most capped player of all time with 180 appearances.

    Ramos has 180 caps for Spain but won’t be adding to them in Qatar

    Getty – Contributor

    Ramos has 180 caps for Spain but won’t be adding to them in Qatar

    David Alaba – centre-back – Austria

    One of the best defenders of his generation, Real Madrid ace Alaba has won ten Bundesliga titles, one LaLiga and three Champions Leagues.

    But he has never appeared at a World Cup, with Austria’s last appearance coming in 1998.

    His former Real teammate Gareth Bale dumped Austria out of qualifyingin the playoff semi-final after banging in a delightful double.

    Madrid defender Alaba has never appeared at a World Cup with Austria

    Getty

    Madrid defender Alaba has never appeared at a World Cup with Austria

    Andy Robertson – left-back – Scotland

    Just like Austria, Scotland crashed out of the play-off semi-final after losing to Ukraine in the summer.

    Recognised as one of the world’s best left-backs, the Liverpool defender is yet to play in a World Cup.

    Liverpool left-back Robertson couldn’t help Scotland qualify for the World Cup

    Liverpool left-back Robertson couldn’t help Scotland qualify for the World Cup

    Paul Pogba – centre midfield – France

    A knee injury has stopped the France star from helping Les Bleus defend their World Cup crown.

    Pogba is yet to feature this season since joining Juventus on a free transfer after running his contract down at Manchester United.

    The four-time Serie A champion suffered the blow in July after tearing his meniscus.

    Pogba is still recovering from a knee injury which has kept him out of the France squad

    Getty

    Pogba is still recovering from a knee injury which has kept him out of the France squad

    N’Golo Kante – centre midfield – France

    Just like Pogba, the Chelsea cult hero will play no part in Qatar due to a hamstring injury.

    The ex-Leicester man was forced to undergo surgery with the 31-year-old to be out of action until 2023.

    He hasn’t featured for the Blues since the dramatic 2-2 draw against Tottenham in August.

    A hamstring injury has kept Kante out of action since August

    AFP

    A hamstring injury has kept Kante out of action since August

    Christopher Nkunku – attacking midfield – France

    Completing the midfield is another France star, with Nkunku arguably the biggest blow due to his goal threat after picking up a recent knee injury.

    Able to also operate as a centre-forward, the 25-year-old has fired in 17 goals from just 23 matches this season.

    Despite his setback, it is believed that Chelsea remain on the verge of securing his services in 2023.

    Nkunku will not play at the World Cup after picking up a knee injury

    AFP

    Nkunku will not play at the World Cup after picking up a knee injury

    Mohamed Salah – right winger – Egypt

    The Liverpool maestro couldn’t help send his nation into back-to-back World Cups after missing his penalty in the shootout defeat to Mane in the play-off.

    Salah would have gone into the tournament in red hot form having chipped in with 14 goals and five assists this campaign.

    Salah won’t be playing at the World Cup after Egypt failed to qualify

    AFP

    Salah won’t be playing at the World Cup after Egypt failed to qualify

    Sadio Mane – left winger – Senegal

    Mane had sent Senegal to Qatar after his winning penalty knocked Egypt and ex-Liverpool teammate Salah out of the World Cup.

    But in a cruel twist of fate, the Bayern Munich forward will play no part after picking up an injury while on club duty.

    He was still selected for the squad, who were planning to use witch doctors in an attempt to cure him.

    After failing to shake off the knock, Senegal announced earlier in the week how he would miss the World Cup.

    Mane was instrumental in getting Senegal to Qatar but will play no part in the tournament

    AFP

    Mane was instrumental in getting Senegal to Qatar but will play no part in the tournament

    Erling Haaland – striker – Norway

    The Manchester City marksman is arguably the highest-profile player to not be at the World Cup after Norway failed to qualify.

    Haaland has been Europe’s standout footballer this season where he is currently leading the European Golden Shoe race.

    He has banged in a whopping 18 Premier League goals from just 13 outings in the English top-flight.

    Haaland has been in inspired form since joining Manchester City in the summer

    Getty

    Haaland has been in inspired form since joining Manchester City in the summer

    Haaland, Salah and Mane make talkSPORT’s best XI of players that won’t be at the World Cup

    Haaland, Salah and Mane make talkSPORT’s best XI of players that won’t be at the World Cup

    talkSPORT World Cup 2022 Coverage

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