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5 world-class players who will miss the 2018 FIFA World Cup

Wednesday 11th October 2017
Several world-class players won't be playing in the 2018 FIFA World Cup since their countries failed to qualify. Here are some of the most notable absences we will witness in the competition.

Arjen Robben

The Netherlands had a tough task in the final match of their UEFA World Cup Qualifying campaign. They needed to defeat Sweden by a seven-goal margin solely to reach the playoff round but could not do it. A brace from Arjen Robben lifted the Dutch side to a 2-0 win, but they were out of the competition due to goal differential.

Robben was the Netherlands' best player by a wide margin, as the star winger contributed with six goals in seven matches for the Oranje side. But the lack of talent and a slow start hampered against the Netherlands' chances of playing in a fourth straight World Cup. And the 33-year-old winger announced his retirement from the international team, so we won't have the pleasure of seeing the Bayern Munich winger wearing the Dutch jersey ever again.

Alexis Sanchez

Alexis Sanchez contributed with six goals during Chile's qualifying campaign, but the Arsenal star was not enough for La Roja. Despite winning the Copa America in back-to-back years and reaching the final of the 2017 Confederations Cup, Chile could not reach Russia following an 0-3 loss against Brazil in the final match of the CONMEBOL World Cup Qualifiers.

Sanchez could easily be indicated as one of the biggest reasons why Chile failed to qualify. He could not lead the team when they needed it, and at times he looked on a whole different mindset from his teammates. Alexis and Arturo Vidal should have led Chile to a third straight World Cup appearance, but instead, they will be forced to watch it on TV for the first time since the 2006 World Cup.

Marek Hamsik

Marek Hamsik had the worst luck when it comes to his country's chances to make it to the World Cup. Slovakia finished second in Group H behind England and over both Slovenia and Scotland, but that was not enough.

Unfortunately for the Napoli star, Slovakia finished the World Cup qualifying campaign with "only" 18 points, and they ranked as the worst team of all the runner-ups in the UEFA Qualifiers. As a result, they did not make the playoff picture. Quite a disappointment for the Napoli star who might never have the chance to play in a World Cup again since he is already 30 years old, and would 35 by the time the 2022 World Cup arrives.

Edin Dzeko

Bosnia & Herzegovina are not known for being one of the best countries in Europe. However, they have an impressive squad that could have fought Greece for a World Cup berth - or at least a playoff one, considering Belgium were in the same group. But Bosnia failed in their quest.

Bosnia ended with two points shy of Greece on the race for a playoff spot, meaning Bosnia once again won't participate in the World Cup. This is clearly a disappointment for players such as Edin Dzeko or Miralem Pjanic,  but the AS Roma star striker clearly did everything he could for his country. Dzeko netted five goals in the qualifying campaign, but that was not enough.

Gareth Bale

Gareth Bale took the place of Ryan Giggs as Wales' best player and leader of the National Team. However, he might have the same fortune than the former Manchester United legend of not playing in a FIFA World Cup. The Real Madrid winger did what he could and kept the Welsh side alive until the final match of the qualifying campaign against the Republic of Ireland. But a 0-1 loss against their neighbours sealed their fate.

Wales were coming off an impressive run during the 2016 European Championship, but could not translate those performances to the World Cup race despite the fact Bale contributed with four goals in seven matches. The 2022 World Cup seems like the best chance of Bale to lead Wales into the World Cup for the first time in the country's history. They were inches away to do so this time, but it was not enough.
Juan Pablo Aravena

29-year-old sports analyst and journalist with over three years of experience in the industry. Writes about all kinds of sports from football to golf, but there is no question his biggest passion in life is football. Manchester United, Borussia Dortmund and Colo Colo fan.

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