With world class teams missing out on a trip to the 2018 Russia World Cup, many soccer fans will mourn the absence of their favorite teams in this highly-anticipated event.
There are multiple powerhouse men’s national soccer teams that will miss out on the upcoming World Cup. Some notable teams that have already failed to qualified are the Dutch national team, the American national team, the Cameroonian national team, the Algerian national team and the Ghanaian national team. There are also teams that are in jeopardy of not qualifying, like the Ivorian national team.
The Dutch national team, a European powerhouse in the world of soccer, shocked soccer fans across the world when it failed to reach even the qualification playoffs for the World Cup. The Dutch national team has not missed a World Cup since 2002, and it managed to achieve second place out of the 32 teams in 2010 and third place in 2014.
“My expectations for the Dutchies [the Dutch national team] were, of course, very high. I think that the Dutch team played extremely overconfident and arrogantly. I think that the Dutch not making this World Cup is a good wake-up call that it is not automatic to qualify for the World Cup.”
Dutch national and resident of a town outside of Amsterdam
With a devastating loss to Bulgaria, a team that has very few players on big clubs, the Dutch ultimately failed to reach qualification, and will have to watch while other nations live the World Cup dream.
Along with the Dutch, some African soccer powerhouses will also watch the 2018 World Cup from the stands.
Despite being arguably the best team in Africa, Cameroon failed to qualify for the World Cup for the first time since 2006. Having won the latest African Cup of Nations that year, Cameroon began to make a name for its country in the soccer world. But after dropping points due to a loss and multiple ties during qualification, Cameroon’s World Cup hopes have ended.
The Algerian national team also shocked soccer followers by getting last place in their qualification group. Despite having world class stars like English Premier League winner Riyad Mahrez and other Euro-league stars like Yacine Brahimi, Rachid Ghezzal and Sofiane Feghouli, Algeria was only able to gain one point by tying Cameroon. With only one game left against Nigeria, the best team in the group who has already qualified, Algeria has no chance to qualify for the World Cup, for the first time since 2006.
Arguably the biggest possible African loss of the 2018 World Cup is Ivory Coast, a nation that has dominated African soccer for years.
Like the Dutch, the Ivorian national team has not missed a World Cup since 2002. Despite the loss of Ivorian superstar Didier Drogba, who retired from the national team following the 2014 World Cup, Ivory Coast is still an African favorite.
The team still has various superstars like Yaya Touré and Eric Bailly, who both play for the top two teams in England as of now. They also have stars like Gervinho, who currently plays in the Chinese Super League, and Seydou Doumbia, who currently plays for Portugal. Despite the firepower they have, there is still a possibility they will not qualify. The deciding match between Ivory Coast and Morocco will be on Nov. 11.
Only one of the five African teams from the past World Cup confirmed qualification for the upcoming World Cup — and only Ivory Coast actually still has a chance.
The most dramatic loss for the World Cup, due to it coming down to the last match of qualifications, is the United States men’s national team (USMNT).
“Not being a part of [the World Cup] is not only a massive blow to U.S. soccer, but to American morale as a whole. We pride ourselves on being the greatest country in the world, but missing the World Cup is extremely disheartening.”
The USMNT made a risky move late in 2016 by firing its head coach, Jürgen Klinsmann, who took the USMNT to the quarterfinals of the 2014 World Cup. Klinsmann was fired for lackluster results; however, performances failed to change after his firing. After Bruce Arena, the current head coach, took over, the USMNT failed to get improved results.
“The team never came to play,” Erickson said. “It was evident from the beginning. There was no sense of urgency until it was too late.”
With little team spirit and a lack of energy, the players failed to perform at the necessary level. With one game left, only needing a victory against Trinidad and Tobago, the worst team in the group, to qualify, the USMNT took an embarrassing loss and will now miss out on the World Cup next year.
Even with up-and-coming stars like Christian Pulisic, the 19-year-old wonder kid who now plays for world-renowned German club Borussia Dortmund, the USMNT could not seem to get its act together. The United States has not missed out on a World Cup since 1986.
For these teams, they cannot say “we’ll get ‘em next year,” because the World Cup only comes every four years.