Qualifying for the World Cup is a significant honor for any nation – but only 32 can do so.
When the 2022 FIFA World Cup gets rolling from Qatar in November, there will be a good amount of notable international squads not competing.
We already know the full list of teams and groups slated to compete, but who are the biggest nations missing out in 2022? Let’s take a look:
Which teams are missing from the 2022 World Cup?
Italy, by far, is the biggest nation omitted from Qatar. Italy is ranked the seventh-best international squad as of FIFA’s latest world ranking on Aug. 25. So how did it not make it? The Azzurri lost to North Macedonia 1-0 in a qualifying match after a 92nd-minute goal erased their dreams. It marked the second straight World Cup Italy failed to qualify for.
One of the rising squads from South America in the last decade, Colombia finished sixth in CONMEBOL’s qualifying standings – one point behind Peru for a playoff spot and three behind Ecuador for an automatic berth. Colombia is the No. 17-ranked nation by FIFA. In 2018, Colombia had won its group before losing in a penalty shootout to England in the Round of 16.
After a shock run in 2018 that included a trip to the quarterfinals, Sweden lost to Poland in order to qualify for a berth. That likely ends Zlatan Ibrahamović’s chances of playing in the World Cup ever again. Sweden is the No. 20-ranked nation in the world. In 2018, Sweden topped a group that featured Germany and Mexico but lost 2-0 to England in the quarters.
Peru, the No. 21-ranked nation right behind Sweden, lost to Australia in a qualifying playoff final via an enthralling penalty shootout. In 2018, Peru finished third in its group behind France and Denmark. The only team below it? Australia.
Chile is another solid South American team that has lost its form the last few years. Notable players like Alexis Sanchez and Arturo Vidal are too far in their prime to continue to lead the nation, which also missed out in 2018. In 2010 and 2014, Chile made it to the Round of 16. It is currently the No. 31-ranked nation.
Egypt has also been a rising nation in recent years, and it competes in Africa’s CAF. Liverpool star Mohamed Salah has headlined the Egyptian men’s team, but former club teammate Sadio Mané and Senegal eliminated it in the qualifying rounds. In 2018, Egypt failed to win a game. Egypt is ranked No. 40 in the world.
Other notable nations not competing in 2022 include Ukraine (No. 27), Nigeria (No. 31), Russia (No. 35) and Algeria (No. 41), among others.
Which country has never participated in the FIFA World Cup?
Considering there are about 200 countries in the world, plenty of nations have never participated in a World Cup tournament. Here are the top five nations with the most attempts:
- Luxembourg: 20
- Finland: 19
- Curaçao/Netherlands Antilles: 16
- Guatemala: 15
- Cyprus: 15
The full list of the 134 countries with at least one attempt can be found here.
How many teams qualified for the 2022 World Cup?
A total of 32 teams are slated to compete in Qatar.
How many teams can qualify for the 2026 World Cup?
Many of these teams will not miss out in future tournaments. Starting in 2026, FIFA is expanding the number of teams competing in World Cups from 32 to 48, so more nations who have a tough time qualifying will now have a higher chance.
Why is Italy not in the 2022 World Cup?
As aforementioned, Italy lost to North Macedonia in stunning fashion during qualifying games. Italy hasn’t competed in the tournament since 2014.