World Cup 2018: The big names who didn’t make it

With either Peru or New Zealand set to take up the last of the 32 places at next year’s World Cup in Russia, the drama and suspense of who will be there next summer is almost at an end.

The 2018 tournament will see Euro 2016 surprise package Iceland and Panama make their first ever appearances, while the football fiesta will also feature all the usual suspects including champions Germany, Brazil, Argentina, Spain and France.

What’s notable about this tournament, however, is some of the teams that didn’t make it, as several big names failed to qualify.

FOX Sports Asia takes a look at some of those who won’t be at the party:

Perhaps the biggest name not to qualify. Four-time winners Italy lost out after finishing second to Spain in Group G and failing to score against Sweden in their two-legged playoff. Their failure led to the end of the careers of keeper Gianluigi Buffon and Daniele De Rossi, and also saw coach Giampiero Ventura sacked.

Another country with World Cup history, a disastrous campaign first under Danny Blind and then Dick Advocaat saw Holland finish third behind Sweden. Finalists in 1974, 1978 and 2010, and semifinalists in 2014, the failure to reach Russia brought the curtain down on the career of Arjen Robben and has sparked much soul-searching in the home of ‘total football’.

The current Copa America champions surprised many when they missed finished sixth in the South American group. Starting the final day in third place in the group, an amazing sequence of results saw the talented Chileans miss out. Much of the blame has been placed at the door of coach Juan Antonio Pizzi, who left after Chile’s failure to qualify, but La Roja’s players such as Alexis Sanchez, Arturo Vidal and Gary Medel must also share some of the blame.

The Indomitable Lions and Roger Milla were the first African team to make a big impact at the World Cup back in 1990, but after appearing at seven of the last nine tournaments they missed out after finishing third in their group behind Nigeria and Zambia.

Ivory Coast
A regular at recent tournaments, the Ivorians missed out after finishing runners up to a Morocco team that didn’t concede a goal in all six third-round qualifiers.

After appearing at every World Cup since 1990, Bruce Arena’s team failed to make it following a dire 2-1 defeat to a poor Trinidad and Tobago side in their final qualifier when a win or even a draw would have done. The result means teen sensation Christian Pulisic will have to wait at least another four years for a chance to make his debut on the world stage.