Erling Haaland will be hoping to avoid joining a list of football greats who never managed to play in a World Cup after Norway’s latest setback in their hopes to qualify for the 2024 European Championships. Norway’s loss to Spain on Sunday means Haaland is now relying on his country securing a play-off spot to end their long wait to return to a major tournament.
Norway haven’t played in a major tournament since the European Championships in 2000 and their last World Cup came in 1998 when the likes of Tor Andre Flo, Henning Berg and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer were in their prime. None of Norway’s exports have arguably achieved the levels of Haaland though, who is already seen as one of the world’s best footballers at the age of 23.
But the Manchester City superstar will not want to join an unwanted list of football icons who never managed to play in a major tournament in their illustrious careers. Time is on Haaland’s side, but a footballer’s career is notoriously unpredictable and the latest setback will no doubt cause some concern.
Express Sport takes a look at 10 of the best players who never played in a World Cup.
Erling Haaland will want to make sure he reaches a World Cup in his career.
A Ghanaian football icon, Abedi Pele broke ground in European football for African players when he joined Marseille in 1987 and helped them win the Champions League six years later.
He also won the Africa Cup of Nations with Ghana in 1982, but the African icon was unable to represent his country on the world’s biggest stage.
A cult hero among Newcastle and Tottenham fans, David Ginola never truly made it on the international stage with France.
He made just 17 appearances for his country and was involved in a number of qualifiers, but was never selected for a major tournament.
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The only African player to have been named FIFA World Player of the Year was never able to set the biggest stage alight despite his best efforts.
Libertia came agonisingly close to qualifying for the 2002 World Cup in what would have been a historic achievement.
Incredibly, Litmanen’s career spanned four decades from 1989 to 2010 when he retired and is regarded as Finland’s greatest-ever player.
But his talents were unfortunately not enough to help Finland qualify for a World Cup.
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