Continental Champions who won’t be at the World Cup – How they threw it away

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An appearance at the World Cup remain remains the most coveted position for every professional footballer, Manager, National Team, journalists and even individuals

Such is the richness of the allure of the global spectacle that the Football Associations literally spend vast resources planning for their country’s participation at the mundial as it enhances their position in the eyes of the globe.

The 2018 World Cup Qualifiers has, as expected, seen no shortage of drama as nations have fought tooth and nail for a spot at the sport’s greatest showpiece. Whether its Argentina snatching victory from the jaws of defeat to earn a spot or Iceland shocking the world in its first ever qualification for the tourney, we have been treated to a quite a wide range of dramatic, entertaining spectacle thus far in the qualifiers.

Some of the ‘elite’ nations naturally expected to progress have booked their place while some have terribly defied expectations, losing out altogether.

Talking points abound in either cases but we will be zooming in on the reigning continental champions who have failed to book a spot at the mundial much to the chagrin of their supporters and the amazement of soccer followers around the globe.

CHILE – South America

Here is a remarkably noteworthy fact: Chile were third in the CONMEBOL qualifying standings prior to their 3-O defeat to highfliers Brazil before plummeting to sixth position, completely out of the qualification spots. Such is the mystifyingly fickle, competitive nature of the South America qualifiers.

Needing to beat an already-qualified Brazil for a chance to qualify but that proved too huge a task as the results ultimately showed; Messi and his troops took full advantage of the slip and usurped them in third place.

Alexis Sanchez and co couldn’t avoid defeat in Brazil

It’s probably safe to assume this watershed moment marks the beginning of the end for Chile’s golden generation having emerged as a domineering force for the better part of the decade.

Splendid showings at the last two World Cups and back-to-back Copa America victories has seen their stock rise meteorically but with key players approaching the twilight of their careers, an end appears on the horizon.

Chile will be having a free summer for the first time in 3 years having participated in back to back Copa America tourneys in 2015 and 2016 and fighting for the Confederations Cup this summer.

It could be argued the physical exertions expended in those competitions might have rendered them somewhat fatigued for the fiercely competitive COMMEBOL qualifiers but one thing is certain: Fans won’t be seeing the exciting Chileans entertain us at the Mundial with  their unique brand of attacking football and that’s a letdown we will have to live with. Adiós Chile.

USA – North America

Reigning CONCACAF Gold Cup champions, United States won’t be appearing at the world cup for the first time since 1986 after a humiliating 2-1 defeat at the hands of Trinidad & Tobago in Couva on Tuesday.

The defeat for the US ended an impressive run of 7 consecutive world cup participations which has left the ever-expanding American soccer fanbase ruing such an unexpected calamity.

Losing qualifying berths to Mexico, Costa Rica and Panama as well as Honduras who secured the play-off spot represents quite a catastrophe for the Americans who are accustomed to strolling past the qualification phase with relative ease. It is a massive blow that will leave the US Soccer body pondering how it all went wrong and the world ruing the absence of Americans on Russian soil.

Given the age-old political enmity between the two nations, political observers have been deprived the chance of catching a spectacle of an all-encompassing ‘rivalry’ between the host nation and the World’s sole Superpower. Somehow, it’s Trump’s duty now to make American football great again. Over to you Donald!

CAMEROON – Africa

Recently crowned African Champions, the Indomitable Lions of Cameroon also failed to qualify for the World Cup.

Having been drawn in what is arguably Africa’s group of death alongside powerhouses Nigeria, Zambia and Algeria, the odds seemed stacked against the continental champions from the outset and it turned one they were unable to overcome, losing scandalously to a determined Nigeria side in the all important game and failing incredibly too, to live up to expectations.

 

Article written by John Omomo

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