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Could these world-class players miss the World Cup?

Pin Messi, Ronaldo and Sanchez could still miss out on the World Cup this summer. BeSoccer
Messi, Ronaldo and Sanchez could still miss out on the World Cup this summer. BeSoccer

Could these world-class players miss the World Cup?

Jack Ottman by Jack Ottman @jackottman - 0 7,032

Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo are two of the players at risk of not appearing at the World Cup in Russia next year. We take a look at other top players would could miss out on qualification.

There are some big teams who could miss out on the 2018 World Cup with just two games two go in qualification, including Argentina, the Netherlands, Portugal and Chile.

Here's an XI of top players who could miss out on the world's biggest sporting competition...



Goalkeeper: Gianluigi Buffon (Italy)

The World Cup winner in 2006 could still miss out on the tournament in Russia this summer. His Italy side are three points behind Group G leaders Spain and are set to face a risky play-off against another European team, which could include Portugal, France or Sweden.

Left-back: David Alaba (Austria)

Alaba's Austria are currently struggling in Group D, sitting in fourth place on nine points. They are four behind third-placed Republic of Ireland, and five behind Wales who occupy the play-off spot. The Bayern Munich star looks likely to have an extended summer holiday.

Centre-back: Leonardo Bonucci (Italy)

The Italian defender who signed for AC Milan in July could face an uneventful summer alongside Buffon if his Italy side can't negotiate a potentially tricky play-off.

Centre-back: Virgil Van Dijk (Netherlands)

The runners up of 2014 look increasingly likely to miss out on the tournament in Russia. They are third in Group A, three points behind Sweden in second and they suffered a huge blow to their already fragile qualifying hopes when they lost 4-0 to group leaders France during the international break. Van Dijk has missed out on recent international matches due to injury and a transfer saga, but he could be involved for the final two crucial qualifiers next month.

Right-back: Antonio Valencia (Ecuador)

The Man United man looks very likely to miss out on leading his national side out in Russia this summer. Whilst mathematically Ecuador can still qualify, they would need to beat both Chile and Argentina and hope the seven sides above them drop a number of points.

Central midfield: Arturo Vidal (Chile)

The holders of the Copa America are currently sixth in the South America section and, as it stands, would not qualify for next summer's tournament, with only the top four teams qualifying automatically. They are one point behind Peru and Argentina in the two spots above them and Chile will be targeting maximum points in their remaining games to give them hope of qualification.

Left-wing: Alexis Sanchez (Chile)

Just like his compatriot Arturo Vidal, Sanchez will be hoping he can help Chile make the most of their last two qualifiers and make it to Russia next summer.

Attacking midfield: Lionel Messi (Argentina)

It is hard to imagine a World Cup without Messi. Argentina are in danger of missing out on automatic qualification, as they sit in fifth place. With just four points between the second and sixth-placed teams, the final two fixtures will be crucial for Messi's side if they want to ensure qualification to Russia this summer.

Right-wing: Gareth Bale (Wales)

Whilst Wales currently sit in second place in Group D, as it stands they would miss out on a play-off sport because theirs is the lowest points tally of the current group runners up, and they could yet be overtaken by Republic of Ireland in the final two games. Bale and co. will be hoping to repeat the heroics of Euro 2016 to secure their play-off spot in the final two games.

Striker: Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal)

The Euro 2016 winning captain and current Ballon d'Or holder could potentially be missing from the World Cup. Portugal have guaranteed a play-off spot but trail Switzerland by three points in Group B. They meet each other in the final match on October 10 so that could be the decider. If they end up in second place, there are no guarantees that they will qualify, with plenty of good teams in the running for a play-off spot.

Striker: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Gabon)

Gabon can still secure top spot of Group C in the Africa qualification round, but it won't be easy. They are two points behind currently leaders Ivory Coast, with only the first placed team in each group qualifying for the World Cup. Should Aubameyang's side finish second, there is no play-off round to look forward to.

Jack Ottman

Jack Ottman

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