The 3 biggest disappointments of the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifiers – the spoiler

Even before the end of the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifiers and several teams yet to be selected in the remaining qualifying rounds, it is already clear which teams will qualify for the tournament. Despite several unexpectedly good performances, there are also the other surprisingly disappointing other teams with plenty of star players on their hands.

They are the three biggest under-performers in the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifiers to date.


Chile has undoubtedly been one of the main players in the CONMEBOL region over the past decade. They qualified for the 2010 and 2014 World Cups, took third place in the 2007 U20 World Cup and won the Copa America twice in 2015 and 2016. In addition, they reached the Cup final. of the FIFA Confederations just a few months ago. This is why their absence from the World Cup is quite surprising for both professionals and experts.

However, there is no doubt that their fate should have been brighter. Unfortunately, the numbers are showing the truth and La Roja has failed their last four matches. A 0-3 loss definitely ended their chances of making it to the World Cup for the third time in a row, while a one-goal loss was enough to send them to the final game against Brazil. The result is an alarm that this could be the end of Chile’s most capable talent generation and changes are needed. This is most evident when the players regularly presented for the team are taken into account.

Distinguished players: Alexis Sanchez, Arturo Vidal, Gary Medel, Claudio Bravo

United States

The United States were even more disappointed than Chile in the CONCACAF final qualifying round. With a reputation as a fighting team in the region, the USMNT failed spectacularly and remained fifth in the hexagonal standings. Worse yet, they finished the last game third and couldn’t make it to Russia despite being masters of their own destiny.

What they needed to do to secure third place in the standings was a victory against Trinidad & Tobago. Still, they scored 1-2 losses and that, on top of Honduras and Panama’s victory over Mexico and Costa Rica, will ensure they will be watching the tournament from home next year. Hopefully this will finally motivate the United States to improve their league system and youth selection. Apparently, there are hardly any acceptable substitutes for top players like Tim Howard, Clint Dempsey and Michael Bradley. The time has come when they can no longer count on these veterans and the transformation is badly needed now. At stake is their position as a dominant competitor in the CONCACAF region.

Distinguished absent players: Christian Pulisic, Clint Dempsey, John Brooks, Michel Bradley


The Netherlands were in a difficult situation entering the last game of the UEFA World Cup qualifiers. With France and Sweden ahead, the Dutch needed a seven-goal victory to find their place among the top teams played in second. Even the decisive 2-0 victory over their rivals did not come to fruition. The Netherlands failed to qualify for a second big tournament and furthermore lost their chance at the 2016 European Championship.

Like the United States, the Netherlands must review its strategy for the future. Notable players like Robben have already said they are quitting the national team altogether. Others like Wesley Sneijder and Robin van Preise, also irreplaceable over the years, will likely follow suit. Although the national team are equipped with very talented young players, it would be unfair to expect the same from them as the team which has finished third and fourth in the last two World Cups. The team needs to be reinvented and unless they do, they are bound to become an average team in Europe for the foreseeable future.

Distinguished absent players: Arjen Robben, Daley Blind, Memphis Depay, Virgil van Dijk

Tagged with: Alexis Sanchez • Arjen Robben • Arturo Vidal • Christian Pulisic • Claudio Bravo • Clint Dempsey • Daley Blind • Gary Medel • John Brooks • Memphis Depay • Michel Bradley • Virgil van Dijk

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