As ever, next summer’s World Cup is going to be an unmissable feast of football.
The quadrennial carnival of colour, culture and several of the best athletes on the planet is sure to be brimming with intrigue, stories and, of course, plenty of excitement and drama.
However, not all of your favourite stars are going to be there. While Lionel Messi and Argentina sneaked through after a stuttering campaign, World Cup stalwarts Italy, Netherlands and the USA are among the nations missing out.
And with all of these high-profile nations failing to qualify for the finals, it leaves us with a pretty impressive group of players who will have next summer off as they watch the tournament at home like the rest of us.
Goalkeeper: Gianluigi Buffon
The Italian legend’s illustrious international career ended in heartache as the Azzurri failed to win a play-off against Sweden and advance to Russia.
Buffon, who made an astonishing 175 appearances for his country, won the 2006 World Cup but announced his retirement immediately after the result on Monday night.
Centre-back: Virgil van Dijk
The Southampton defender couldn’t help the Netherlands reach the World Cup after another disappointing qualifying campaign.
It was particularly embittering for the Liverpool transfer target as he narrowly missed out on a place the 2014 Dutch squad, then managed by Louis van Gaal.
Centre-back: Leonardo Bonucci
The AC Milan centre-half was used mainly as a substitute for Italy in 2014 and won’t get the chance to make his mark on the biggest stage next year.
It remains to be seen if the 30-year-old will still be playing international football by the time qualifying for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar rolls around.
Centre-back: Giorgio Chiellini
The Juventus stalwart and 2006 World Cup winner joined Buffon by emotionally announcing his international retirement after failing against Sweden.
Right wing-back: Antonio Valencia
The Manchester United favourite didn’t progress with Ecuador, who only managed an eighth-place finish in qualifying. Now 32, it may have been Valencia’s last shot at featuring at the World Cup.
Left wing-back: David Alaba
Alaba has tasted European and domestic success with Bayern Munich but couldn’t help his country, Austria, reach Russia.
They finished fourth in their group behind Serbia, Republic of Ireland and Wales with a disappointing 15 points from ten games.
Central midfield: Arturo Vidal
After reaching the round of 16 in 2010 and 2014, Vidal’s Chile will be absent from next summer’s World Cup after a poor South America qualifying campaign.
The Bayern Munich midfielder has heavily hinted that he may quit the national team after saying he has been unfairly treated by the media.
Central midfield: Marco Verratti
Italy’s deep-lying midfielder was suspended for the crucial second-leg against Sweden and his absence proved costly.
The former Barcelona transfer target will, like the rest of his Italian team-mates, have to watch next summer’s tournament from afar.
Right forward: Gareth Bale
The Real Madrid star was instrumental during Wales’ Euro 2016 campaign but injury meant he could only watch on as his team-mates failed to qualify for yet another World Cup.
Left forward: Alexis Sánchez
Sanchez helped Chile to back-to-back Copa America successes but the Arsenal attacker struggled to capture his best form during qualifying.
After failing to secure a move to Manchester City on transfer deadline day, Sánchez’s season went from bad to worse as Peru scored a last-minute equaliser against Colombia to edge out Chile, heaping the misery on the former Barcelona star.
Striker: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang
The prolific Borussia Dortmund frontman couldn’t take Gabon, who finished with just six points from six games in the third round of qualifying, to Russia.
Aubameyang will have next summer off and may finally secure a move away from the German club.
Here is what that XI looks like. Not too shabby.
Jasper Cillessen (Netherlands/Barcelona)
Gary Medel (Chile/Besiktas)
Miralem Pjanić (Bosnia and Herzegovina/Juventus)
Marek Hamsik (Slovakia/Napoli)
Henrikh Mkhitaryan (Armenia/Manchester United)
Christian Pulisic (USA/Borussia Dortmund)
Arjen Robben (Netherlands/Bayern Munich)
Riyad Mahrez (Algeria/Leicester)
Edin Dzeko (Bosnia and Herzegovina/Roma)