Why Erling Haaland, the best player in the world, isn't competing at the World Cup

While the circumstances around the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar are beyond problematic, it will still be the game’s biggest tournament on the global stage. 

And with that, you’d hope to see soccer’s best players competing. That won’t necessarily be the case this winter — at least when it comes to Erling Haaland.

The Manchester City star has taken the Premier League by storm since his summer transfer from Borussia Dortmund as he’s on pace to shatter PL single-season goal records and challenge Lionel Messi’s all-competition mark of 73 goals in 2011-12

He’s a world-class player in every sense, but he will not be at Qatar. The answer is simple.

Haaland hails from Norway, which failed to qualify for the 2022 World Cup after a 2-0 defeat to the Netherlands in November.

Under the current qualifying system, it’s been a difficult path for Norway in UEFA. It last qualified for the World Cup in 1998, but the tournament is set to expand in 2026 and open up the possibility of Haaland’s World Cup debut.

Of course, Haaland was probably also eligible to play for England at one point (he was born in Leeds), 

but he spent his entire international career in the Norwegian system and never seriously considered suiting up for the Three Lions.