Two more Arsenal players are now set to miss out on next year’s World Cup, after narrowly failing to progress in qualifying.

Max Alain Gradel of Ivory Coast, and Nicolas Pepe during the friendly match between Japan and Ivory Coast at Stadium Galgenwaard on October 13, 2020 in Utrecht, The Netherlands. VI ANP Sport / ANP IV
Max Alain Gradel of Ivory Coast, and Nicolas Pepe during the friendly match between Japan and Ivory Coast at Stadium Galgenwaard on October 13, 2020, in Utrecht, The Netherlands. VI ANP Sport / ANP IV

Although the international break has mostly been a positive one from an Arsenal point of view, with some goals and very few injury concerns, the break wasn’t without its low points for some of the players involved.

Despite scoring for Gabon, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang saw his chances of a World Cup appearance fade when Egypt topped their qualification group.

Sead Kolasinac had to deal with an injury and Bosnia & Herzegovina missing out on the World Cup all in one day.

Runar Alex Runarsson went into the break needing a miracle for Iceland to progress in their qualification campaign, and they didn’t have one.

But there were two players who missed out on the final day of the break despite a much more realistic initial chance of making the World Cup qualification playoffs – Nicolas Pepe and Martin Odegaard.

Ivory Coast went into the final day top of their group and playing second-placed Cameroon, knowing a draw would be enough to progress. Pepe played 21 minutes as a substitute as they lost 1-0, eliminating them from contention.

Meanwhile, Norway could even have qualified for the World Cup automatically, with the right result against the Netherlands.

Any win would have been enough to make the play-offs in their group, and a big win might have got them that automatic qualification spot.

Sadly, Odegaard played the full 90 as the Netherlands ran out 2-0 winners, qualifying for the World Cup and sending Turkey to the play-offs.

There are a few more players whose countries’ World Cup participation is still in the balance, including Kieran Tierney, Thomas Partey, and Mohamed Elneny, who are in the play-offs, and Takehiro Tomiyasu, with the Asia World Cup qualification group stage not over yet.

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Arsenal fan since a young age, now a season ticket holder who enjoys writing, tweeting and making videos about the Gunners.