Over the international break several playoff and group-stage games took place to fill the 32 spots available with regular World Cup appearing teams missing out.
Similar to the Afcon final, Egypt lost on penalties to Senegal as it was 1-1 on aggregate after the two legs.
This time around Mo Salah did step up to take a penalty, but missed possibly due to being targeted by several green lasers.
Despite arguably being one of the best players in the world over the past few years, Salah fell short at international level again.
He is currently the Premier League top goal scorer, ahead of Son Heung-Min in second place, and second top assister below teammate Trent Alexander-Arnold.
The tricky winger has shone since his £37m move to Liverpool from Porto in January, but Colombia failed to make their third successive World Cup appearance.
Peru, Chile and Colombia battled it out for fifth in South American qualifying.
Despite beating Venezuela 1-0, Colombia were reliant on Peru losing to out of contention Paraguay – Peru won 2-0, securing their place in an inter-continental play-off against Australia or UAE.
Sweden lost 2-0 to Poland in the ‘path B’ final after beating Czech Republic 1-0 in the semi-finals.
The Blue and Yellows were placed in the play-offs as they finished second in European qualifying group B behind Spain.
The 40-year-old who made his first international appearance 7 October 2001 no longer starts for Sweden, but his Serie A record of 10 goal involvements in 18 games proves he still has his competitive edge.
Algeria were minutes away from qualifying after Ahmed Touba’s late extra-time goal, but Cameroon’s Karl Toko Ekambi scored in the 124th minute to help his side advance on away goals.
Manchester City head coach Pep Guardiola often rotates his squad, but he has always shown confidence in Mahrez, which has been repaid this season with 22 goals in 36 games – arguably his best campaign yet.
Algeria have continued their worrying form displayed at Afcon, when they finished bottom of group E with one point.
The biggest shock of the international break was European champions Italy missing a second consecutive World Cup. They have not played a World Cup knockout match since they won the tournament in 2006.
North Macedonia beat Italy 1-0 as Aleksandar Trajkovski scored a long range effort in added time following many wasted opportunities by the Blues.
Last season, Jorginho was the topic of polarising debates after finishing third in the Ballon d’Or rankings following his Champions League and European Championship.
He was considered an unsung hero who glued the team together – the Brazilian-born player had the most interceptions ever at a Euros tournament in 2021 with 25 and completed 93 per cent of 529 passes attempted.
Norway failed to make it to the European play-offs as they finished third in group G behind the Netherlands and Turkey, despite the efforts of Haaland and Martin Odegaard.
The 21-year-old will not match his tally of 41 goals in 2020-21 this season due to injuries but he has scored 23 in just as many games.
Alongside Kylian Mbappe, Haaland is touted as the best 23 or under talent in world football.
His stats and presence on the pitch has attracted interest from many of the biggest European sides – Man City and Real Madrid, the two clubs at the top of the Deloitte football money league are the only clubs able to afford the striker.