Why didn’t they make the cut?
The World Cup is just a week away and everyone is feeling the anticipation and excitement, not less the players themselves who were called upon to compete for their countries. But as the international managers send in their final 23-man squads, some high-profile footballers will have to settle with watching the games from their TV screens much like the rest of us. These eyebrow-raising omissions feature the strongest set of players yet who’ve been overlooked for this year’s El Mundial.
Marc Bartra, Hector Bellerin, Javi Martinez, Cesc Fabregas, Marcos Alonso, Ander Herrera, Pedro, Sergio Asenjo, Sergi Roberto, Juan Mata, Sergio Rico
A glittering domestic season with Chelsea and a place in Premier League’s Team of the Season were not enough for Marcos Alonso to be in Julen Lopetegui’s good side. He missed out to the likes of more experienced players Nacho and Jordi Alba. But Spain’s talent does abound that it’s not much of a surprise the efficient fullback didn’t get a spot.
Kingsley Coman, Karim Benzema, Adrien Rabiot, Dimitri Payet, Alexandre Lacazette, Wissam Ben Yedder, Anthony Martial, Aymeric Laporte
Alexandre Lacazette has a knack for good positions and is known for putting considerable pressure to opposing defenders. It’s a waste he won’t be able to showcase this latent for the national squad. But the young player can still hone his skills in time for the next World Cup in Saudi Arabia.
English champion Manchester City deemed Laporte a valuable asset to the team. He’s not proficient enough for the stacked French squad, however.
Supporters are still staggering from the news that they won’t see this football hero in the World Cup. Roberto Martinez’s reason? Radja does not fit the tactical plans. The midfielder took the axing pretty hard and has announced international football retirement for not making the “Golden generation” lineup.
Jack Wilshere, Chris Smalling, Joe Hart
Gareth Southgate made the tough decision to leave Joe Hart at home despite him helping the team reach Russia. The goalkeeper is gutted and felt he had something to offer the squad this summer. Nevertheless, he has stated on Instagram that he will have his England shirt on as a fan and the team has his support.
Emre Can, Shkodran Mustafi, Andre Schurrie, Mario Gotze, Leroy Sane
Mario Gotze’s exclusion from the plane to Russia came as a shocker. Afterall, he scored that extra time goal that gave Germany its 2014 World Cup triumph. But this once-in-a-century talent has not seen his best after reaching the summit of world football and the abundance of attacking midfield brilliance in the form of Julian Brandt made it a hard case for the Rio hero.
Leaving PFA Young Player of the Year Leroy Sane out is a bold choice on Joachim Low’s part. But this just goes to show the strength and depth of his final 23 squad and that he’s confident they can win the trophy even without the Manchester City star.
Mauro Icardi, Erik Lamela
The national team surprisingly dropped Inter Milan captain Icardi. This season’s joint top goalscorer for Italy Serie A had no room for Jorge Sampaoli’s Messi and Dybala-led attack plan.
Alex Sandro, Fabinho, David Luiz, Willian Jose
Prolific defensive midfielder Fabinho is able to contribute a great number of goals and is an excellent penalty taker. But the new Liverpool signee was just cut short of making an international appearance with established players Fernandinho and Casemiro as competition. At least he can focus on training with The Reds come July.
Andre Gomes, Nani
Nani is Portugal’s most capped player behind Ronaldo with 112 appearances. But the player was discarded by Santos who said he had to make choices that will make a better puzzle.
All these players have the talent and gusto to play at the World Cup. Who do you think should have made the final lineup? Join our discussion on Twitter and tell us who you think deserves to be in the international ranks.
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