Players you wont see at the World Cup
So as some of you might be aware, there is the small matter of a World Cup taking place in Brazil in only a couple of days time. It currently seems that wherever you go, be it the supermarket, the pub or even the office water cooler, it seems you can’t avoid this sporting juggernaut, sucking in all media and commercial activity like a supernova collapsing in on itself.
While for you and I that’s great and if you’re anything like me you’ll have your wall chart up, your fantasy team set and excitement levels have reached fever pitch. For some players they can’t even enjoy their favourite m&m’s without being reminded that they didn't make the plane.
With that in mind, here is my list of the best players who won’t be getting the opportunity to grace the turf of the Maracana this summer. Now injury and fate can be cruel mistresses when you just don't make the grade it has to hurt, just ask John Ruddy.
Spoiler alert John, please stop reading this now, this is just one more situation where you haven't made the cut.
This may have been one of the most high profile absentees from this summers tournament. After what most would consider to be a productive season with Manchester City, winning the League Cup and the Premier League while sparkling on the pitch, it came as quite a big surprise when Didier Deschamps left Nasri out of his 23 man squad. The reason behind this was reportedly for “squad harmony” with the French famously not being great tourists in recent competitions. However what Deschamps may not have bargained for was the wrath of Samir’s girlfriend, Anara Atanes who took to twitter to defend her man. As the controversy blew up it came out that Nasri is now considering international retirement at the age of just 26. At least this decision from Deschamps didn't end in legal action… oh wait… anything for a happy camp huh?
On the surface this may seem like as big a surprise as Nasri. After all Tevez is a household name and lets not forget he has just won a Serie A title as the centre forward in a Juventus team that hoovered up over 100 points. However those who have even remotely followed Argentina in qualification under Sabella will know that for Carlos it has be a case of “fit in or fuck off” and it seems that when former Wigan striker Franco Di Santo (who makes neither the squad nor this list) is getting a gig ahead of you its clear that your face doesn't fit. The reason? When you have two players like Messi and Tevez both with a gravitational pull demanding the team play for and around them you can only have one winner. After all, we didn't see Team Sky enter last years Tour de France with duel team leaders in Froome and Wiggins. It seems that Sabella considers Aguerö and Higuain to be better domestiques.
As a footballing nation it appears that Brazil is a veritable Death Star full of tie fighters, many of whom are talented enough to grace the biggest stage both in this galaxy and a galaxy far, far away. I could write pages and pages on just the Brazilians not invited to their own house party, but I’m going to keep the numbers down and start by focusing on Lucas Moura. The insanely talented 21 year old appears to have lost out in a straight fight for a place to to Bernard. While many will argue the standard of Ligue 1, surely it is comparable if not better that the standard of football Bernard is getting out East. Let us not forget that Fernandinho couldn't get a regular game for the Seleção until he joined Man City. While Scolari isn't going to be losing too much sleep over this decision, it must just grate a little more when Jo still gets invited to the party. This may be a Death Star of talent but it is going to have that hatch of weakness, is that the centre forward position? Or is it more likely currently located in West London in the form of David Luiz?
Too often in football, and this list is guilty enough of it, we are too busy idealising and overvaluing the players at what we would call “the business end of the field” However if David Luiz is potentially the Death Star weakness, Miranda could have been that piece of reenforced grilling that can withstand heavy X-Wing fire and see the Empire rule the galaxy. After all, Miranda is well versed in reenforcement, Atleti’s unpredicted season as La Liga champions and Champions League finalists was built on a stingy defence of which Miranda was a key member. While the Atleti centre back is right to feel hard done by we’ll have to trust in Scolari, after all he is well guised in the art of war.
For me Mexico is a quietly underrated squad of talent with players who really bring their A game for the national team. Sadly once again that talent wont include Carlos Vela. With a high profile falling out with the Mexican FA where he feels he was pushed under the bus, Vela hasn't pulled on the green and white of Mexico since 2011. This self proclaimed exile is a bitter blow for coach Miguel Herrera with Vela being the attacking threat of another impressive Real Sociedad campaign scoring 16 La Liga goals and contributing 12 assists. Mexico could sorely miss him as I'm sure he could have chipped in with a contribution.
The man who has scored more World Cup goals that Messi, Ronaldo, Rooney and myself combined will not be adding more goals and a 4th World Cup to his already illustrious list of accolades. A decision that seems to have caused quite a bit of controversy amongst “soccer” fans the other side of the Atlantic, Klinsmann has had to come out fighting, tackling the criticism with quotes such as:
“This always happens in America [...] Kobe Bryant, for example — why does he get a two-year contract extension for $50 million? Because of what he is going to do in the next two years for the Lakers? Of course not. Of course not. He gets it because of what he has done before. It makes no sense. Why do you pay for what has already happened?”
Some claim bullshit with plenty insinuating that this is personal. After all Donavon was a prominent flop during Kinsmann’s ill fated time at Bayern post 2006 World Cup. Either way it is going to interesting to see this new look USA team without their talismanic leader.
The Spanish C team
While the B team is still bulging with talent and there to give the first XI something other than cones to play with in training, the list of players Spain have left behind, and not through injury is staggering. With a list that starts with Champions League finalists Dani Carvajal and Isco and finishes with Juventus spearhead Fernando Llorente it also includes Man City pair Alvaro Negredo and Jesus Navas and Atleti’s Juanfran. The terrifying thought is how many of the other 31 teams would not only take these players in their squads but have them starting their first game. It almost seems unfair that they’re stealing Deigo Costa. Unfair and unnecessary.
All the coaches involved will be hopping that the squad of 23 they have actually taken has the talent to take them to the pinnacle of international football. Lets just hope they don't regret anything they leave at home. To be fair, we have all had those packing nightmares. Better than a shampoo explosion.