Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Top 11 players omitted from Russia World Cup 2018 List

Here’s an Eleven of those who might think themselves unlucky to be omitted from their national teams heading to Russia

GK: Joe Hart – England

Admittedly, his form over the last couple of seasons (with Manchester City and then West Ham on loan) has not warranted a spot in England’s 23-man squad, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t a surprise that Hart missed out. The trio of goalkeepers Gareth Southgate did select — Jordan Pickford, Jack Butland and Nick Pope — don’t have a major tournament match between them, and the England head coach could easily have taken Hart as a more experienced head, knowing he was unlikely to play.


RB: Sergi Roberto – Spain

Spain have absurd strength in depth in most positions, but right-back might be, in a low-key sort of way, the deepest. They were able to leave out not only Sergi Roberto, right-back for the Spanish champions Barcelona, but also Arsenal’s Hector Bellerin. Still, looking at the squad that Julen Lopetegui did pick, you realise he didn’t have much of a choice. Dani Carvajal will probably start if he can recover fully from his injury, and as back-up there’s Cesar Azpilicueta and Alvaro Odriozola.

CB: Marc Bartra – Spain

Bartra might just be happy to be playing football, and playing it well, after the trauma he suffered in the bombing of the Borussia Dortmund team bus. But his form was so strong after joining Real Betis in the January transfer window that he might have been a late candidate for the Spain squad.

CB: Aymeric Laporte – France

Some players are made by a big move, but was Laporte’s chances of making France’s World Cup squad scuppered by one? The centre-back wasn’t exactly a regular for Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City side after joining from Athletic Bilbao in January, and hasn’t yet played for France, but it remains a curiosity that Adil Rami, Mamadou Sakho and Kurt Zouma (the latter pair only in the preliminary squad) are ahead of him in Didier Deschamps’ thinking.

LB: Alex Sandro – Brazil

It wasn’t staggering that the Juventus left-back didn’t make Tite’s Brazil squad: Marcelo is the stand-out for the position and Sandro has only played for the Selecao three times under the current coach. But given his quality, it is still strange that he hasn’t been given more chances.

CM: Radja Nainggolan – Belgium

Over 10,000 Belgium fans reportedly signed a petition demanding that Roma hardman Nainggolan travel to Russia with the Belgium squad, but Roberto Martinez wasn’t for turning. Martinez seemingly isn’t a fan of Nainggolan, and even though he went to Rome personally in order to break the news, the midfielder promptly retired from international football when it was announced.

CM: Nawaf Al-Abed – Saudi Arabia

He had only played 22 minutes of football since January, but Juan Antonio Pizzi’s decision to select playmaker Al-Abed in his preliminary squad suggested that he would be given every chance of making it. But no, Pizzi left out the Al-Hilal man at the deadline, due to his lack of fitness.


LW: Leroy Sane – Germany

Perhaps the decision that caused the most consternation. The public debate about Sane seemed to be whether he would get into the Germany starting XI, never mind the squad, so it was a huge shock that he was left out. “We needed balance,” said coach Joachim Loew. “If it was a 100 metre race between Sane and Julian Brandt, it would have been a photo finish.”

RW: Anthony Martial – France

A victim of Jose Mourinho or his own patchy form? Based purely on talent, you would think that Martial should be a shoo-in for the France squad, but such is their ludicrous depth of attacking strength, nothing less than a season of brilliance for Manchester United would have been enough. As it is, he couldn’t even get into the team most weeks.

FW: Mauro Icardi – Argentina

Finishing as Serie A’s Capocannoniere simply isn’t enough for some people. The 29 goals Icardi managed last season for Inter Milan didn’t cut it for Jorge Sampaoli, who opted for Gonzalo Higuain and Paulo Dybala instead. You can see his point, but Icardi can feel aggrieved at his continued omission.

FW: Alvaro Morata – Spain

A decision that not even the man who took it agreed with. Well, sort of. “It’s not nice, he deserved to be here,” said Lopetegui about the omission of Morata from the Spain squad. Yet an underwhelming season for Chelsea in which he only scored 11 goals did for Morata.

Top 11 players omitted from Russia World Cup 2018 List
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