Friday, November 22, 2013

The Best Footballers NOT going to the 2014 World Cup!

On Wednesday night the thirty-second and final remaining place for the 2014 World Cup finals in Rio was secured by Uruguay. Earlier in the day Mexico completed the formalities of defeating New Zealand and so the teams heading to Brazil were confirmed.

However some high profile teams will be missing next summer at one of the biggest sporting events in the world including the likes of Sweden, Ukraine, Poland, Czech Republic, Serbia and Denmark. Along with these missing teams there are some tremendously talented players who will also absent from footballs greatest global stage.

GK: Petr Cech - (Czech Republic)
Chelsea’s stalwart will not be adding to his 105 caps for Czech Republic this summer as Cech misses out on his second World Cup in succession. Cech played in every minute of his nation's group stage qualifying campaign but was unable to secure their place in Brazil. The Chelsea shot-stopper conceded nine goals in ten matches as his side finished third in the group. However at 31 Cech should not give up hope of featuring in Russia 2018. The giant goalkeeper remains a vital player for club and country.

RB: Lukasz Piszczek - (Poland)
Borussia Dortmund's marauding full-back (right) misses out. The Pole loves to gallop forward and is great in doing so. It's a shame we will not see this mans bursting runs forward in Brazil. Piszczek scored twice in qualifying but could not help Poland out of England’s group.

CB: Daniel Agger - (Denmark)
Denmark's leading scorer during World Cup qualifying, Agger (extreme right) was incredibly unlucky not to make the World Cup, with his side the only country to finish second in their qualifying group and miss out on a play-off spot.

CB: Branislav Ivanovic - (Serbia)
The Chelsea defender was one of only two players to take the field in every one of Serbia's matches during qualifying but his side performed poorly, missing out on a play-off place to rivals Croatia

LB: David Alaba - (Austria)
Placed in a qualifying group alongside Germany and Sweden, the Bayern Munich full-back was unable to guide Austria to their first World Cup since 1998 - although he contributed more than most, leading the goalscoring ranks with six strikes.

DM: Nemanja Matic - (Serbia)
The Benfica midfielder only returned to the international fold in September after a lengthy absence but will be missed in Brazil. Last season's Primera Liga 'Player of the Year' has established himself as one of Europe’s most impressive combative midfielders.

LM: Gareth Bale - (Wales)
Ryan Giggs, Mark Hughes and Ian Rush never managed to play in a major international tournament and the world's most expensive footballer will not feature in Rio, but the 24 year-old has time on his side. He will be focusing on helping Wales qualify for The 2016 UEFA European Championships, which will be held in France.

RM: Arda Turan - (Turkey)
Turan is one of Atletico Madrid’s prized assets, having made his move to Spain from Galatasaray in 2011. The 26-year-old is also a very influential member of the Turkey squad, creating 29 chances for his Turkish teammates in qualifying. Turan also has 13 goals in his international career to date.

AM: Marek Hamsik - (Slovakia)
Napoli midfielder Hamsik is most definitely the name that catches the eye when scanning the Slovakia squad. Hamsik has attracted a lot of attention across Europe and is another key name that will be missing out on the World Cup in 2014, after Slovakia finished well behind Bosnia-Herzegovina and Greece in qualifying.

ST: Robert Lewandowski (Poland)
Currently leading the Bundesliga goalscoring charts with nine goals in 12 games, Lewandowski (right) could only help his nation finish fourth in England's qualifying group.

ST: Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Sweden)
The mercurial Swede, famed for his spectacular goals as well as his outrageous comments, did his bit in the play-off against Portugal, scoring twice but he could not haul a below par Swedish side to the finals.

Other noticeable absentees:

Gylfi Sigurdsson - (Iceland) Iceland's fairytale came to an end with a 2-0 play-off defeat against Croatia, which means the Tottenham midfielder will not make his debut at a World Cup finals.

Aaron Ramsey - (Wales) The Arsenal star has improved beyond recognition this season and now boast statistics to rival any midfielder in Europe. It would have been fascinating to see if Ramsey could replicate his stunning club form on the world stage in Brazil.

Christian Eriksen - (Denmark) The Denmark midfielder (right) is yet to make his mark in the Premier League this season, but he created more goalscoring chances than any other player in the Eredivisie (Dutch League) with Ajax last season.

Andriy Yarmalenko - (Ukraine) Yarmolenko can play as a winger or as a centre-forward. The 24 year-old plays his club football for Dynamo Kiev and has an excellent goal scoring record for both club and country.

Henrik Mkhitaryan - (Armenia) The Borussia Dortmund maestro has impressed in the Bundesliga this season but remains hampered at the international level by one of Europe's weaker teams. Mkhitaryan played every minute of qualifying and inspired impressive results like the 2-2 draw against Italy in Naples, but it wasn't enough.

Neven Subotić - (Serbia) Subotić has dazzled for Borussia Dortmund, but his national team didn't cut the mustard. To add to his woes it was recently confirmed he will miss the rest of the season with a serious knee injury.

Stevan Jovetic - (Montenegro)
Montenegro have risen rapidly since they gained independence in 2008 and Manchester City's £22million forward has been a key player during that time.

Matija Nastasic - (Serbia)
The third Serbian defender on this list, it is a wonder how they do not have a better defensive record, but at 20 years of age Nastasic still has plenty of time ahead of him to make it to a World Cup.

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