World Cup snub XI: No place for Chelsea’s Cole here either
For all of the joy witnessed among players to be confirmed as being picked in their respective World Cup squads, there is sadness in equal measure for others that will have the summer off.
Below is a starting XI of those unfortunate to miss out, with Brazil, Argentina and Belgium each making two seemingly strange decisions.
Marc-Andre ter Stegen
The third goalkeeper spot for Germany went to Hannover’s Ron-Robert Zieler, but given Ter Stegen has just been signed by Barcelona at the age of 21, this seemed an ideal time to provide some further international experience, having already gained four caps.
Gregory van der Wiel
The first-choice right-back for Holland at the last World Cup, Van Der Wiel has been a regular for PSG this season, although there is speculation that he has been struggling with injury for much of the season, which has influenced Louis van Gaal’s decision.
Central defenders do not come off the Argentine conveyor belt as regularly as their attacking starlets and Abraham is one that has been unfortunate to never receive international recognition.
Alongside Roberto Firmino and Kevin Volland, he has helped a struggling Hoffenheim finish in the mid-table of the Bundesliga and his tackling, interception and clearance statistics are better than those of Napoli’s Federico Fernandez, who may even start for Argentina.
Displacing Thiago Silva, David Luiz and Dante is a big ask for anyone, but Atletico Madrid’s Champions League finalist could easily have been preferred to another Napoli defender in Henrique.
Another Brazilian defender has also failed to gain reward for a fine season with Atletico, with Luiz Felipe Scolari preferring the experience of Maxwell as back-up to Real Madrid’s Marcelo.
Nasri’s girlfriend made her feelings plain after his omission from the France squad, probably because of the greater risk posed in negatively impacting the harmony of the squad, rather than a lack of appreciation of his form.
Only one player in Serie A won possession in the middle third more often than Nainggolan this season as he helped Roma to second spot. Marc Wilmots obviously prefers Marouane Fellaini and Steven Defour as his midfield duo.
Spain certainly aren’t short of attacking, playmaking midfielders, but given that Santi Cazorla had a fairly quiet season at Arsenal and Jesus Navas was a bit-part player in Man City’s title bid, space could have been made for Isco to further his experience.
Tevez’ omission was no surprise, having gone three years without an international cap, but the decision seems even stranger given that Franco di Santo is in for Argentina after netting 18 league goals since 2008.
Batshuayi was the top scorer in the Belgian top-flight this season and picking him should have been easier after Christian Benteke was ruled out of the tournament. Instead, Wilmots picked uncapped teenager Divock Origi after five goals this season at Lille.
13 goals in 18 starts for Villarreal this season and the joint-fourth top scorer in Nigeria history has been left out in favour of minimally-capped striking trio Shola Ameobi, Uche Nwofor and Michael Uchebo.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
Fancy a flutter? Sign up today to claim up to £50 in free bets.