It is every footballers’ dream to represent their nation in the world cup. With the biggest event in the world of sports just 15 days away, there were plenty of famous names who came close to a place in South Africa, but missed out. Here is a look at some famous players the spectacle in South Africa will definitely be missing…
Domenech up to his tricks again..
French coach Raymond Domenech’s team selection has yet again created controversy after he chose to overlook Karim Benzema and Samir Nasri in the squad of thirty.
Yes, Benzema didn’t enjoy a fairytale first season at Real Madrid but considering the fact that it was his first season outside Lyon, at the age of 22, he performed well enough to deserve a call. He appeared 33 times for Real in all competitions and scored 9 times with 4 assists. He has been overlooked at the expense of Jimmy Briand(Rennes) and Andre-Pierre Gignac(Toulouse). If contribution of the last season is to be taken into account then there is not much to choose between Gignac/Briand and Benzema, so Domenech has a firm argument for excluding Benzema from the world cup squad.
Domenech era – the dark era?
On the other hand, Samir Nasri has been omitted from the team that boasts of a midfield crowded with too many holding midfielders. It is evident that Domenech wants to play with at least two holding midfielders as he did in the world cup qualifiers. But if any of the wide players viz Ribery-Ben Arfa-Gourcuff gets injured, Nasri will be badly missed.
Injury to Gallas is still a concern for France.The latest news that has shocked France’s world cup preparation is the illness of Lassana Diarra, a regular for France in the world cup qualifiers, which has forced his return to France for further treatment.
Maradona or Mad-adona?
Argentine legend-turned-coach Diego Maradona has already omitted Riquelme, their best playmaker, during the world cup qualifiers. Riquelme’s play making and creativity was sorely missed in the qualifiers and the team just about managed to qualify for the world cup. This month Maradona announced the final squad for the World Cup and ther has been some note-worthy exclusions.
Questions have been raised on the exclusions of Zanetti, Cambiasso and Gabi Milito from the team. However, it can be said that since Gabi was injured for the first half of the season and had played in only 11 matches this season, it is a correct decision to omit him from the final squad.
The contributions of both Zanetti and Cambiasso, on the other hand, cannot be overruled that easily. They played their hearts out for their club Inter Milan, securing an unprecedented treble for the club. Both of them had been immense as holding midfielders during the season and deserved a place in the Argentina squad.
Questions have been raised on the selection of Veron(Estudiantes) and Gutierrez(Newcastle), both of whom played in lesser known Leagues and competitions in the last season.
Maradona needs to get his tactics spot on as that is the only way he can vindicate his team selections.
Fabio is boss..
Fabio Capello has announced England’s provisional 30-man squad that includes a few uncapped players namely midfielder Adam Johnson and defender Richard Dawson.
One of the surprise elements was the inclusion of Jamie Carragher, who was personally talked out of retirement by Fabio Capello. As both Wes Brown and Joleon Lescott were unavailable due to injury and Glen Johnson is inexperienced in the international arena, Carragher could provide some much-needed stability and versatility.
With Gareth Barry selected, despite on-going concerns over the ankle injury he suffered during Manchester City’s defeat to Tottenham, Capello has decided not to call Owen Hargreaves. It had been predicted that even though the midfielder had played only one minute of senior football since October 2008, he would be chosen for the trip to South Africa on the basis of his wonderful performance in Germany’06.
Owen Hargreaves – No ticket for the Germany’06 hero
Bobby Zamora has failed to secure a place amongst the final 30 despite his outstanding contribution to Fulham’s excellent season. He may not be an England international quality player, but Heskey’s selection may have left Bobby feeling slightly unlucky.
Aston Villa’s young talents Ashley Young and Gabby Agbonlahor were unlucky to miss out as well. Capello preferred Chelsea’s Joe Cole instead of Young.
A Löw blow..
Germany’s 30-man squad did not have a place for Torsten Frings. The veteran midfielder was made aware of this decision by Joachim Löw beforehand but this could, in all probability, backfire as Germany are poised to miss the services of Ballack, Simon Rolfes and Christian Träsch – all out injured with Träsch being the latest casualty.
In their absence, the midfield will have to be marshalled by Schweinsteiger, Trochowski and a hoard of young players who have never reperesented Germany in a World cup.
Veteran Bayern München goalkeeper Jörg Bütt also got a call as Rene Adler, the German number one has been ruled out due to injury.
Kevin Kuranyi’s hope of making to his last world cup appearance for his country was also left unfulfilled as Löw preferred the younger players like Cacau, Kießling and Thomas Müller apart from the usual suspects Klose, Gomez and Podolski.
Brazil coach Dunga’s 23 player squad to feature in this year’s world cup was also up for debate. Playmaker Ronaldinho and striker Adriano will both miss the World Cup in South Africa after being omitted from the squad.
Wolfsburg striker Grafite is the surprise inclusion at the expense of Flamengo’s Adriano. Dunga explained Adriano’s failure to make the squad was a rational decision after the former Inter Milan forward was granted numerous chances to impress and failed to do so.
Ronaldinho had done well for Milan in this season scoring 15 times with 16 assists in 43 games played. But he was overlooked based on his poor form on international duties.This could be very crucial to Brazil’s chances in the upcoming world cup as the two-time Fifa world player of the year has the experience and pedigree to change a game single-handedly.
Alexandre Pato, the exciting young talent, has also been overlooked despite notching up 14 goals in 25 games for Milan in all competitions this season. This was understandable as Pato failed to impress in the Brazilian outfit each time he was given a chance, scoring only 1 goal in 8 matches he has played.
A disappointed Pato!
Diego, as expected, has missed the cut after a horrible season with Juventus. The exclusion of Chelsea defender Alex could be vital. Alex proved his grit and mettle as a quality centre-half in the 2nd half of the season giving solidity to the brittle backline of Chelsea. Perhaps he was excluded as he was injured for the better part of last season but his premier league experience could have come in handy for the Brazilians.
Defending World Champions Italy had also named a provisional 30-man squad and then reduced it to 28.
Manager Lippi had originally named Fabio Grosso as part of a 30-man squad, but has now omitted the left-back as well as Udinese midfielder Antonio Candreva. Grosso has been in poor form for Juventus, who finished a miserable seventh in Serie A this term.
Defender Legrottaglie of Juventus has also been overlooked on the same basis. Nesta refused to come out of retirement from international football. Luca Toni, Italy’s main striker in World cup 2006 and at Euro 2008, had been disappointing throughout the season and misses the flight to Africa.
Roma midfielder Francesco Totti has also missed out, despite being expected to come out of retirement. The 33-year-old quit the national team after helping Italy win the 2006 World Cup but there had been speculation that he could return. Totti was in prolific form this season scoring 25 times in 31 matches. Even though he wasn’t as much prolific for the national team ever, his recent form could have proved handy for Italy this time around.
Not aboard the Spanish Armada..
Reigning European champions, Spain, have announced their final squad for the World cup.
Marcos Senna is a notable omission in Spain’s 23-man squad ahead of next month’s World Cup in South Africa. Senna’s club team-mate Santi Cazorla, another Euro 2008 winner, was another to miss out having only started nine games for Villarreal this season.
Coach Vicente del Bosque sprung three surprises including Barcelona pair, Victor Valdes and Pedro and Athletic Bilbao midfielder Javi Martinez. Pedro scored 23 times for Barca this season and was an automatic choice. Javi Martinez grabbed the headlines in April when he scored twice in a 4-1 win over Almeria, including a brilliant second where he left several defenders for dead with a weaving run.
Hotly touted 19-year-old attackers Bojan Krkic, of Barcelona, and Racing Santander’s Sergio Canales both missed out, along with the country’s veteran record scorer Raul.
Fernando Llorente was selected ahead of Fenerbache striker Dani Guiza, who had been a regular in the past two seasons and was on the Euro 2008 team. These exlusions may not hurt the European Champs as they have enough quality to find replacements for almost all the positions.
TheHardTackle’s casualty XI:
Here is a commendable team that can be made with the players who either failed to impress the coach of the national team or were out injured but could have proven to be pivotal to their nation’s cup hopes.
Azpilicueta Alex Legrottaglie Grosso
Subs: Diego Lopez, Cambiasso, Adriano, Javier Zanetti, Juan Riquelme, Ashley Young, Samir Nasri