The likes of Lionel Messi, Neymar, Cristiano Ronaldo and Luis Suarez might be all hoping to light up the World Cup this summer, but spare a thought for the other great players on this planet who will be watching Brazil 2014 on the box like the rest of us.
Whether it be due to where they were born, an untimely injury or being (they reckon) unfairly overlooked, here we present our best XI of the players who won’t be at the World Cup.
Petr Cech, Czech Republic
The evergreen Chelsea goalkeeper put in another excellent season between the sticks for Jose Mourinho’s men.
Unfortunately his national side haven’t performed all that well in recent years and managed to finish only third in their qualification group behind Italy and Denmark.
Ashley Cole, England
Ashley Cole has been one of the most consistent left-backs in the world for ages, but Jose Mourinho decided he would overlook this fact when leaving him on the bench all season at Chelsea.
With Leighton Baines making the position his own for England and young upstart Luke Shaw appearing from nowhere to fill the reserve spot, Cole was left at home by Roy Hodgson… and promptly retired from international football.
Seamus Coleman, Republic of Ireland
Everton have a couple of brilliant fullbacks… but the one of the right, the marauding talent that is Seamus Coleman, happens to be from Ireland so had little chance of featuring in this summer’s World Cup.
They finished only fourth in their qualifying group, but at least they managed to stay ahead of Kazakhstan and the Faroe Islands.
Nemanja Vidic, Serbia
Serbia were beaten to second spot in their qualifying group (which Belgium ran away with) by massive local rivals Croatia so the ex-Man United stopper won’t feature in the World Cup.
Vidic has great poise and his instinctive positional sense means he is often in the right place to snuff out danger, traits he’ll need in Serie A after his move to Inter Milan.
John Terry, England
Okay, not the most likeable character in the world, but it has to be said, this lad can defend.
No one will ever know whether Terry would have added or detracted from England’s efforts in Brazil, but his partnership at Chelsea with Gary Cahill has been rock solid at times this season and had circumstances been (very) different, few would begrudge him a place on the plane to the World Cup.
Gareth Bale, Wales
He might be one of the most expensive players in the history of the game and he might just have won the Champions League with Real Madrid having scored in the final… but the fact remains that Gareth Bale is unlikely to ever play at the World Cup.
Sorry, Gareth but it’s true. Wales just aren’t very good.
Marek Hamšík, Slovakia
Often lauded more for his silly hair than his talent, the Napoli midfielder is starting to fulfil the potential he has shown for so long.
Sadly for him, he won’t be able to show off his skills (or latest hairstyle) at the World Cup after Slovakia finished third behind Bosnia and Herzegovina and Greece in their group.
Arda Turan, Turkey
An integral part of Diego Simeone’s La Liga-winning side, Turan is young, fast, skilful and hungry for success.
His national side Turkey haven’t been in the finest of fettle recently, however, and had to settle for fourth spot in their qualifying group behind Netherlands, Romania and Hungary.
Zlatan Ibrahimović, Sweden
Embed from Getty Images
Arguably the most talented striker who won’t be playing in Brazil this summer, the purists were disappointed when it was assured that either he or Cristiano Ronaldo would miss out after Sweden were drawn against Portugal in a play-off to make it to the World Cup.
It’s a shame they couldn’t both be there, but on balance we’d prefer the preening, pouting genius that is CR7. Sorry, Zlatan.
Radamel Falcao, Colombia
Embed from Getty Images
Monaco striker Radamel Falcao is out of the World Cup despite his side having made it after sustaining a nasty anterior cruciate ligament injury back in January. His coach left it to the very last minute, but Falcao lost the battle for fitness.
It’s awful luck for the slick, quick and dangerous striker… but then on the other hand, England might play Colombia in the Round of 16, so it’s probably for the best!
Robert Lewandowski, Poland
Bayern Munich-bound Robert Lewandowski is a fine talent, but his goals weren’t enough to propel his country Poland to the World Cup, partly because they were in a group with Roy Hodgson’s mighty England side!