Fifa World Cup 2018: Some of football's finest whom the selectors dropped

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Adrenaline is running high for millions of football lovers as only 14 days are left for the Russia World Cup 2018 kickoff. The 32 teams participating in the tournament have announced their final squads for the tournament. The 23 man squad announced by the teams have some surprise exclusions.

Here are some of the biggest names omitted from their respective national squads:

Germany:  Mario Gotze and Andre Schurrle

Mario Gotze. (Photo: Shuttershock)

The two men responsible for the goal that won Germany the World Cup in 2014 are not included in the German National Team. Mario Gotze will be the first player to score the winner in a World Cup final and then not return for the following World Cup since 1978, when Gerd Muller did not return to the West Germany squad after scoring in 1974. Gotze spent a lot of time on the sidelines last season with a muscle problem. Germany manager Joachim Low reasoned in a recent interview said, "It wasn't his season; he did not show what his qualities are. He just did not have any form."


Andre Schurrle has been a full international for Germany since 2010, gaining over 50 caps and scoring 20 goals. He was a member of the German squads which reached the semi-finals at UEFA Euro 2012 and won the 2014 FIFA World Cup.

Latest form: Gotze had two goals and three assists in 23 appearances for Dortmund this season. Schurrle managed just one goal and four assists in 18 appearances, but only started 11 games for the club.

Other exclusions in the 23 member squad: Shkrodan Mustafi, Benedikt Howedes

Argentina: Mauro Icardi

Mauro Icardi. (Photo: Shuttershock)

Icardi is a 25-year-old Argentine forward who plays as a striker for Italian club Internazionale. His exclusion is surprising as he was in good form last season, scoring 29 goals in 34 appearances in Serie A.

His off-field misdemeanours might have contributed to his omission as previous Argentina bosses too have dropped him for his conduct.

In an official statement, Argentina boss Jorge Sampaoli said, "We came to this list after long and meticulous analysis. The players I called up identify with our style of play as closely as possible. Icardi, Perotti and Papu Gomez won't come to Russia with us, but they're still good players, who could be in our attack."

Other omissions: Javier Pastore, Ezequiel Lavezzi, Enzo Perez

France: Anthony Martial and Alexandre Lacazette

Anthony Martial. (Photo: Shuttershock)

Anthony Martial: 22-year-old French forward who plays as a left winger for English club Manchester United.  Last season, he scored nine goals and made five assists in 18 appearances in the Premier League. He slipped out of the starting 11 after the arrival of Chilean forward Alexis Sanchez at Old Trafford, and was shifted to the bench for the latter part of the last season.

When questioned about his decision to drop Martial, France boss Didier Deschamps said, "It's always difficult. I was confronted with choices between a lot of players with a lot of quality. I know I can't make all the players happy."

Alexandre Lacazette: Lacazette is a French professional footballer who plays as a striker for Premier League club Arsenal.

He was a part of the starting line-up in the Europa League Final for Arsenal and has carried the Gunners attack whole

season after Olivier Giroud departed from the club. His omission in the National Team comes as a surprise with the inclusion of AS Monaco's Thomas Lemar. One of the reasons for his exclusion may be Deschamps'preference to play the front 2 strikers, one as a target man and the other as a fast pacy striker.

Deschamps has also explained regarding the omission. Speaking to Daily Metro, he said, "I have had these two players in several situation, as starters and substitutes. I have a complete analysis based on what they have shown me and the role they could have in the squad at the World Cup. Alex was injured in March, Anthony was back.

"There is especially strong competition. I consider Giroud, Griezmann, Mbappe and Fekir as axial strikers, even if they can play in other positions".

"Just watch Mbappe's performance in this position against Russia recently. I think there is no point in accumulating multiple players in the same position."

Other exclsuions: Mathieu Debuchy, Lucas Digne, Christophe Jallet, Mamadou Sakho, Aymeric Laporte, Kurt Zouma, Dayot Upamecano, Tiemoue Bakayoko, Adrien Rabiot, Moussa Sissoko

England: Jack Wilshere and Joe Hart

Jack Wilshere. (Photo: Shuttershock)

Jack Wilshere: Arsenal's Jack Wilshere made 38 appearances in all competitions in 2017-18 with two goals and five assists. This was his second highest total for Arsenal after 2010-11 (49 games). But Gareth Southgate overlooked him and considered other midfielding options like Eric Dier and Fabian Delph. Wilshere fitness condition might be a reason for his exclusion as he has yet to feature for England under Southgate. He was called up for the squad for the March friendlies against Holland and Italy but had to withdraw with a knee injury.

Joe Hart: Hart made his senior international debut in June 2008, and was recognised as England's first-choice goalkeeper from 2010 to 2017. He has amassed 75 international caps and was selected in England's squads for two FIFA World Cups and as many UEFA European Championships. An interesting statistics relating Joe Hart is of players to have played at least 500 minutes in the 2017-18 Premier League season, Joe Hart made an error leading to an opposition goal more frequently than anybody else (one every 428 minutes), according to OptaJoe.

Speaking on the exclusion, head coach Southgate said, "With Joe, we’ve got three other goalkeepers who have had very good seasons and the decision I was faced with was do I keep Joe in and have experience around the group? Or give the three guys who have basically had a better season a chance?"

Othe exclusions: Adam Lallana, Chris Smalling, Ryan Bertrand,  Jermain Defoe,  Jonjo Shelvey, Ross Barkley,  Fraser Forster

Spain: Cesc Fabregas and Alvaro Morata

Both Cesc Fabregas and Juan Mata have been excluded from the Spain National Team. (Photo: Shuttershock)

Alvaro Morata: No other player has scored more goals for Spain than Alvaro Morata since his debut on November 2014 (level with David Silva), according to Opta Joe. However, he was overlooked with the inclusion of Iago aspas, who scored 20 goals for Celta Vigo. Morata, who scored five goals in qualifying, had been a regular in head coach Julen Lopetegui's squads until March, when he was dropped after losing his starting place at Chelsea. AFP quoted Lopetegui, "The decision is always difficult because of the talent of the players we have. We have opted for three other players who had different assets and including four players up front was not something we wanted to do."

Cesc Fabregas: Fàbregas made his debut for the Spanish national team in March 2006. He represented his country in the 2006 FIFA World Cup, UEFA Euro 2008, 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup, 2010 World Cup, Euro 2012, 2013 Confederations Cup, the 2014 World Cup and Euro 2016. He was a key figure in Spain's European Championship victories in 2008 and 2012 and their 2010 World Cup triumph in which he assisted Andrés Iniesta's winning goal in the final. On 12 October 2015, Fàbregas earned his 100th cap for Spain.

Other exclusions: Pedro, Juan Mata, Sergi Roberto, Hector Bellerin, Ander Herrera, Victor Machin, Marcos Alonso, Marc Bartra, Illarramendi, Javi Martinez,  Iker Cassilas

Brazil: Oscar and David Luiz

David Luiz. (Photo: Shuttershock)

David Luiz: Luiz, who last played for his national side in a 4-0 friendly win over Australia in March, is not part of Brazil national team. David Luiz made his full international debut for Brazil in 2010, and has since earned over 50 caps for his country. His exclusion seems no surprise as he was out of favour by Antonio Conte and had a troublesome season with injuries.

Oscar: A former Chelsea forward, signed for Chinese Super League side Shanghai SIPG for an Asian transfer record of £60 million in December 2016.  He has been vocal about his indifference to World Cup inclusion and has been quoted to have said: “I don’t care if I go to the World Cup or no, I’m only criticized for coming to China, I personally think of my family, and my future. I don’t want to get poor when I am old and live on memories that I played in the World Cup.”

The five-time World Cup winners called only six players from Brazil's 2014 FIFA World Cup squad, namely– Thiago Silva, Marcelo, Fernandinho, Paulinho, Neymar and Willian.

Other  exclusions:  GoalKeeper: Neto (Valencia); Defenders: David Luiz (Chelsea), Alex Sandro (Paris Saint-Germain), Jemerson (Monaco); Midfielders: Fabinho(Monaco), Oscar (Shanghai SIPG FC); Forwards: Lucas Moura (Paris Saint-Germain), Willian Jose (Real Sociedad), Hulk (Shanghai SIPG FC)

Portugal: Renato Sanches, Nani, Ricardo Carvalho, Fabio Coentrao, Andre Gomes, Eder, Nelson Semedo

Renato Sanches. (Photo: Shuttershock)

Coach Fernando Santos included nine players who started the final against France at Euro 2016. The only two starters from the final who will not make it are Nani and Renato Sanches.

Among the other European champions not going to the World Cup are Ricardo Carvalho, Andre Gomes and Eder, who scored the title-winning goal against the hosts in extra time.


Radja Nainggolan. (Photo: Shuttershock)
One of the surprise exclusion was of Radja Nainggolan. He was left out of two squads at the start of the current season, with reports claiming his bad-boy image was to blame for his absence. He was a part of the AS Roma team who reached the semi-final of the Champions League and played a key part in their campaign. Following the exclusion, he has retired from international football.  "The reason that Radja's not in the squad is purely a tactical decision," head coach Roberto Martinez told reporters.

Other exclusions: Divock Origi,  Kevin Mirallas

Point to be noted: Players who were left off due to injury are not included in the list. Business Standard will do a separate article about the same.  

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