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Friday 22 August 2014

World Cup absentees Dream Team - the best XI you won't see in Brazil

Declan Whooley

Published 14/05/2014 | 10:48

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Kaka will be one of a number of well-known players not involved in the World Cup
Kaka will be one of a number of well-known players not involved in the World Cup

The announcement of World Cup squads has ensured some high-profile players will be absent from Brazil this summer. Combined they would make a formidable side.

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As ever, there was as much analysis of the players that will not be participating in the World Cup as those that were actually chosen by their respective managers.

Some (Ronaldinho) were expected to miss out, others (Isco) were more surprising.

In a flexible 3-5-2, with Michael Carrick sitting in front of the defence and Kaka playing in the hole behind the strikers, we have chosen a team that would give any side a good run for their money.

Goalkeeper

Victor Valdes (Spain)

While the Barcelona keeper hasn’t been omitted as such, injury cruelly brought an end to his career at the Nou Camp and possibly his last opportunity to perform in a World Cup Finals.

Defenders

Ashley Cole (England)

A 107-cap international career was brought to an end when Roy Hodgson decided that Leighton Baines and Luke Shaw were the way forward for England. On his day the best in the world and even now would still hold his own against most full-backs in the tournament.

Alvara Arbeloa (Spain)

A surprise omission from Vicente del Bosque’s squad, Arbeloa has struggled with injuries in the second half of this season for Real Madrid. The 31 year-old has won the European Cup with La Roja in 2008 and 2012, as well as the World Cup in 2010.

Gael Clichy (France)

The Manchester City full-back was part of the French squads at the last World Cup and also Euro 2012, but loses out to the inexperienced Lucas Digne of Paris Saint-Germain.

Midfielders

Michael Carrick (England)

The Manchester United midfielder isn’t the most spectacular player to have been over-looked, but his ability to retain possession will be missed within a highly inexperienced English midfield, Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard aside.

Samir Nasri (France)

Has not always found international football to his liking and his model girlfriend went on a furious Twitter rant when she discovered the news that the Manchester City player had been overlooked, something the player himself said he expected.

His troublesome reputation has counted against him, with manager Didier Deschamps admitting as much during the squad announcement.

“I built the best squad, I did not pick the 23 best French players,” he said.

Philippe Coutinho (Brazil)

Despite claims that the current crop of Brazilians are nowhere near the standard set by previous teams, midfield is still a competitive area as Liverpool’s in-form Coutinho found out to his cost.

Isco (Spain)

Two years after winning the Golden Boy award for the best young player in Europe, the Real Madrid player has paid the price for a season of personal struggle at the Bernabeu.

A victim of Carlo Ancelotti's tactical tweaks and the fact Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale occupy his favoured positions, the 22 year-old didn’t even make the stand-by list.

Kaka (Brazil)

The 32 year-old already has a World Cup winner’s medal from 2002, but won’t get the chance to add a second in his homeland.

Has found a new lease of life since adopting a more defensive role at AC Milan under Clarence Seedorf, similar to Steven Gerrard at Liverpool, though admitted he was not surprised that he was over-looked by Luiz Felipe Scolari.

Forwards

Carlos Tevez (Argentina)

The Juvents striker scored 19 goals in Serie A this season, but it wasn’t enough to convince coach Alejandro Sabella of his inclusion, failing to even make the stand-by list.

Mario Gomez (Germany)

Gomez' record with Germany is impressive with 25 goals in 59 games, but in the end was deemed surplus to requirements.

The former Bayern Munich star was a steady fixture in the previous World Cup where Germany reached the semi-finals

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