If you are a diehard football fan, then the coming month is going to be an absolute sensation for you as the quadrennial FIFA World Cup is back, and is going to have its first edition in a Middle-East State and during a winter season too. Many have already flown to Qatar and are well-prepared to shower their favourite national football team with support for them to make spectators proud. 32 participating nations have already submitted their squad for one of the largest sporting events in the world, and people are predicting the best 11 each country can field for their group fixture.
It is every professional football player’s ultimate dream to be a part of history by making into the FIFA World Cup and wearing their national kit with a sense of pride. But knowing that each national team can only submit a squad with a maximum of 26 players, some are destined not to board the plane to Qatar. Here is the best starting XI that is made up from players who were not picked for the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
GK: David de Gea (Spain)
Manchester United no. 1 has been its best player for many years but due to his playing style that does not suit Luis Enrique’s “Goalkeepers playing out from the back” approach for his Spain squad, he did not survive the cut and was not even selected for the 55-man initial squad. De Gea was Spain’s first-choice shot stopper in the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.
RB: Sergio Ramos (Spain)
Another Spaniard that did not make into Luis Enrique’s squad is former Real Madrid captain Sergio Ramos. Spain’s all-time appearance holder has accumulated a total of 180 caps since making his international debut in 2005, but a series of injuries and ageing factors have ruled him out of this year’s World Cup. At the age of 36, we are unlikely to see the Paris Saint-Germain defender again in the biggest stage of football.
CB: Mats Hummels (Germany)
Hummels was part of the Germany squad that won the 2014 FIFA World Cup, and his form with clubs namely Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund has always earned high praises. Nonetheless, the 33-year-old has fallen down the pecking order and has not made into the national squad since 2021.
CB: Fikayo Tomori (England)
The 24-year-old Calgary-born defender was crucial to AC Milan’s Serie A winning season in 2021/2022 and made into the Serie A Team of the Year last season. With inconsistent form to Manchester United’s captain Harry Maguire, it is a surprise that Tomori did not even make into the Three Lions squad, let alone starting for the team.
LB: Ferland Mendy (France)
The Real Madrid left-back has won a total of six titles within the span of three seasons for the Los Blancos since his transfer to the club from French Ligue 1 side Lyon. But these accolades, along with his 122 appearances for the La Liga giant were overlooked by the France boss Didier Deschamps.
CM: Thiago (Spain)
The Liverpool midfielder has played for La Roja 46 times now and won numerous awards individually and as a team player. But as he has not earned a call since 2021, it is only fair to not see him in the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
CM: Renato Sanches (Portugal)
The former Golden Boy winner has been struggling to meet expectations after starting his career on a high note. The 25-year-old midfielder played exceptionally well during Portugal’s 2016 UEFA European Championship run but suffered a career decline since then. Considering his age, there is plenty of time for him to bounce back and return to the international scene, but fans would have to wait as he is not in Portugal’s plan for the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
CM: Donny Van de Beek (The Netherlands)
The Dutchman has not been playing much professional football since his arrival at Old Trafford; Changes of bosses and injuries have limited more and more of his playing time with the Manchester club and the Netherlands national team. His exclusion from Louis van Gaal’s squad was expected.
RW: Jadon Sancho (England)
One can still remember the former Borussia Dortmund star missing a crucial penalty against the eventual champion Italy in the 2020 UEFA European Championship final. His long-awaited transfer after the Euro to Manchester United did not go as what spectators would imagine, with a mere eight goals in 52 appearances managed with the Red Devils. Such a form was never good enough to be considered by Gareth Southgate for his England squad as the Three Lions are stacked with attackers.
ST: Roberto Firmino (Brazil)
Firmino being axed from the Brazil squad is a sad scenario as the Seleção Canarinha has far too many options at front. Young guns such as Vinícius Júnior, Richarlison, Jesus, Antony, Raphinha, etc. have forced Firmino to make way for his junior international teammates.
LW: Anthony Martial (France)
Manchester United no. 9 has rediscovered his form this season despite limited playtime due to injuries, scoring four goals in seven matches in all competitions during the process. Even though the selected Christopher Nkunku suffered an injury during training after a clash with teammate Eduardo Camavinga, Didier Deschamps is not likely to make Martial his replacement either.
Who do you think from this squad deserves a call to the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar? Feel free to find out the predicted starting 11 for England in the World Cup.
(Photo Credits: FIFA)