Best XI not to make the World Cup: Feat. Chelsea, Manchester United, Liverpool stars

Qualification for the World Cup is all but over, and for some players, so is the dream of playing in Brazil next summer - who makes it into the team?

Goalkeeper: Petr Cech (Czech Republic, Chelsea)

Chelsea's shot stopper will not play in Brazil, missing out on yet another World Cup. Still one of the finest keepers in the world, Cech's presence will be missed next summer.

Right Back: Lukasz Piszczek (Poland, Borussia Dortmund)

Dortmund's rise to prominence one again has allowed Piszczek to become a top right back in world football. Poland fell short in Group H, as England took top spot and Ukraine secured a playoff place.

Centre Back: Nemanja Vidic (Serbia, Manchester United)

Vidic may not quite be the player he was, but he's still a tough, intimidating defender. Serbia's qualification campaign was slightly disappointing, as they finished three points behind Croatia in second place. Manager Sinisa Mihajlovic has now quit, taking the job at Sampdoria in Serie A.

Centre Back: Daniel Agger (Denmark, Liverpool)

Agger's Denmark finished in second place in Group B, but missed out on the playoffs as the ninth placed playoff-eligible team, when there were only eight spots. The 28 year old is a technically sound defender who is Liverpool's best centre back when fit.

Left Back: David Alaba (Austria, Bayern Munich)

Alaba may even be the best left back in the world after consistently impressive performances for Bayern Munich, but being Austrian, he may well struggle to qualify for a major tournament, though they finished just three points behind Sweden in Group C.

Right Midfield: Arda Turan (Turkey, Atletico Madrid)

Turkish wing maestro Turan has been linked with moves to Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester United in recent times, and is a key player for Diego Simeone's Atletico side. Turkey finished fourth in Group D, which was a huge disappointment, with Hungary, Romania and group winners Holland finishing above them.

Central Midfield: Marek Hamsik (Slovakia, Napoli)

Playmaker Hamsik has consistently been a danger man for Napoli, and has also been linked with Manchester United. His reputation as a goalscoring midfielder has earned him rave reviews over the years, and whilst his record with Slovakia isn't stellar, he's still a threat from midfield.

Central Midfield: Nuri Sahin (Turkey, Borussia Dortmund)

An underwhelming loan spell with Liverpool may have clouded people's judgement of Sahin, but his return to Dortmund has rejuvenated his career. A skilful deep-lying playmaker, the 25 year old is already closing in on 50 caps for his country and remains a key player.

Left Midfield: Gareth Bale (Wales, Real Madrid)

Was there any doubt that Bale would be in this team? Now the world's most expensive player, Bale was hamstrung by a team that couldn't offer anywhere near the same amount of quality. His pace and direction on the flanks is always a danger to defences and it's actually quite a shame that he won't get a chance to show that in Brazil.

Striker: Robert Lewandowski (Poland, Borussia Dortmund)

Lewandowski's club form has never really been replicated at international level, but you can't deny his goalscoring prowess. 18 goals in 56 games for Poland isn't terrible, but with more goals, the Poles may have made the playoffs. Still, 88 goals in 156 games for Dortmund shows his predatory instincts.

Striker: Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Sweden, Paris Saint-Germain)

The greatest shame of the World Cup is that we won't see Zlatan. Capable of the downright ridiculous – see the 35 yard overhead kick against England – Ibrahimovic's nonchalant attitude will be sorely missed. He tried his best to haul Sweden back into their playoff tie against Portugal, but found himself basically working on his own.


Pisczcek – Vidic -Agger - Alaba

Turan – Hamsik – Sahin – Bale

Lewandowski – Ibrahimovic

Subs: Wojciech Szczesny (Poland, Arsenal), Neven Subotic (Serbia, Borussia Dortmund), Branislav Ivanovic (Serbia, Chelsea), Aaron Ramsey (Wales, Arsenal), Henrikh Mkhitaryan (Armenia, Borussia Dortmund), Jakub Blasczykowski (Poland, Borussia Dortmund) , Stevan Jovetic (Montenegro, Manchester City)

image: © Ben Sutherland

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