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Players who will miss the World Cup due to injuries

Theo Walcott 2-0 Gesture v Tottenham

Unlike Diego Costa, who should be fit for the World Cup despite a hamstring injury, many top international stars will be absent from Brazil.

Spain striker Diego Costa was left in tears when he came off in the early stages of Atletico Madrid’s title-winning 1-1 draw with Barcelona.

However, the 25-year-old is one of the lucky ones as it appears that he will make the World Cup in Brazil, which is being held in the country of his birthplace.

By contrast, there are plenty of top footballers set to watch from the sidelines due to injuries, which have either ruled them out completely or cost them playing time to impress their national managers and make the 30-man provisional squads.

Most recently, France goalkeeper Steve Mandanda cracked a vertebra in his neck while playing for Marseille last weekend.

The most common problem, though, is the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) which has kept at least a dozen players in the treatment room.

The long list of footballers who had a chance of representing their country until injuring their ACL includes: Theo Walcott and Jay Rodriguez (both England), Abou Diaby (France), Holger Badstuber (Germany), Kevin Strootman (Netherlands), Victor Valdes and Jese Rodriguez (both Spain), Bruma (Portgual), Robbie Kruse (Australia), Jonathan dos Santos (Mexico) and Stuart Holden (USA).

Radamel Falcao could have been on that list after suffering a knee injury in January, but Colombia have included him in their squad, banking on him getting fit for their final group game and beyond.

Everton’s Bryan Oviedo also missed the cut for Costa Rica’s squad courtesy of a double leg-break midway through the season, as did Tottenham Hotspur’s Erik Lamela for Argentina with his ongoing back troubles.

Back problems also mean that Borussia Dortmund and Germany midfielder Ilkay Gundogan will be watching from home, while the Netherlands were unable to select Gregory van der Wiel and Jetro Willems, who have respective knee issues.

Portugal’s Silvio Manuel Pereira horrifically fractured both his tibia and fibula while playing for Benfica last month, England’s Andros Townsend damaged ankle ligaments at the end of April, and a cracked kneecap prevented Alvaro Arbeloa from impressing Spain boss Vicente del Bosque at the end of the season – the Real Madrid defender announced his retirement from international football on Tuesday.

Finally, Achilles tendon injuries have cost Christian Benteke of Belgium and Bright Dike of Nigeria their tickets on the flight to Brazil.

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