With the 2014 World Cup in Brazil starting on Thursday, fans, nations, players and coaches everywhere are prepping for the battle of the cup. With stacked teams such as Spain, Italy, Germany and Brazil, filling a 23 man roster is hard because there are so many young and talented players. Making the roster and being given a chance to play for your country and bring home the cup is something people only dream of.
Unfortunately, many people are left off rosters for various reasons, marking the end of someone’s career or making an up and coming player wait four more years to compete on the pitch. With that being said, here are 8 notable player absences from this year’s World Cup rosters.
8. Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Forward, Sweden
Ibrahimovic and Sweden missed Brazil this year after drawing Portugal in the second round of qualifying and losing to Cristiano Ronaldo and Co. 0-1 and 2-3. The last time Sweden qualified for the World Cup was in 2006 but lost in the second round to Germany, the host team.
7. Rafael van der Vaart, Midfield, Netherlands
Rafael was left off the Netherlands squad after suffering a calf injury in a training session. The experienced van der Vaart last played in the World Cup championship final in 2010 in South Africa vs. Spain.
6. Theo Walcott, Midfield, England
Walcott is not on England’s 23-man roster for Brazil after rupturing his ACL in a Premier League match in January. England will definitely miss the 25-year-olds speed and playmaking ability out on the pitch.
5. Franck Ribéry, Forward, France
Widely considered one of the best players in the world and France’s top playmaker, Ribery won’t be playing in Brazil due to a nagging back injury that has forced him to sit out this year’s World Cup. The game is better when he is on the field so this is a big blow to France.
4. Radamel Falcao, Forward, Colombia
The 28-year-old made the initial 30-man roster but was left off the final 23-man squad after determining he wasn’t fit enough to compete after suffering a knee injury in January which resulted in surgery. Colombia is losing a top notch goal scorer and will need someone to step up and fill in for Falcao, as they face Greece, Ivory Coast and Japan in Brazil.
3. Riccardo Montolivo, Midfield, Italy
The 29-year-old Italian midfielder will not compete in Brazil after fracturing his shinbone in a game on Saturday May 31st. Montolivo is AC Milan’s captain and is known for his experience and composure on the field. Italy has a big hole to fill if they want to go far in Brazil.
2. Marco Reus, Midfield, Germany
Team Germany took a big hit Saturday when star player, Marco Reus, went down with an ankle injury that will sideline him and end his hopes of playing in Brazil. Reus was injured in a friendly against Armenia in which the Germans won 6-1. Reus had 5 goals and 3 assists for Germany in the UEFA World Cup qualifiers.
1. Landon Donovan, Forward, United States
In what perhaps is one of the biggest snubs in sports history, the face of U.S. soccer, the hero and the player with the most U.S. soccer experience and success, Landon Donovan, was left off of coach Jürgen Klinsmann’s 23-man roster. In a move that surprised the entire country, Klinesmann decided to leave Donovan off the squad and instead chose Chris Wondolowski. Good luck, Chris! Everybody already doesn’t like you. You are no Landon.
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