Football

World Cup 2014: Missing XI

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Sweden and Ibrahimovic won't be at Brazil 2014. (©GettyImages)
Sweden and Ibrahimovic won't be at Brazil 2014. (©GettyImages).

The World Cup lineup for next summer is almost complete with 31 of the 32 places sealed for Brazil 2014. With Uruguay taking a commanding 5-0 lead into their second leg against minnows Jordan on Wednesday night, it seems highly probable that the South Americans will be the final team at the tournament.

For the teams who failed to qualify, their players will have a little extra time on their hands. Here, we create a team of the best players spending their summer on the beaches...

Goalkeeper: Wojciech Szczesny, Poland

Despite helping club side Arsenal to the top of the Premier League, Szczesny will have to find another hobby for the summer. The Poles finished fourth in England's group, missing out on Brazil 2014.

Right-back: Lukasz Piszczek, Poland

The second Poland player in our team, Piszczek is a vital component of everyone's second team - Jurgen Klopp's Borussia Dortmund. With no football to look forward to this summer, Piszczek will be hoping he can help his club side topple the might Bayern Munich on the domestic front this season.

Centre-back: Branislav Ivanovic, Serbia

A towering presence for both club and country, Chelsea defender Ivanovic will miss out on a trip to Brazil next summer after Serbia narrowly finished third in their qualification group.

Centre-back: Daniel Agger, Denmark

Denmark captain and Liverpool defender Agger will sit out the World Cup next summer after failing to qualify in possibly the cruellest of ways. Denmark actually finished runners up in their group to Italy, but missed out on the play-offs by virtue of having the worst record of the nine runners-up in the European section of qualification. Ouch.

Left-back: David Alaba, Austria

Bayern Munich's energetic defender/midfielder will carry the hopes of Austria on his shoulders for the next decade as they attempt to qualify for a major tournament. The nation qualified for Euro 2008 by virtue of being co-hosts, but have failed to qualify for every World Cup since 1998.

Right-midfield: Arda Turan, Turkey

Part of Diego Simone's exciting Atletico Madrid side which are threatening to break the duopoly in Spanish football, Turan will miss the World Cup next summer after Turkey - who finished third in their last appearance World Cup appearance in 2002 - failed to qualify this time around.

Centre-midfield: Christian Eriksen, Denmark

The second Dane to make our list, Tottenham playmaker Eriksen is part of the Denmark side unfortunate to miss out next summer. At just 21, Eriksen is likely to have a chance to play at another tournament.

Centre-midfield: Henrik Mkhitaryan, Armenia

Borussia Dortmund's record signing will unfortunately struggle to qualify for a major tournament in an Armenian side yet to make the final stages of a tournament since securing their independence in 1992. The fact that Mkhitaryan is their all-time top scorer on just 12 goals indicates their current stature in the international game.

Left-midfield: Gareth Bale, Wales

The world's most expensive player will take no part in Brazil 2014 as Wale's run without qualifying for a World Cup reached 55 years. Like the great Ryan Giggs before him, Bale may have to accept never playing at a major tournament - unless Wales can produce more players of similar ilk.

Centre-forward: Robert Lewandowski, Poland

Arguably the most sought-after striker in Europe and a prolific goalscorer for club side Borussia Dortmund, Lewandowski is the third Pole to make our team. The lethal frontman will unfortunately have to watch the tournament like the majority of us - on the television.

Centre-forward: Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Sweden

One of the game's world stars, Ibrahimovic could have done no more in attempting to take Sweden to the World Cup finals. Two goals from the frontman swung the momentum of their play-off with Portugal in their favour, but a certain Cristiano Ronaldo stole the show with a hat-trick and sealed a place at Brazil 2014. 

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Topics:
World Cup
Football
Gareth Bale
Robert Lewandowski
Wojciech Szczesny
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