Oddly Enough

The World Cup Rejects XI

RSS / / 13 May 2010 / Leave a Comment

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The provisional World Cup squads have now been named and Dan Fitch has picked his best XI from those that have been rejected.

Whilst there are some quite brilliant players who will be in South Africa, there are some equally talented players that have been dumped.

We decided to pick a team of these rejects, that could compete with the likes of Brazil and the Spain. All the players had to come from countries that have qualified for the World Cup and had to have been completely overlooked, rather than injured.

Here's our World Cup Rejects XI. Who would you pick?


Goalkeeper

Sebastien Frey - France - Age: 30 - Caps: 2



Fiorentina goalkeeper Sebastien Frey actually retired from international football in 2008, after being long overlooked by French coach Raymond Domenech - a man who once dropped Robert Pires because he was born under the wrong star sign.

While France are well served with goalkeepers, with Lyon's Hugo Lloris their current number one, it is clear that at the very least, Frey has the ability to be considered amongst their top three shot stoppers.


Right Back

Javier Zanetti - Argentina - Age: 36 - Caps: 136



It is testament to Zanetti's versatility, that we could have easily picked the Inter Milan star at left back, or in midfield. This only makes Diego Maradona's decision to not pick Argentina's most capped player, all the stranger.

In Inter's Champions League triumph over Barcelona, Zanetti nullified Lionel Messi, yet despite still being at the top of his game at 36, he now misses his second successive World Cup, having also been overlooked in 2006.


Left Back

Marcel Schafer - Germany - Age: 25 - Caps: 7



Wolfsburg won the Bundesliga in 2009, but not a single one of their players have made it into Germany's World Cup squad.

Our left back spot goes to Marcel Schafer, who has won seven caps since being given his debut in 2008. Despite being linked with a move to the likes of Real Madrid, Schafer was surprisingly dumped by Joachim Loew.


Centre Back

Gabriel Milito - Argentina - Age: 29 - Caps: 32


Whilst it's true that Milito has been blighted by injuries over the past couple of seasons, he has made a successful recovery with Barcelona in 2010 and would certainly seem a safer bet than Newcastle's Fabricio Coloccini, who has been preparing for the World Cup by playing against the likes of Plymouth and Bristol City.


Centre Back

Nicola Legrottaglie - Italy - Age 33: Caps: 16



The Juventus defender must have felt that he had a chance of going to South Africa when he was picked for Marcello Lippi's informal 29-man squad for a training camp in Rome, only to be dropped from the official 30-man squad that was submitted to FIFA on 11th May.


Central Midfield

Esteban Cambiasso - Argentina - Age: 29 - Caps: 44



Cambiasso applied the finish to a brilliant Argentina move against Serbia and Montenegro, that was undoubtedly one of the highlights of the 2006 World Cup, but he won't be in South Africa.

Since Maradona took over as coach, he has not been named in a single Argentina squad, despite continually proving to be one of the world's best midfielders at Inter Milan.


Central Midfield

Ever Banega - Argentina - Age: 21 - Caps: 2



You might notice a pattern emerging here. Like Cambiasso, Valencia's Ever Banega is another central midfielder that has been overlooked by Maradona, in preference to the 35-year old Sebastian Veron.

Maradona has only picked four central midfielders in his 30-man squad and it's hard to see how their chances wouldn't have been improved by a player with Banega's work-rate and passing ability.


Right Wing

Alexandre Pato - Brazil - Age: 20 - Caps: 8



Back in January, Pato was named as the Serie A Young Player Of The Year for 2009.

Touted as Milan's saviour and replacement for Ronaldo when signed as a teenager, the forward has maintained a record of one goal in every two league games throughout his career, despite often being played on the flanks.


Left Wing

Ronaldinho - Brazil - Age: 30 - Caps: 87



A year ago it would have been no surprise if the wayward Ronaldinho had been left out of Brazil's World Cup squad, but he's since knuckled down and enjoyed a successful season at AC Milan.

The former World Player Of The Year is still a formidable talent and at the very least should have been included in Brazil's squad as an impact substitute.


Withdrawn Forward

Francesco Totti - Italy - Age: 33 - Caps: 58



The Italians are famed for their trequartistas but go into this World Cup without anyone that looks capable of giving justice to the role, after Francesco Totti was left at home.

Totti's omission is all the more surprising for the fact that Marcello Lippi gave him a starting role at the 2006 World Cup, which Italy won. The Roma striker was selected in that tournament's 23-man all star squad.


Striker

Karim Benzema - France - Age: 22 - Caps: 27



Benzema is the most expensive player to have been jettisoned, having joined Real Madrid in a 41m euro deal, last summer. He's had a poor season, but surely merits inclusion above Djibril Cisse?

For all the latest World Cup Odds from throughout the tournament this summer then please visit our World Cup Betting section. Updated daily with all the latest goings on from South Africa by betting.betfair's dedicated World Cup writers.

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