FIFA 2010: Stars Who’d Be Cheering From Home This Year

Posted In Sports - By NitiN Kumar Jain On Tuesday, June 8th, 2010 With 3 Comments

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4 Years of growing excitement but somehow this year’s edition of FIFA World Cup seems to lack in promise as all 32 Nations submit their final lists of 23 players who’d be on the plane to South Africa. Let us take a look at a few of the unfortunate ones to miss out, as the month long “Fiesta Del Fútbol” Kicks off in exactly a week’s time.

There has rarely been a World Cup when managers have not been criticized or scrutinized for Squad Selection by fans and followers alike. This year was no different. In fact, it would not be an exaggeration if one were to say that this edition will have more deserving players missing out than any of the past World Cups. Here are a few major omissions with Argenitna coach Diego Maradona grabbing most of the headlines along with his Italian and French counterparts Marcelo Lippi and Raymond Domenech.

Javier Zanetti:


A mammoth 136 caps for  the Albiceleste, captain of Argentina before ‘El Diego’ took over as  coach, a rock solid season for Inter winning the treble including The Champions League on his record 700th appearance for the club. Not Enough? 
His performances along with fellow compatriots Diego Milito and Esteban Cambiasso were nothing short of extraordinary and he played a pivotal part in Inter’s road to glory this season. “Il Trattore” has enough on his resume to be in any country’s final 23 but somehow Diego Maradona seems to think otherwise.

Esteban Cambiasso:

I long to know what Esteban Cambiasso did to offend Diego Maradona to an extent that he didn’t include him even in his provisional list of 30. Was it the decisive spot kick he missed against Germany  in 2006 Quarter Final which led to Argentina’s defeat? But then he scored arguably one of the most memorable goals in a World Cup capping off a brilliant passing display involving 24 passes. On a more serious note, Cambiasso couldn’t have played any better all season. A wall in Inter’s midfield , he would be any manager’s delight. Pairing up with captain Javier Mascheranho he could very well have formed one of the most formidable Midfield lineups of the tournament. 

Juan Roman Riquelme:

It is sad to imagine a World Cup without the Argentine playmaker who was awarded the title of The Most Artistic player by a popular Spanish newspaper during his playing time at Villarreal. He reportedly made himself unavailable for National Selection after Maradona’s arrival due to ‘El Diego’’s alleged criticism of his game. Riquelme, who is known to be highly sensitive about criticism, had quit for the first time after the 2006 World Cup.

Samir Nasri:

Raymond Domenech has seemed to attract more criticism than applauds for his work with Les Bleus. The Inclusion of the unstable Abou Diaby instead of fellow Arsenal talisman Nasri is a clear example that managers have opted for a more physical approach rather than going for the skills his year. Samir Nasri has scored some magnificent goals for Arsenal this season and helped create even more with some magical display of his abilities. 

Karim Benzema:

If Real Madrid pay 35 Million Euros for a player , he HAS to be special. Making his France debut at the age of just 20, he got his name on the score sheet in his very first game. The only reason for his exclusion can be his not-so-impressive first season with Real Madrid, most of which could be attributed to the fact that he was relegated to the bench for the most part.
Despite all that, Benzema is phenomenally talented and could have proved to be the ingredient  that France need to spice up their attack.

Benni McCarthy:

South Africa’s record goal scorer with more than 30 goals to his name was left out by coach Carlos Alberto Parreira much to the shock of home fans. The reason for his exclusion was  not being in good shape as compared to other players fighting for a spot in the squad. Still, regarded by many as the greatest ever striker to play for the Bafana Bafana, his experience could only have done his country good.

Marcos Senna:

La Furia Roja have the best Midfielders in the world in Xavi, Iniesta, Fabregas and Xabi Alonso. The only reason I did not name Marcos Senna amongst them is because Coach Vicente Del Bosque didn’t think he was good enough to be there. Personally, I reckon him as a solid player who can change the course of a game on his own. His remarkable performances in Spain’s success in Euro 2008 are no secret to anyone. He was even regarded as the player of the tournament by many. At 33, this would have been his last world cup but the likes of Sergio Busquets and Javi Martinez, who recently earned his first cap against South Korea, surely have many more to follow. 

Fabio Grosso:

Marcelo Lippi, Diego Maradona and Raymond Domenech . They all have one thing in common. They have made bold and shocking decisions while making their list of final 23 players inviting criticism from all over the world. Fabio Grosso’s antics in Germany 2006 are still etched in the memory of every Azzuri fan. From winning the decisive penalty against Australia in stoppage time, to scoring the winner against Germany in Extra Time and finally scoring the decisive spot kick in the Penalty Shoot out against France in the final. Grosso had a fairy tail of a World Cup. He was used throughout Italy’s qualifying campaign for South Africa 2010 featuring heavily with some good performances but was controversially left out of the final squad. Using a player throughout qualifying and NOT selecting him for the final showpiece in South Africa is simply beyond my comprehension.

Fabzrizio Miccoli:

What exactly has Fabio Quagliarella done that Fabrizio Miccoli hasn’t? If we are talking about missing clear cut chances, losing footing in goal scoring situations and doing everything else than actually managing to SCORE , then Quagliarella deserves his place. Miccoli,on the other hand, has had a spectacular season with Palermo inspiring them to a 5th place finish in the Serie A scoring an impressive 19 goals. The same can be said about Palermo’s Antonio Cassano who also had a good season with Sampdoria helping them finish in the top 4. Bases on club performances Miccoli and Cassano deserve to be in the  Azzure Blue of Italy at the tournament much more than Quagliarella who had a lackluster season with Napoli. 

Theo Walcott:

Shockingly included in England’s squad for the last World Cup at just 17 years of age, he is a player with sublime talent. However, he was not to be that lucky this time around as he faced strong competition from Tottenham’s Aaron Lennon who has virtually made the number 7 jersey his own. A worthy successor to Beckham,Lennon probably had one of the best seasons with Spurs this year guiding them to Champion’s League Football. Walcott was overlooked in favour of Manchester City’s Shaun Wright-Phillips in what could have been a 50-50 decision.Fabio Capello chose to go with the much more experienced Wright-Phillips who had quite a satisfying season at the Eastlands.


One of the most gifted footballers on the planet possessing the ability to do with the ball what no one on the entire planet can. It’s a TREAT to watch the Brazilian play at the peak of his game. Many around the world wrote him off when Barcelona sold him to AC Milan for a sum of around £15 million. His performances for Barcelona had dipped drastically causing various pundits to make claims that he was ageing. Proving all his critics wrong, he came back this season, stronger than ever, bringing in various commanding performances for Milan in their midfield. Ronaldinho’s skill and flair will surely be missed in South Africa.