There’s been the odd puzzled look produced by World Cup coaches’ squad selections in recent days, with 5/1 joint-second favourites Argentina continuing Juventus striker Carlos Tevez’s international exile and 3/1 hosts Brazil binning off their Liverpool duo in favour of half the Chelsea first-team.
Here at news.bwin.com/en/, we’ve put an arm around some of the neglected souls who’ll be lining the Costa Brava sands this summer and come up with a very useful overlooked World Cup XI:
He may be rivalling Chelsea’s on-loan superstopper Thibaut Courtois for most exciting young keeper in Europe honours this season, but Borussia Monchengladbach’s Barcelona-bound goalie Marc Andre ter Stegen didn’t quite do enough to convince Germany coach Joachim Low that he warrants a World Cup place just yet.
Despite starting 25 Bundesliga and eight Champions League matches for runaway German champions Bayern Munchen, Selecao right-back Rafinha won’t add to his two caps in Brazil, while on the other side of defence we’re sure spurned Englishman Ashley Cole could be cadged out of international retirement to take up the left-back pitch.
In the centre, France’s 28-year-old centre-half Adil Rami – who made 24 Les Blues appearances between 2010-12, but has played just once for his country since – partners one-cap Spaniard Nacho, who’s started half of Real Madrid’s last ten games.
Our XI lines up in a 4-3-3 formation, with two holding-midfielders screening the back four behind Manchester United sprayabout merchant Michael Carrick – whose presence in Brazil may yet be missed, particularly in England’s first match against 6/4 Group D favourites Italy – just ahead.
France’s Geoffrey Kondogbia and Spain’s Asier Illarramendi, who were bought by Monaco and Real Madrid last summer for combined fees totalling €60m, will take their places just behind the Red Devils Geordie.
With our midfield firmly set up with keeping a clean sheet in mind, we’re going to need some pace in attack and Napoli winger Jose Callejon – scorer of 14 Serie A goals during his first term in Italy – gets in after repeatedly failing to grab the attention of Spain coach Vicente del Bosque.
Liverpool Brazilian Philippe Coutinho has been deemed desperately unlucky to miss out on his home country’s World Cup, but we’ll need him to be alive to Carrick’s famous short passing and help bring both Callejon and compatriot Roberto Firmino – who averaged a goal every two games over Hoffenheim’s last 16 Bundesliga fixtures this term – into play.