Most Read Football

Check out our best bets for Monday's World Cup games as England begin their campaign1

Monday's World Cup tips

Our team look at the best bets from Mondays action, with 4/1, 9/2 and 18/1 recommended bets for the three games.

Mexico's Hirving Lozano (right) and Andres Guardado celebrate after scoring v Germany at the World Cup2

20/1 Mexico stun holders Germany

Joachim Low's reigning champions Germany lost their opening game of the World Cup, a 1-0 scoreline v Mexico in Moscow.

Coutinho's wonderful effort gave Brazil the lead3

Brazil held by Switzerland

World Cup favourites Brazil had to settle for a point as they were held to a 1-1 draw by Switzerland in Rostov-on-Don.

Jack Wilshere4

Transfer news and completed deals

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When will Gareth Southgate's England be leaving Russia? (Article originally published: 2nd May 2018)5

World Cup: Elimination predictions

There are 32 nations dreaming of World Cup glory, but only one can be successful. Tom Carnduff predicts when each team will go out.

World Cup Wish You Were Here XI: The big names who will be missing out on Russia 2018

Last Updated October 12 2017, 16:09Football
Gareth Bale
Gareth Bale

As World Cup qualification nears its conclusion, we pick a team of those who definitely won't be in Russia next summer.

Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi may have made it in the end, but there are still plenty of global stars who won't be gracing that stadium with an external stand and the other great grounds of Russia 2018 next summer.

From LaLiga's best keeper to Arsenal's superstar bench-warmer via the catalyst for Leicester's 5000/1 Premier League triumph, here's our pick of the best XI featuring players who definitely won't be taking part next summer. We're lining up in a Southgate-esque 3-4-3...

Jan Oblak (Slovenia)

Twice voted top goalkeeper in LaLiga, the Atletico Madrid stopper did his bit in a qualification campaign where Slovenia conceded only seven goals in 10 games but still finished behind England, Slovakia and even Scotland in Group F.

Virgil van Dijk (Netherlands)

The Netherlands’ second consecutive failure to reach a major tournament again leaves a host of household names staying at home during next summer’s festivities in Russia. The sought-after Southampton centre-back makes our side in a slightly makeshift back three.

David Alaba (Austria)

Perhaps second only to Netherlands as European qualifying’s biggest disappointments, Austria limped home fourth in Group D, with three of their four wins coming against Georgia and Moldova and the fourth against Serbia after elimination had long been confirmed. Bayern Munich utility player David Alaba generally plays in midfield for his country but takes a spot in defence here.

Antonio Valencia (Ecuador)

We’re cheating a bit with Antonio Valencia in a back three. If Sweden fail to get through their play-off, we can slot in Victor Lindelof here. If we knew for sure that Joel Matip is still a Cameroon player after his Africa Cup of Nations refusal, then he could also do a job. But we’ll go with the Man United man, whose Ecuador side never threatened to make it to Russia despite qualifying for three of the last four.

Arjen Robben celebrates
Arjen Robben celebrates

Arjen Robben (Netherlands)

The great man has cut in from the right and shot with his left for the final time in Dutch orange after managing to produce only two of the seven goals needed to overhaul Sweden in Group A and keep the Russia 2018 dream alive for a Netherlands team that had reached the final and semi-final in the last two renewals.

Henrikh Mkhitaryan (Armenia)

The Manchester United star was never likely to make it to Russia, with Armenia eventually finishing fifth in Group E behind Poland, Denmark, Montenegro and Romania. A place in this side will surely be some consolation for the copy-and-paste schemer.

Arturo Vidal (Chile)

Another of the big-hitters not to make it to Russia, after a dramatic final night of CONMEBOL qualification saw two-time reigning Copa America champions Chile the team left without a chair when the music stopped. Could the Bayern Munich man have made a difference in their final qualifier against Brazil? A yellow card against Ecuador and subsequent suspension means we’ll never know.

Riyad Mahrez (Algeria)

One of the strongest sides in African football, Algeria have endured a miserable qualification campaign with just a solitary point from five games in the final round. They’re already certain to prop up Group B behind the almost equally disappointing Cameroon as well as Zambia and qualifiers Nigeria.

Alexis Sanchez on the Arsenal bench
Alexis Sanchez on the Arsenal bench

Alexis Sanchez (Chile)

This is a handy side already, but it’s the front three that really sparkles. We may not be able to call on Messi or Ronaldo, a tantalising prospect as recently as Tuesday night, but we can call on Arsenal’s sometime footballer and full-time bench-smirker Alexis Sanchez after his Arsenal team-mate David Ospina had a, ahem, hand in condemning Chile to sixth spot in CONMEBOL’s ever-entertaining 10-team quadrennial dust-up.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Gabon)

A prolific striker for years now in the Bundesliga and Champions League with Borussia Dortmund, and every bit as much of a fixture in this kind of team as he is in the gossip pages every summer and January when that move to Liverpool never quite seems to materialise.

Gareth Bale (Wales)

Missed the last two qualifiers of the campaign as the Euro 2016 semi-finalists were edged out of second place in European Group D by the Republic of Ireland when a campaign littered with frustrating draws ended in a crucial, devastating first defeat. The Real Madrid speedster will now be watching on again next summer.


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Most Read Football

Check out our best bets for Monday's World Cup games as England begin their campaign1

Monday's World Cup tips

Our team look at the best bets from Mondays action, with 4/1, 9/2 and 18/1 recommended bets for the three games.

Mexico's Hirving Lozano (right) and Andres Guardado celebrate after scoring v Germany at the World Cup2

20/1 Mexico stun holders Germany

Joachim Low's reigning champions Germany lost their opening game of the World Cup, a 1-0 scoreline v Mexico in Moscow.

Coutinho's wonderful effort gave Brazil the lead3

Brazil held by Switzerland

World Cup favourites Brazil had to settle for a point as they were held to a 1-1 draw by Switzerland in Rostov-on-Don.

Jack Wilshere4

Transfer news and completed deals

The latest transfer rumours and completed deals including the latest on Jack Wilshere, James Maddison, Jorginho and more.

When will Gareth Southgate's England be leaving Russia? (Article originally published: 2nd May 2018)5

World Cup: Elimination predictions

There are 32 nations dreaming of World Cup glory, but only one can be successful. Tom Carnduff predicts when each team will go out.

Football Tips

Check out our best bets for Monday's World Cup games as England begin their campaign

Monday's World Cup tips

Our team look at the best bets from Mondays action, with 4/1, 9/2 and 18/1 recommended bets for the three games.

Check out our outright tips for the World Cup

World Cup: Outright tips

Five-time winners Brazil are given the confident selection for World Cup glory as Matt Brocklebank takes a look at the outright betting market.

We assess the Golden Boot market ahead of the 2018 World Cup

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Matt Brocklebank is backing a couple of PSG stars to shine at the World Cup, with two 33/1 Golden Boot bets.