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World Cup: Five players left at home

The excitement is building ahead of the World Cup in Qatar, with the opening game now just days away, but some players could still be hurting after surprisingly failing to earn a call-up.

After all the build-up and injury woes, the 32 respective managers are now fine-tuning their tactics for the upcoming group stages.

WhatWorld Cup
WhenSunday 20th November – Sunday 18th December
How to watch BBC and ITV
OddsBrazil 4/1, Argentina 11/2, France 6/1, England 8/1, Spain 17/2, Germany 10/1, Netherlands 12/1, Portugal 14/1, Belgium 16/1

With Europe's big leagues coming to a halt, the spotlight is now on those preparing to play for their countries.

Last week, the majority of squads were confirmed, and while the likes of Paul Pogba, Timo Werner, Reece James and Diogo Jota have missed out through injury, there were a few surprise omissions.

We have picked out some players that should feel hard done by and will have to watch from home like the rest of us.

David de Gea

Manchester United stopper De Gea is widely regarded as one of the best goalkeepers in the world, just not by Spain boss Luis Enrique.

Even though De Gea's form for Manchester United has improved under coach Erik ten Hag, Enrique has picked Unai Simon, David Raya and Robert Sanchez in his squad for Qatar.

Spain will now be without one of their most experienced players in Qatar, but they are still considered one of the favourites to win the tournament at odds of 12/1.

Mats Hummels

Borussia Dortmund defender Hummels has probably played in his last World Cup after being left out of Hansi Flick's Germany squad.

The 33-year-old has made 76 appearances for his country since 2010, helping Germany win the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

Even though Flick says he has been impressed by Hummels' form of late, he wanted to go with a younger group.

Time will tell if Flick will regret that decision, but he will be hoping to vindicate it by helping Germany win the tournament at 10/1.

Ivan Toney

Only Harry Kane and Erling Haaland have scored more goals in the Premier League this season than Toney, but that was still not enough to secure his place in Gareth Southgate's England squad.

Toney was part of the squad for recent Nations League games against Italy and Germany, but failed to play a single minute of action.

Despite his club form, Southgate picked Marcus Rashford and Callum Wilson as his back-up strikers, and England remain 8/1 to win their second World Cup crown.


While Enrique and Thiago have not seen eye-to-eye for 12 months, the Liverpool midfielder is still a surprise omission from the Spain squad.

Related World Cup news

World Cup: Injury update

Injuries have hampered his progress this season at times under Jurgen Klopp but, when fit, Thiago provides Liverpool with real quality in the middle of the park.

His range of passing and ability to handle the pressure could have been crucial for Spain, but he will now wonder what could have been alongside fellow Premier League ace De Gea.

Enrique has been happy to wield the axe this month, with Paris Saint-Germain defender Sergio Ramos also missing out on a place in the Spain squad.

All three players were mainstays in the Spain squad in the past, but after putting his faith in youth in Russia, Enrique clearly feels that he has to stand by his principles ahead of the tournament in Qatar.

Roberto Firmino

It is not just Thiago that has been left disappointed at Anfield this month. While Jota's injury means he will not play for Portugal in Qatar, fellow forward Firmino was expected to take his place in Tite's Brazil squad.

Unlike Neymar and Raphinha, Firmino has a unique ability to connect the midfield and attack while playing through the middle, but Tite decided his squad was better without the former Hoffenheim forward.

Firmino's seven goals in 13 appearances in the Premier League was expected to be enough to land him a spot on the plane to Qatar, but Tite may feel he already has what he needs to deliver the goods with Antony, Gabriel Jesus, Gabriel Martinelli, Richarlison, Rodrygo, and Vinicius Jr selected instead.

Brazil remain the pre-tournament favourites for the World Cup at 4/1, while they are 23/10 to reach the final.

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