An out­casts XI who would get in most teams

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(Eng­land, goal­keeper)

The ex-Manch­ester City hero was left heart­bro­ken by the de­ci­sion to leave him out of the squad as one of the most high-pro­file stars miss­ing from the ac­tion. There was a gen­uine be­lief that Hart, even af­ter a dis­ap­point­ing end to the sea­son on loan at West Ham, would have been given a place in Gareth South­gate’s squad as ex­pe­ri­enced cover. HECTOR BELLERIN (Spain, right-back) Hard to un­der­stand why a player of great pace and some­one so strong in the tackle was omit­ted. But a slight loss of form this sea­son has meant the Ar­se­nal man, 23 (left) miss­ing the World Cup fi­nals. SHKODRAN MUSTAFI (Ger­many, cen­tre-back) An­other Ar­se­nal star re­jected by his coun­try, this time by Joachim Low. Mustafi has rep­re­sented Ger­many at all lev­els from the Un­der-16s and was a World Cup win­ner in 2014.

AYMERIC LA­PORTE (France, cen­tre-back)

Signed by Man City in Jan­uary for a whop­ping £57mil­lion and be­gan liv­ing up to the sky-high price on the run-in to the Premier League ti­tle.

La­porte is the most ex­pen­sive player never to win a full in­ter­na­tional cap and many in his home­land will be scratch­ing their heads as to why.


(France, left-back)

Has spent the last two sea­sons on Barcelona’s bench but the for­mer Paris Saint-Ger­main de­fender still thought he de­served his place in Rus­sia.

RADJA NAING­GOLAN (Bel­gium, mid­field)

A player at his peak. The Roma mid­fielder has been in fab­u­lous form this sea­son and his omis­sion would have raised a few eye­brows from team-mates. JACK WILSHERE (Eng­land, mid­field)

He fi­nally proved his fit­ness to South­gate but still got over­looked. Wilshere showed touches of his gen­uine class for Ar­se­nal last sea­son when he did play and his mid­field ge­nius could be a telling, miss­ing fac­tor for Eng­land in Rus­sia.


(France, mid­field)

Some­how you have to think that his World Cup am­bi­tions weren’t helped by the lack of trust from his Manch­ester United man­ager Jose


Mar­tial (right) has strug­gled at Old Traf­ford since the ar­rival of Alexis Sanchez and has been linked with a sum­mer move.


(Ger­many, mid­field)

The Borus­sia Dort­mund star won the pre­vi­ous World Cup with an ex­tra-time goal against Ar­gentina and will be gut­ted to be de­nied the chance of help­ing re­tain the trophy. It’s been an un­for­tu­nate fall from grace for Gotze, 26, af­ter once be­ing de­scribed as one of the best tal­ents Ger­many has ever had.


(Ger­many, at­tack­ing mid­field)

The foot­ball world was stunned that Manch­ester City’s ti­tle-win­ner was left out of Low’s squad af­ter such a sen­sa­tional sea­son at The Eti­had. For­mer Ger­many cap­tain Michael Bal­lack spoke out over the shock de­ci­sion and be­lieved there was no “sport­ing rea­son” be­hind his omis­sion. MAURO ICARDI (Ar­gentina, striker)

You are al­ways go­ing to strug­gle get­ting into a team packed with su­per­stars like Lionel Messi but Icardi de­served the chance to go to Rus­sia. He fin­ished the sea­son with 30 goals as he helped In­ter Mi­lan back into the Cham­pi­ons League as their cap­tain.

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