The World Cup gives us as soccer fans the opportunity to see the best players in the world complete against each other on a day-to-day basis. Well almost all of them. There are an unlucky few out there whose talent is as world class as any, but whose countries sadly aren’t. In this article I will present to you a starting XI consisting of players who did not make it to this year’s tournament. We’ll start in the back and work our way forward.

Goalkeeper: Petr Cech (Czech Republic/Chelsea)

The veteran Chelsea keeper was for a long time considered to be the best keeper in the entire world and despite his age; has consistently, year after year, been one of the most solid keepers in all of Europe. There is no doubt, nor argument that there is a keeper out there more deserving to be at the World Cup than this man.

Left-Back: David Alaba (Austria/Bayern Munich)

At only 22 years old, David Alaba has already guaranteed the left-back spot for himself at Bayern Munich for years to come. His pace, strength and ability on the ball makes him one of the best backs in all of Europe. Watch out for this kid, as he is becoming better and better year by year.

Centre-Back: Branislav Ivanovic (Serbia/Chelsea)

Despite his form dipping a bit since last year, Ivanovic is still one of the best backs in the Premier League. He does usually play out on the wings, but his size makes him a candidate to play in the centre. The Serbian is strong in the air, and can push the ball forward when needed. A great addition to any defensive line.

Centre-Back: Mehdi Benatia (Morocco/AS Roma)

The 26-year old Moroccan was a crucial part of Roma’s backline as he helped the Italian side almost win the Scudetto. His big frame in the middle along with Ivanovic would make it hard for any attacking player to come close to goal.

Right-Back: Daniel Agger (Denmark/Liverpool)

Though he technically is someone that plays in the center of defense, Agger’s pace and size gives him the ability to push forward when needed. He played a vital part on Liverpool’s title run this year, despite the Merseyside team falling just short of the title. It doesn’t hurt that he could test any keeper from about 30-yards out either.

Right-Wing: Gareth Bale (Wales/Real Madrid)

Arguably one of the top 10 players in the entire world, it is a shame that we don’t get to see the Real Madrid man play in the world’s biggest tournament. He was influential in helping Madrid claim La Decima, scoring one of the winning goals in the Champions League Final. His blistering pace as well as his ability to finish (with his head as well) makes him one of the best attacking players in the entire world.

Gareth Bale Real Madrid's Gareth Bale is not playing in this year's World Cup which is a shame considering he's one of the best players in the world. Reuters


Central-Mid: Aaron Ramsey (Wales/Arsenal)

If it had not been for injury, Ramsey could have won “Premier League Player of the Year” honors. This kid, when healthy, is incredible to watch. He can dictate the pace of a game with his passing abilities and score when put in front of net. Hopefully the future will see him at full fitness, as the kid is a joy to watch.

Central-Mid: Christian Eriksen (Denmark/Tottenham Hotspur)

At 21-years old Eriksen spent more time on the pitch than any other player on the Danish team throughout qualifying. He is not the type of player that will dazzle you with step overs, but his passing and ball control is pristine. You don’t just become a Premier League player for a top 5 club at 21 years old for no reason.

Left-Wing: Marek Hamsik (Slovakia/Napoli)

Rafa Benitez who coaches him in Naples has said that he has more tactical intelligence than Steven Gerrard (that says a lot coming from a man who has coached both, and despite my disagreement, praise like that doesn’t come from nowhere). He can unlock a defense with his passing and create chances on his own with his dribbling. Despite not normally playing on the wing, this would give him the opportunity to find more space for himself in which to create.

Striker: Robert Lewandowski (Poland/Bayern Munich)

It is a real shame that the world will not be witnessing this man at the World Cup. Bayern Munich doesn’t shell out 5-year contracts to nobodies. The Pole has this special capability to somehow put the ball into the net by any means necessary. He has better skill on the ball than almost any striker in the world. He can hold the play up, he can sit in front of net and be a poacher and he can create for himself. He is an all around soccer player, one that would fit into any team.

Striker: Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Sweden/Paris Saint Germain)

“The World Cup is nothing without Zlatan.” And you know what, he may be one of the only players in the world who can say that, and actually sound somewhat logical. “Ibra” is arguably one of the 5 best players in the entire world. Just take a look at some of the goals that he has scored, the man is jaw-droopingly unbelievable. There are no real words to describe the big Swede. He is Zlatan and he can and will do anything that you could think imaginable with a soccer ball.

 Zlatan Ibrahimovic Sweden's Zlatan Ibrahimovic arguably might be the best player in the world (No offense Ronaldo), you have may have seen him in Nike's new "Last Game" commercials, but you wont be seeing him in this year's World Cup Reuters


So there you have it, if I could put together a group of guys who are not featuring in this year’s tournament his would be my starting XI . From front to back, it is a solid group of guys, an all-star team perhaps. Everyone has their own opinions on who the best players in the world are, and for me these XI rank right on up there with the rest of them.