The Unfortunate 5: Players We Did Not Expect to be Dropped for the World Cup

The greatest show on earth, the FIFA World Cup, is almost upon us. After releasing the provisional squads few days earlier, the big tournament contenders are now rolling out the final 23-man squads for Russia. 


Based on the preliminary squads, we had already picked out the best XI who won't be going to the World Cup. Now, on this list, we pick out five more shocking exclusions. 

5. Marcos Alonso - Spain

Winning just the FA Cup and missing out on Champions League football, Chelsea haven't had the best of seasons. This young fullback, however, fared quite well throughout the campaign. 


His exclusion can be down to the way the team is set up. Spain always have preferred a four man defence with a conventional left-back. Alonso, despite his versatility, shines the brightest as a left-wing-back. However, despite his lack of pure pace, his composure could've come in handy for La Roja. 

4. Javi Martinez - Spain

Bayern Munich's Javi Martinez was one of the big names to be left out of Julen Lopetegui's World Cup squad. The Spaniard has sprung back to life under Jupp Heynckes this season and would be left disappointed by this shock exclusion. 


A central defensive midfielder who is more than capable of slotting in as a centre-back, Martinez is capable of improving any squad in the world. Especially keeping Sergio Busquet's inconsistent form in mind, this decision certainly looks surprising. 

3. Alvaro Morata - Spain

When Alvaro Morata swapped Real Madrid in favour of Chelsea last summer, he mentioned featuring in the World Cup as one his biggest motivators behind the move. He scored seven goals in his first seven Premier League games, but could only manage to add four more goals since. 


Coach Julen Lopetegui thought Morata deserved a place in the team but couldn't ignore the likes of Iago Aspas or Rodrigo, who have had considerably better campaigns. 

2. Radja Nainggolan - Belgium

The decision which triggered a massive outrage on Twitter takes the second spot on our list. The AS Roma midfielder has been in sensational form throughout the season. Sitting in the middle of the park, he's been pivotal both in attack and in defence. 


Belgium coach, Roberto Martinez, however, didn't have the faith in the player to produce the same in the World Cup. Nainggolan, heartbroken and disgusted by the snub, announced his retirement one hour after the squad reveal. 

1. Mauro Icardi - Argentina

It has always been difficult for Inter captain Mauro Icardi to break into Argentina's national side. The situation changed for the worse under new coach Jorge Sampaoli. The player was included in Argentina's 28-man provisional squad but wasn't deemed worthy of featuring in the 23-man final squad


On Sunday, his crucial penalty secured Champions League football for his club, and snubbing a world-class striker like him certainly points towards something personal. Icardi scored 29 goals in Serie A this season and is the league's joint leading scorer.