Once every four years the World Cup comes around, and for most players the dream of playing at one is never fulfilled, for others, summer football is commonplace, and just another part of their season. Then there's the could haves, the players that got agonisingly close to the making the cut, only for their dreams to be crushed at the final hurdle.
If those players think that they have been forgotten in world football, fear not, for we here at Balls.ie have put together a team of the best 11 players to be overlooked by their national sides. With the talent left behind, the question arises: could this team of forgotten men win a World Cup?
Goalkeeper - Maarten Stekelenberg
Fighting off competition from Barcelona's newest signing Marc-Andre Ter Stegen, the Netherlands stopper secures first place on this list due to his previous standing on the international stage. Having played for his country in the previous World Cup and European Championships, Stekelenberg has amassed 54 international caps, but head coach Louis Van Gaal dropped him in favour of four goalkeepers that have a combined cap total of just 25.
Right Back - Alvaro Arbeloa
Having been displaced at club level by Dani Carvajal, Arbeloa has now suffered the same fate at international level. His Madrid colleague will travel to Rio with Cesar Azpilicueta as they fight it out for a starting berth in the Spanish side. Arbeloa had been a constant fixture in the national side, playing 56 times in the past six years, and winning both the World Cup and two European Championships.
Centre Back - Miranda
Standout performances all season for the La Liga champions and Champions League finalists wasn't enough to force Miranda's way in the Brazil side. Left out in favour of Napoli's Henrique, who has played just ten games since signing for the club in January, Miranda has every right to feel hard done by.
Centre Back - Fabricio Coloccini
Argentina have never been blessed with a water-tight defence, which is why it may come as a surprise to a few people that Newcastle's captain hasn't even made the squad. With 38 caps under his belt, and making three appearances for his country last year, the Newcastle defender's poor form in the second half of the season may have contributed to his dropping. Regardless, we can somehow blame his omission on Alan Pardew.
Left Back - Ashley Cole
Old news at this stage, but Roy Hodgson's snubbing of the now-former England International is still a source of debate among football fans. With Luke Shaw barely old enough to travel to Brazil without a legal guardian, the experience Cole could have brought to the camp could prove to be a costly loss.
Centre Midfield - Michael Carrick
It's been tough not to include Emmanuel "Dench" Frimpong in this list, but the five Premier League, as well as the Champions League, medals hanging around Carrick's neck have meant the young Ghanaian sadly misses out. Carrick's lackluster performances for Manchester United this season have seen him replaced in the England camp, but the non-existent nature of his displays could be a blessing in disguise, would anyone notice if England brought him as a 24th man.
Centre Midfield - Landon Donovan
Probably not in the same bracket of quality as most people in this line-up, but the USA's all-time leading scorer, and second-record capped player was thought of as a banker for the USA. Reminiscent of when Mexico left Blanco at home in 2006, people will look back to this decision if America fail to qualify from the group stage.
Right Midfield - Samir Nasri
There won't be too many tears shed for Manchester City winger, his omission had been expected, but it has been a source of both amusement and shock for fans across the world. The Premier League winner's reputation as a troublemaker and bad influence on the camp will mean that he will have to see his midfield spot filled by the the mercurial Mathieu Valbuena.
Attacking Midfield - Isco
Champions League winner Isco hasn't made the grade for Spain, but with the talent at their disposal this hasn't come as to much of a shock. The attacking midfield roles will be instead taken by players like David Silva, Andres Iniesta, Cesc Fabregas and Juan Mata, not bad options to have.
Left Midfield - Lucas Moura
Being Neymar's friend, a PSG starlet, worth €45million, having 31 international caps, and being part of the squad that won Brazil last year's Confederation's Cup was enough to warrant Lucas Moura's selection for this summer tournament, but with Willan, Neymar, Hulk and Bernard occupying the wide slots, his omission was always a possibility.
Striker - Carlos Tevez
Former Machester United and City striker Teves has just come off the back of a Serie A winning season in Italy with Juventus, but he won't be travelling to Rio with the Argentina side this summer. Tevez has denied having a feud with captain Lionel Messi, but the rumour mill suggests Tevez' omission has little to do with form or ability.
Picture credits: SPORTSFILE