The 89 players in the World Cup sticker album not heading to Russia

Quick Reads

Manchester City, Liverpool and Manchester United are among the teams that have had high-profile players left out of their respective World Cup squads. 

With every tournament comes everyone’s favourite hobby – the chance to complete another Panini sticker album by whatever means possible.

We’ve taken a look at the unlucky ones that have made the album but not stuck the final 23. Sorry.

Russia

Players missing: Viktor Vasin, Dmitri Kombarov, Denis Glushakov, Dmitry Poloz, Aleksandr Kokorin, Aleksandr Erokhin.

Panini clearly didn’t do their research on the host nation, with six players included in the album that didn’t make the final squad.

The most noticeable absentee is Zenit Saint Petersburg forward Aleksandr Kokorin, who tore his ACL in a Europa League game back in March, ruling him out of the tournament.

Saudi Arabia 

Players missing: Abudllah Al-Zori, Salman Al-Moasher, Nasser Al-Shamrani, Nawef Al-Abed.

After failing to qualify for the 2014 World Cup, Saudi Arabia’s players would have been doing everything they could to play on the biggest stage this time around.

Although they don’t have the most noticeable absentees, forward Al-Abed will be especially disappointed to miss out after making the preliminary squad.

Egypt

Players missing: Ramy Rabia, Ahmed Hassan, Amr Gamal.

A lot more eyes will be on The Pharaohs in Russia this summer thanks to the brilliance of Mohamed Salah, who despite the injury he sustained in the Champions League final has still made the 23.

Three players haven’t, though, with the biggest surprise being SC Braga’s striker, Ahmed Hassan ‘Kouka’, who was cut from the preliminary squad by Hector Cuper.

Uruguay 

Players missing: Mathias Corujo, Egidio Arévalo Rios, Alvaro Gonzalez.

A name you may recognise missing from the Uruguay side in the sticker album is veteran midfielder Egidio Arévalo Rios.

Rios was captain for all of Uruguay’s games at the last two tournaments, including the famous victory against England in 2014, but now 36, he is without a club and hasn’t appeared for the national team since last September.

Portugal

Players missing: Eliseu, Danilo Pereira, Andre Gomes.

Andre Gomes started Portugal’s first four games at Euro 2016 but has started only six games for Barcelona this season and so was left out of the final 23.

Pereira also misses out after a calf injury saw him miss a large portion of the second half of the season.

Spain

Players missing: Vitolo, Alvaro Morata.

Morata also missed out on the final 23 after a turbulent second half to the season at Chelsea, but it’s still the absence of David Villa we can’t get over.

Oh how we would have loved for him to get one last go on the big stage. Sadly, Panini called that one correctly.

Morocco 

Players missing: Fouad Chafik, Rachid Alioui

Alioui will be devastated not to be heading to Russia after suffering a ruptured tendon just last month.

The big striker scored 17 goals last season, helping his side Nimes secure promotion to French Ligue 1.

Iran

Players missing: Vouria Ghafouri, Jalal Hosseini.

Hosseini not making the final 23 has come as a huge blow for Iranian fans.

The veteran defender was selected as one of the best three defenders in the world by France Football magazine back in October 2016 and has made 116 appearances for his national team in total.

France

Players missing: Lucas Digne, Layvin Kurzawa, Laurent Koscielny, Adrien Rabiot, Alexandre Lacazette, Anthony Martial.

The award for the most notable absentees goes to France.

If you take a look at the France’s 23, you can understand why Didier Deschamps was able to leave this lot at home, but Kurzawa and Digne will be disappointed that Manchester City left-back Bernard Mendy got the nod over them despite making only nine appearances all season.

Australia 

Players missing: Mitchell Langerak, Bailey Wright, Ryan McGowan, James Troisi.

Bailey Wright missing out on the 23 caused the most unrest among the Aussie faithful, with the Bristol City defender playing more minutes in qualifying than any other player.

Melbourne Victory midfielder Troisi also publicly expressed his disappointment at not making the squad, but said: “The things I’ve seen and been through in football, nothing surprises me anymore.”

Peru

Players missing: None.

Every player you see in your official sticker book for Peru will be seen in Russia.

This is Peru’s first World Cup since 1982 and all players will be wanting to impress, starting with Denmark on June 16.

Denmark

Players missing: Nicklas Bendtner, Riza Durmisi, Peter Ankersen, Andreas Bjelland

The biggest disappointment to football fans around the world was the news of the injury to Nicklas Bendtner which ruled him out of the World Cup.

How could the competition possibly go on without Lord Bendtner? At least he’s still available in our sticker books.

Argentina

Players missing: Sergio Romero, Ramiro Funes Mori, Enzo Perez, Mauro Icardi

Twenty-nine goals for Inter still wasn’t enough for Icardi to make the cut, but you look at Argentina’s forward line and can understand why.

Premier League players Romero and Funes Mori also miss out on the final 23 due to unfortunate injuries.

Iceland

Players missing: Vidar Orn Kjartansson.

The thought of Iceland still sends chills down many an England fan’s spine. No pun intended.

Kjartansson is the only unfortunate player to miss out of the final 23. The striker was previously linked to Newcastle United last summer.

Croatia

Players missing: Marko Rog, Mario Pasalic.

Chelsea player Pasalic – yes, Chelsea player – and Napoli man Rog will both be feeling extremely disappointed to not make the Croatian 23.

Rog played a big part in qualifying for the side as well as raking up 37 appearances in a strong Napoli outfit in Serie A, but it wasn’t enough to impress manager Zlatko Dalic.

Pasalic on the other hand has been a Chelsea player for the last four years, spending all of them out on loan. The midfielder played 32 times for Spartak Moscow last season, scoring five goals.

Nigeria

Players missing: Simon Moses, Mikel Agu, Ola Aina.

Highly-rated winger Moses will agonisingly miss out having been recently sidelined for three to four weeks with a thigh injury.

The Gent forward has been linked with a move to Liverpool this summer, so it will come as a big blow to the player that he is now unable to show what he can do.

Brazil

Players missing: Dani Alves, Guiliano.

The noticeable absentee from the squad has to be the legend that is Dani Alves.

Although now 35, Alves played a big part in World Cup qualification for Brazil and it wouldn’t have come as a shock to anyone to see him in the starting XI in Russia.

However, the veteran defender suffered a knee injury playing in the Coupe de France final for PSG, ruling him out of what his last World Cup. A sad end for the classy full-back.

Costa Rica 

Players missing: Michael Umana.

Umana is unfortunately the only player to miss out for Costa Rica.

The defender played a big part in the Ticos’ tournament in 2014, which saw them upset all odds to top a group which included England, Italy and Uruguay, qualifying for the quarter-finals for the first time in their history.

Serbia

Players missing: Nikola Maksimovic, Jagos Vukovic, Nemanja Gudelj, Mijat Gacinovic, Matija Nastasic.

Manchester City fans will be familiar with Nastasic, who misses out after struggling with injury in the build-up to the tournament.

Switzerland

Players missing: Admir Mehmedi, Erin Derdiyok.

Wolfsburg forward Mehmedi was seen as a big loss by many Switzerland fans.

The 27-year-old has made 58 appearances for the national side to date but was unable to recover from injury in time to be fit for Russia.

Sadly for fellow countryman Derdiyok, this worldie from 2016 isn’t enough to keep earning him a spot in the squad.

Germany

Players missing: Emre Can, Mario Gotze, Leroy Sane.

Not a bad trio to be left out of a side. A trio that includes 2014 World Cup final goalscoring hero Gotze.

Despite the last tournament winner being left out of the squad, the most controversial decision seems to have been the exclusion of Sane.

Gotze has had an extremely rocky few years and Can has been on the treatment table for a lot of the season, but Sane has had the season of his life.

Fourteen goals and 19 assists for the record-breaking Premier League champions was overlooked by Joachim Low in favour of Bayer Leverkusen winger Julian Brandt.

Mexico

Players missing: None.

What you see is what you get with the Mexicans. All your sticker book players are heading to the World Cup.

Mexico have reached the round of 16 every year since 1994 so will be hoping to finally go one further this year.

South Korea

Players missing: Kwak-Tae-hwi, Hong Jeong-ho, Kwon Chang-hoon, Nam Tae-hee, Han Kook-young, Ji Dong-won, Kim Jin-Su.

Despite a combined 276 International appearances between them, none of these South Korean players find themselves with a place at the 2018 World Cup.

Chang-hoon was the player that would have most likely made it if it wasn’t for his unfortunate injury. The midfielder picked up an Achilles tendon injury towards the end of the Ligue 1 season with Dijon.

Sweden

Players missing: None.

There are no surprise omissions from the Sweden 23, with all your sticker book players having a place on the plane.

The Swedes are going into their first World Cup competition since the retirement of talismanic striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic and will need a new hero to step up if they are to achieve anything in Russia.

Belgium

Players missing: Radja Nainggolan.

Roberto Martinez did not make himself a popular man among Belgium supporters when he released a squad which didn’t include Nainggolan.

The Roma midfielder has proven a fan favourite with both club and country due to his unwavering commitment, so it was a decision that sent shockwaves around Europe.

Martinez has said he understand the controversy surrounding the decision but that he wasn’t put in his position to be popular and needed to make the correct decisions.

England

Players missing: Joe Hart, Ryan Bertrand, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Adam Lallana.

Hart’s form has been steadily declining for years and three very inexperienced keepers have made the leap ahead of him, while Lallana has spent the majority of the season injured.

The Ox suffered a heartbreaking injury against Roma which has ultimately ruled him out of both a Champions League final and a World Cup tournament.

Bertrand, meanwhile, had a relatively good season despite Southampton’s struggles but has missed out to converted full-back Ashley Young.

Panama

Players missing: None.

If you’re worried about any of your favourite Panama players from the sticker book not making the World Cup then fear not, every player has got himself a place.

This is the first World Cup the country has qualified for history – they’re going to beat England, aren’t they?

Tunisia

Players missing: Aymen Abdennour, Youseff Msakni, Taha Yassine Khenissi, Yoann Touzghar, Ahmed Akaichi.

Similar to South Korea, the Tuinsian squad is missing 166 international appearances from the above players alone.

Abdennour may be the name most familiar to people from his time in Spain and France. The defender is currently on loan at Marseille in Ligue 1 but only managed 14 appearances in all competitions last season.

Colombia

Players missing: Duvan Zapata, Yimmi Chara, Edwin Cardona, Teofilo Gutierrez, Giovanni Moreno.

Colombia were one of the stand-out teams at the 2014 World Cup, reaching the quarter-finals in Brazil.

Gutierrez is the only player from above who took part four years ago and will be extremely disappointed that he won’t be involved to replicate those performances in Russia.

Napoli striker Zapata can also consider himself an unlucky absentee, despite only making his International debut in 2017. The forward spent last season on loan at fellow Serie A side Sampdoria, scoring 11 goals and providing six assists.

Japan

Players missing: Yaya Kubo, Hiroshi Kiyotake, Masato Morishige, Shushaku Nishikawa.

There were no real surprises with the reveal of the final 23 here, but the exclusion of Kubo came to the disappointment of many.

The Japan squad is full of a lot of experienced pros and some fans feel it is going to miss the injection of youth that someone like Kubo would provide.

The 24-year-old played 42 times for Gent last season, scoring 11 goals.

Poland

Players missing: Krzysztof Maczynski.

Kamil Glik is expected to join this list soon, too.

Glik, a vital player for Poland, is part of the final 23, but he injured his shoulder when attempting a bicycle kick in training and is now expected to be replaced in the squad by Marcin Kaminski

Maczynski’s omission was somewhat of a surprise after the Legia Warsaw midfielder had previously played a big part in the qualifiers.

Senegal 

Players missing: None.

Another complete squad to tick off in Senegal.

The last time Senegal qualified for a World Cup in 2002 they reached the quarter finals and will be hoping to achieve a similar feat this year.

With a squad full of well-known talent like Sadio Mane and Keita Balde, anything could be possible for the Senegalese in Russia.


More World Cup

The seven stages of following England at a major tournament

Revisiting the 2014 BBC prediction of England’s 2018 World Cup line-up

Can you name the top scorer at every World Cup since 1966?

Remembering Stephen Hawking’s formula for England World Cup success

Never mind Mohamed Salah, Egypt are taking a 45-year-old to the World Cup


Promoted Stories