FEATURE: Injured World Cup Eleven


Victor Valdes

The three-time UEFA Champions League-winning goalkeeper will miss the upcoming FIFA World Cup after tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee in March. The 32-year-old, who understandably has not been included in Spain’s World Cup squad, has been second choice to captain Iker Casillas since 2010 and will not be available to call upon if anything happens to the Spanish number one.

Gregory van der Wiel

The Dutch left-back ruled himself out of Holland’s provisional thirty-man squad ahead of the World Cup, after informing coach Louis van Gaal that the tendonitis in his knee was ‘impossible’ to recover from in time for the trip to Brazil. The Paris Saint Germain defender notched up 35 appearances for his League 1 club, and Arjen Robben will miss his speedy supporting runs down the right.

Holger Badstuber

The 25-year old centre-back will miss Germany’s World Cup campaign due to a knee injury he suffered in November 2012. The Bayern Munich defender was a vital part of Joachim Low’s Euro 2012 team, and will be missed in Low’s plans in Brazil.

Elderson Echiejile

Echiejile was originally included in Nigeria’s World Cup squad but suffered a muscle tear in the Super Eagles’ friendly against Greece in Philadelphia last week Tuesday, and has since been dropped from the squad. The AS Monaco defender’s level of experience will surely leave a gap in the Nigerian defence in Brazil.

Kyle Walker

The Tottenham Hotspur versatile full-back suffered a pelvic injury in a Europa League fixture against Benfica in March, and did not feature for his club since then. The former England under-19 defender, who is also able to play on the left, featured six times for England in 2013 and would have been competition for Liverpool’s Glen Johnson, had he been able to gain some match practice before the end of the Premier League season.

Theo Walcott

The Arsenal right-winger is another one of the many unfortunate international stars who have suffered cruciate ligament injuries this past season. The 25-year-old last featured in the Gunners’ FA Cup third-round win over Tottenham Hotspur in January, and will be missed for his menacing runs down the right.

Thiago Alcantara

A direct replacement for the aging Xavi, Alcantara was hampered with injuries in his first season at Bayern Munich. After a short return to action, Alcantara suffered a recurrence of his knee injury that ruled him out earlier in the season and ruined his chances of featuring in his native Brazil, for his preferred Spanish national team.

Marco Reus

The Borussia Dortmund midfielder was dealt a harsh blow just six days ahead of kick-off of the World Cup, after twisting his ankle in Germany’s 6-1 victory over Armenia. Reus was a key figure in Dortmund’s past campaign and was set for a similar role in the Germans’ quest for their first World Cup in 18 years.

Franck Ribery

The 2014 Ballon d’Or finalist was ruled out of this month’s World Cup due to an unusual back injury, which he suffered in a national team training session. Les Bleus will no doubt miss the Bayern Munich star in their campaign, and will have to settle for the less experienced Remy Cabella or Schneiderlin.

Radamel Falcao

The AS Monaco star striker made worldwide headlines when he suffered a knee injury in January, and immediately raised fears of missing out on the World Cup. The 28-year-old has failed to recover in time and was left out of the Colombian Wolrd Cup squad, dealing a huge blow to their hopes on South American soil. Falcao is the Colombia’s third highest goal scorer with 20 goals in 51 matches, just five away from being the top goal scorer.

Christian Benteke

The Aston Villa striker was ruled out of the World Cup after he tore his Achilles tendon in a training session in April. The 23-year-old will miss out on a star-studded Belgian squad, who are tipped as underdogs, going into this month’s campaign. Benteke has managed six goals in 17 appearances for his country, and his Premier League experience will be sorely missed in Brazil.


Other marquee players to miss World Cup (Bench):

Roman Shirokov (Russian midfielder and captain)

Eric Lamela (Argentina midfielder)

Rafael van der Vaart (Netherlands midfielder)

Riccardo Montolivo (Italy midfielder)

Marcel Schmelzer (Germany left back)

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