Their nations have qualified. They have done enough to lament a place. But will they go?
16 teams have qualified. 368 players would be called up to the show case. With that number in mind, there would be a host of names that could miss the big showcase itself. Remember how many big names missed the last World Cup? Theo Walcott, Javier Zanetti, Ronaldinho, Nani, Mario Balotelli, and these are just a few of them. These players missed out either on injury, fallout with the manager, or just simply because the manager thought "he wasn't good enough" and the fact that the nations of the players I mentioned above performed miserably, the manager might just made a mistake. This Euro though, we expect more or less the same amount of surprising exclusions. And below I have listed 30 players who might miss their countries call-ups despite - in the writers mind - are more than good enough to be called up.
The Honorable Mentions:
Eljero Elia (Netherlands)
Elia made his dream move last summer to Juventus from HSV but has since only played in 2 Serie A matches. For all his promise shown in South Africa 2010, he will almost definitely miss the whole competition.
Sebastian Kehl (Germany)
Being Dortmund's skipper in their rise to prominence might not be enough to see himself getting back into International recognition. Germany is already packed in midfield
Mattia Cassani (Italy)
Once being thought to be a definite inclusion, but now seeing his form dip after his move from Palermo to Fiorentina sees Ignazio Abate and Christian Maggio getting the nod.
Artur Boruc (Poland)
One of the best goallies in Serie A, but hasnt got a call-up for the host nation for a while now. With Tyton and Szczceszzcsszsczszszny being more trusted, it will be harsh on Boruc.
Leon Best (Rep. Ireland)
He's certainly no George, but he's not half bad. Besides, when else can you get a Best in an International tournament?
Without further a do, lets start the countdown, shall we?
#30 Mladen Petric (Croatia)
Ooh he's a handful in every FM edition there ever is. His skills are actually pretty good for a striker. He's 31 and he isn't really that prolific while Croatia has been producing good striker lately in Nikica Jelavic, Mario Mandzukic, and Nikola Kalinic. But Petric still might squeeze in anyway. Why did he get a nod in our countrown? I just didn't want it to be all Germany/Spain/France/England/Holland list. I wanted variety, so here he is.
#29 Pablo Osvaldo (Italy)
Argentina at birth, Italy by choice. He'd make it big with either country, but he only has a slight possibility to be in Euro's. He has impressed for Azzuri, and his Roma form is something to be proud of, but with the wealth of attacking talent of a nation who are famous for their defence, it will need a miracle for Prandelli to call him over Balotelli.
#28 Jack Wilshere (England)
Despite the overrated British media, Jack is actually that good for a 20 year-old wonderkid. Sadly, he hasn't healed from his latest injury and hasn't played a single minute this season. He might be fit for the Euro's but is he really worth sacrificing? Remember, minimal match practice. Whoever takesover from Capello *cough-Redknapp-cough* will need to seriously think twice before calling him up.
#27 Lassana Diarra (France)
Real Madrid player. Surely just by stating that you'd think he's a definite call-up, right? Well I don't see Jose Callejon getting a Spain call-up in the near future so that's rebutted. He has been in and out of the team and form, has gotten injured way too often, and an emergence of Yann M'Vila is another factor of him might not go to Poland-Ukraine in the summer. Pity really.
#26 Raul Albiol (Spain)
Another Real Madrid player on the list. Spain may not have that many centrehalves as good as Puyol and Pique at this current time, but Busquets and Javi Martinez can cover in really well in there. I mean Albiol has been rarely played by Mourinho, he might not be given a call-up just be playing too little. Saddens me really someone with great talent like his warming Bernabeu benches in games.
#25 Danny (Portugal)
Obviously 3rd choice winger behind Cristiano Ronaldo and Nani, but he rupture his knee. His injury has coincided with the second coming of Ricardo Quaresma as well. Zenit's wingman probably will curse his luck now.
#24 Stefan Keissling (Germany)
He's been leading the Leverkusen attack for a couple of years now and has scored a lot of goals. This season his tally has dried up a little though but it doesnt mean he's ineffective. But how can any striker beat Miroslav Klose and Mario Gomez? Unless your name is Lionel Messi, it's difficult. Plus, Cacau is ahead of him in Joachim Low's pecking order and with the talent Germany has, he could miss out as well.
#23 Fabio Quagliarella (Juventus)
He's so underrated it's unbelievable. He hasn't got a fair chance for Juventus this season but that is also due to Matri's & Vucinic's form added with Simone Pepe's workrate. It's unfair really but he's a decent goalscorer. I would love to see him lead Italy's front line, but that could be unlikely.
#22 Ivan Klasnic (Croatia)
Clearly is Bolton's best striker but Owen Coyle likes to put David N'gog instead. Klasnic is Bolton's topscorer this season but N'gog is still starting ahead of him. This may not help his cause for a Croatia squad berth, similar to Pertic's case but having a slight smaller chance than him.
#21 John Guidetti (Sweden)
18 league goals in the Eredivisie this season for Feyenoord, I'm surprised ManCity left him out on loan. City could actually do with a striker like him. Despite his exploits in Holland, Sweden actually has a wealth of talent up front in Ola Toivonen, Tobias Hysen, Johan Elmander, Marcus Berg, and some guy who I cant remember his name. Zlatko Ibra... something near that I guess.
#20 Jose Enrique (Spain)
Might probably be the most consistent left-back in the Premier League this season, it would still be a surprise if Del Bosque still won't give him a go for Spain. I predict Furia Roja to fill up the squad with more midfielders than usual which would mean less space for defenders. Even if Del Bosque were to call a backup left-back, it is likely Malaga's Nacho Monreal to get the nod ahead of Enrique.
#19 Christian Trasch (Germany)
Despite his comical surname, he's anything but rubbish. He has that classy side of him which enables him to be versatile in either as a full back or a centremidfielder. His versatility may come to his advantage, but Wolfsburg's form this season isn't that great and he might miss out on that alone.
#18 Ryan Babel (Netherlands)
These days, Babel is more known for his tweets than his performances on the field. But give credit to him, he's playing regularly for Hoffenheim now. All of us fans would want him to get called-up so he can tweet about it, but fans wouldn't be too devastated if he missed Van Marwijk's list, because based on form itself, he hasn't reached his early Liverpool career heights.
#17 Rio Ferdinand (England)
He's finally getting away from the treatment table and getting in form for ManUtd, but England's defence has been mix-and-match with a bunch of other defenders that even Rio might miss out. Terry, Cahill, Lescott, King, even teammate Phil Jones and Chris Smalling is in a better chance to get to Poland-Ukraine this summer. He's still a great defender, but I'm not sure if the England manager would want to call him up.
#16 Jose Bosingwa (Portugal)
Not automatic first choice right-back for Chelsea nor for Portugal, but he is more than a useful addition in both teams. Sadly, he had a fallout and bust-up with Portugal manager Paulo Bento leading him to not answer to further any call-up if the manager was Bento. It's not like Portugal needs him though, but he definitely has talent.
#15 Per Mertesacker (Germany)
His arrival at Emirates has steadied the leaky and panicky Arsenal defense and has already achieved 79 caps for his country, and he's only 27!! He's currently injured but its said that he will be fit enough for the finals in June. Truth is though, he might not even make the cut, mostly because of the emergence of younger and more mobile defenders (Hummels, Badstuber, Howedes, Boateng et al). Mertesacker has been accused by critics and fans to be slower than a turtle and a snail race. They couldn't be more true, but his vision is incredible and definitely a sad exclusion if he were to be excluded.
#14 Either Bender (Lars/Sven) (Germany)
Their twins. Twins usually count as one. And to say that they are similar players is an understatement. Sven won the Bundesliga with Dortmund last season as a key player, but Lars with Leverkusen finished 2nd with him being just as indispensable for his club. Both has already debuted for their country, but yet to partner each other.
Why did I put both on the #14 slot? Because most likely only 1 of the Benders would make the squad. They are both talented and equally great, but with only 23 slots in the final squad plus the additional talent Deutschland have in midfield, there might be even a possibility of BOTH Benders missing it. Both of them getting a call-up would be a better story than the Boateng brothers story in South Africa, so I would like to see Sven and Lars in Poland-Ukraine.
#13 Christian Abbiati (Italy)
If he wasn't injured that often - or if Dida never existed, he would definitely be first choice backup to Buffon. Abbiati is a great goalkeeper and is keeping World Cup winner Marco Amelia on the bench for Milan. You tell me he isn't that good? Did you NOT see his double save against Arsenal? I bet he has done better saves than that in SerieA. What a waste Prandelli not giving him another chance of tournament experience.
#12 Rene Adler (Germany)
I feel bad for this guy. He rarely gets injured, but when he does he loses his place to someone younger but similarly skilled. He was going to be Germany's #1 in South Africa but he decided to go into surgery for a rib injury and lost his place to Manuel Neuer. Neuer now is dubbed "Best goalkeeper in the world currently" which I highly doubt. At the beginning of this season, Adler was injured again - this time for a knee injury. Like his earlier injury, now his place is taken by young promising 19-y.o. Bernd Leno signed on loan fromStuttgart. Adler is back from injury, but Leno's form has hindered his comeback. With the emergence of other goalkeepers as well, he's going to miss Euro2012. Bad Luck is DEFINITELY an understatement for Adler's situation.
#11 Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (England)
Like Wilshere, he's so young. But unlike Wilshere, he's played brilliantly this season. He has made all those overrated talented English wingers look slow and boring. The Ox - as he is now known as - has been on everyone's fans' lips. They all say the same things, "he needs to go to Euro". A factor going against him though is that England has lots of great wingers, AOC might have to be sacrificed for another tournament.
#10 Ricardo Carvalho (Portugal)
Alongside Pepe, he has formed a rock solid partnership at Real Madrid. But for Portugal, he has had a bust-up similar to Bosingwa. He said he has retired from international football because of Paulo Bento, but hasn't ruled out a comeback if the manager went to be different. His presence will be sorely missed though, but he has abled deputies in the form of Bruno Alves and Rolando.
#09 Ibrahim Affelay (Netherlands)
He might only be back-up at Barcelona and he's not guaranteed a starting berth for Holland, but his talents are there for everyone to enjoy. He has been injured for a while now and rumor has it that he might not be fit for the Euros. That is just a bummer for someone like Affelay.
#08 Pedro Rodriguez (Spain)
Second Barcelona player in succession, this inclusion might raise eyebrows for his position on this list. He's an important player for Barcelona and is notably the less glorified of the forwards that started the Champions League final. His scoring record is not something to joke about, but with Spain having the wealth of midfielders and strikers at their disposal, its hard to include a 23-man squad with Pedro in it.
#07 Micah Richards (England)
England basically have 3 awesome fullbacks in their pool of talent. Of course you can only bring 2 of them to Poland-Ukraine, and odds are that Richards is the one going to be left behind. That is such a travesty though, he is the best performing right-back in the Premier League and this is currently his best season to date. Kyle Walker though has been impressing for Spurs while Glen Johnson has always been in contention. 3 bloody worldclass right backs? Even Germany or Holland don't have that!
#06 Yoann Gourcuff (France)
There is no doubting Gourcuff is one of the more talented players of his generation if France, but his move from Bordeaux to Lyon last season is becoming more of an expensive flop. It kills the fans to see that he isn't anywhere near the form he showed back at Lorient and Bordeaux, he even lost his place in the starting line-up. France could do without him too though, Nasri, Valbuena, M'Vila, even Amalfitano or Marvin Martin is considered above him now for Euros.
#05 Antonio Cassano (Italy)
Prandelli's golden boy ever since his appontment in 2010, Cassano is currently recovering from a minor heart surgery and racing against time to be fit again for Euros. Even if he doesn't get fit in time, Prandelli will bring Cassano anyway as a guest of honor. He'll be beside Prandelli, as a player or not. Would be better for entertainment purposes for him to play, right?
#04 Fernando Torres (Spain)
Oooooh boy, where do I start? He scored Spain's winner in the Euro 2008 final and had injury problems after that. His extreme dip in form after his 50M pound move to Chelsea has been well documented by every sports media outlet, it seems wrong for me to add criticism now. His form is so bad, once a certain starter for his country, he may now not be called up. Many fans wouldn't be surprised if he missed out, but many fans would be sad. After all he was a hero back in Austria-Switzerland, but Soldado, Llorente and Negredo are in a vain of form it is impossible to leave them out for some expensive flop, right?
#03 Antonio Di Natale (Italy)
He may be 34 already, but he is the most prolific Italian striker in SerieA for a long while now. Yes, he had a bad Euro 2008, but he has played waaaaaaaaaaay better after that. Its something of a mystery really why Cesare Prandelli keeps overlooking Di Natale for the likes of Fabio Borini, Alberto Gilardino, Alessandro Matri, even Pablo Osvaldo. Di Natale should get his last chance of International glory and Di Natale is absolutely brilliant. 105 goals in his last 155 league games? You can not tell me that is something special. If he was playing for Barcelona that would be fine, but he's playing for friggin Udinese! God give him another chance.
#02 David Villa (Spain)
David Villa destroyed his knee whilst playing for Barca in the Club World Cup in the beginning of this year. Spain's record goalscorer was Euro2008's top scorer and an important component of both Barcelona and Spain's plans. It is too close to call if he would recover in time with Del Bosque having his fingers crossed all the time.
#01 Eric Abidal (France)
No. This blog is not Barcelona-biased. it just happened to be 2 Barcelona players on top of the list.
He recovered from a liver tumor surgery last year and played marvelously in the Champions League final. It looked like he was fully recovered but shocking news appeared as he announced to the world that he would undergo a liver transplant caused by complications he had from the previous surgery. Nevermind the Euros, he might not even play football ever again. This is sad news as all notable football figures thought he was over his liver problems to continue his career and represent France once again. Animo Abidal!
Did I miss a couple of names in this list? Anthony Reveillere? Aaron Lennon? Or maybe Jesus Navaz? I know i must left someone out. But for now - up until March 2012 - this is the list of the best possible Euro axes.