Would have had Trezeguet ahead of Sukur
apologies if posted already.
GK: Timo Hildebrand (Germany)
Easily the most difficult position on this squad, simply because first choice keepers don’t often get dropped out of the blue. It was between Jerzy Dudek and Timo, but considering Hildebrand was going in as perhaps the heir to Jens after the tournament, this has to be a bigger blow. Dudek is on the wrong end, while Timo was supposedly on the way up. Must’ve stung a bit.
RB/LB: Bakary Sagna/Gael Clichy (France)
Same explanation: simply the victims of numbers. Clichy is not climbing over the established duo of Evra and Abidal while Clerc and Sagnol are the preferred tandem on the right. Plus, France has a couple guys who can slot over in a pinch. Someday, just not now.
CB: Carlos Cuellar (Spain)
The most difficult person to put in this list, with the main reason being a major tournament is just not the first time to give a guy his first competitive cap. Ever. Even if he may be a backup - in which case you could say it’s a definitive no-no, because those are times when experience is often valued above all, especially in central defence. But he did have a fantastic season for a team which plays absolutely no offense whatsoever, so he was critical.
CB: Philippe Mexes (France)
Biggest snub of the tournament. A world class defender, entering his prime and with intimate knowledge of nearly the entire Azzurri team, France’s biggest competitor in Group C? How do you explain that? Part of Domenech’s reasoning is supposedly the beating he took in the Coppa Italia final, but Philou was bruised and battered, not injured (and mostly at the hands of Vieira, which makes you think Domenech may have had a hand in this), and certainly capable of playing in the tourny. Someday the world will be introduced to him on the international level, but that day will have to coincide with the appointment of a new coach.
CM: Riccardo Montolivo (Italy)
For a long time he was being dubbed the heir to Francesco Totti. For a long time it looked like more media hype. This year, however, it seemed like there was a bit behind the comparison. Not enough to get him any higher than 24th on the list, however. He’d start for 3/4, maybe more, of the teams at this tournament. 2010 will be his day.
CM: Maniche (Portugal)
When he moved to Inter Milan from Atletico Madrid during January, he probably thought he was going for a better chance at starting for his country this summer. Maniche could hardly think he was fighting for a spot - a fight which would ultimately prove futile. Big Phil didn’t rate his recent performances enough to bring him along for the ride, feel free to guess why.
CM: Paul Scharner (Austria)
May not be the most glamorous name on this list, but when you’re Austria and you’re basically being forced into a major tournament you’re ill-qualified to participate in, you should be taking whatever talent and ability you’ve got. Not the case here; Scharner, despite being a player who would walk into the starting XI, will be at home watching his homeland in his homeland because of “differences” with the FA.
ST: Raul (Spain)
What can you say, really? Had a fantastic season and Aragones still doesn’t rate him. Sometimes, it’s just about being perceived as a square peg in a round hole.
ST: Hakan Sukur (Turkey)
Like Scharner, it’s all about the impact for your country. Even though he’s 36, he still played a critical part in qualifying and added to his already impressive tallies of 112 caps and 51 international goals with 5 into the back of the net in qualifying. Unfortunately at his age this snub also likely means his international career is over.
ST: Pippo Inzaghi (Italy)
They always say ride the hot hand, right? Well nobody in Europe was hotter than Pippo going into the Euros. His final 7 games, when Milan was playing for a Champions League spot, produced a ridiculous 10 goals. That one thing, despite having zero talent whatsoever, Pippo does and does well.
So in the end, it looks a little something like this:
Sagna, Cuellar, Mexes, Clichy;
Montolivo, Scharner, Maniche;
Sukur, Inzaghi, Raul.
Wonder where that squad would land were they thrust into, say, Group A?