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This is an article from the soccerage.com . I have broken it into 2 parts. Hope u ppl don't mind me posting such a lengthy article. But in my opinion this article is worth it.
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Not everyone on this planet is a football fanatic. There are those of us that live, breathe and essentially thrive on this potion called football, while others content themselves with simply watching a few games here and there when they can without getting involved to the point that they get upset stomachs if their side loses the Champions' League final. However, recently I have been introduced to a whole new breed of people: Those who only watch football once every four years. This has prompted me to ponder why these individuals, who typically don't give two hoots about the game even care?

The answer is simple. The FIFA World Cup is a unique tournament that showcases the world's finest competing for the greatest honor known to mankind (this one was meant for us footballing types). It is quite simply the amalgamation of many styles and calibers of play cramped into thirty heart-stopping days. It is, in my opinion, the first step in the conversion of these "agnostic" footy spectators into believers. What a shame then that we (the nutcase fanatics) and they (the guest spectators) should be deprived of some of the world's finest showmen on this grand a stage.

Yes, I am referring to the twenty-odd players who are being sorely missed by you, me and the rest of the planet as preparations for kick-off get underway. Is it really going to be that easy to watch a World Cup and enjoy it to the maximum if players like Ruud Van Nistelrooy, Roy Keane and Pavel Nedved are watching from home? What's more…huge doubts currently surround the presence of Thierry Henry, David Beckham, Filippo Inzaghi, Zinedine Zidane, Rivaldo and Luis Figo who are undoubtedly THE finest that will grace the Far East in the coming weeks.
 

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Absent XI (3-4-3): Cañizares; Stam, Hyypia, Cordoba; Pires, Keane, Davids, Nedved; Amoroso, Van Nistelrooy, Shevchenko

Santiago Cañizares (Valencia/España): a.k.a, Mr. Freak Accident, Cañizares was ruled out of the World Cup when he dropped a bottle of after shave on his foot, rupturing his tendons. Sigh! When will people stop using those 2 gallon bottles of Old Spice? Cañizares rose to fame as part of Hector Cuper's Valencia side that finished runners-up in two successive Champions' League finals. He was one of the key members of the current club side that were crowned Spanish Champions a month ago and was set to give Iker Casillas stiff competition for the start, but now will watch the cup from home. Cañizares, who at one point in his career struggled to nail down a starting spot at Real Madrid, has improved by leaps and bounds over the past few seasons and his move to Valencia can only be termed as a blessing. He was voted Champions' League's finest goalkeeper by UEFA for the 1999-00 season and had it not been for this unfortunate accident, he may well have led Spain to a historic success in the World Cup.

Jaap Stam (SS Lazio/Netherlands): More famous for his deprecating remarks of David Beckham, Sir Alex Ferguson, the Neville brothers and the Inzaghi brothers than his defensive abilities, Stam was part of the treble-winning United side of 1999. Despite a poor start at United, the Dutch international rose to prominence and soon became the rock that he was expected to be. His career however has been shrouded in controversy as he was first sold to Lazio in 2001 for insulting his teammates and manager in his autobiography and was later banned for 10 months for testing positive for nandrolene. Despite this, Stam will be one of the most solid defenders missing from the World Cup, courtesy his countries unceremonious elimination.

Sami Hyypia (Liverpool FC/Finland): UEFA Cup, FA Cup, League Cup, UEFA Super Cup and Charity Shield winner with Liverpool last year, Hyypia is recognized as one of the finest defenders in Europe. His pace, positioning, tackling, aerial strength and precise passing make him one of the most complete footballers of this generation and it is no wonder that he now wears the honored captain's armband for the Reds. But, coming from a nation more famous for producing racecar drivers than footballers, Hyypia will have to pray for a miracle if he is to participate in a World Cup before he calls it a day.

Ivan Cordoba (Inter Milan/Colombia): This obdurate defender is often underrated and is undoubtedly one of the finest and most physically able full backs in the world. He was snapped up from San Lorenzo by Massimo Moratti of Inter who said that he was so taken aback by Cordoba's talent that he didn't even have to think twice before signing the Colombian. Famed for scoring the winner in his nation's win over Mexico in the last edition of the Copa America, Cordoba has only matured under new Inter coach Cuper and along with Marco Materazzi has become one of the stingiest defenders across Europe. However, his nation's poor form at the other end of the field (where Angel and Castillo didn't do enough) cost them a place in the World Cup.

Robert Pires (Arsenal/France): After years of struggle and seesawing form, Robert Pires rose to unprecedented heights in 2001-02. He signed for Arsenal barely a day after providing the assist that doomed Italy in the EURO 2000 Final and gradually settled into his groove under country man Arsene Wenger. Pires scored an astonishing 13 goals and broke the Premiership record for assists before suffering a horrific injury that ruled him out of the World Cup. Pires had been one of France's (and Arsenal's) best players in 2001 and would have been one of the leaders' for his country in Japan and Korea. At 29, it may have been Pires' last chance to shine on the big stage. Had it not been for his injury, Pires would have probably won the Premiership Player Of The Year award.

Roy Keane (Manchester Utd. /Rep. of Ireland): The most disgraced midfielder in the world (at the moment) also happens to be the most complete midfielder in the world. Fiery, despotic, aggressive yet with all the talent in the world, Kean-o is the man for any moment. His leadership for both club and country have won him many faithfuls. But, while Keane's talent has always been an asset, his temper has not. If Keane is at home right now waiting for Ireland to kick of their World Cup campaign, it is because of himself. At United he has been spoilt by the money, facilities and luxury that comes with playing for the richest club in the world. It is no wonder that he unleashed a harangue at his (not so well funded) national team management and staff to express his dissatisfaction at the team's training facilities. And, it is no wonder that he was told to piss off and go home.

Edgar Davids (Juventus/Netherlands): Yet another member of the discreditable Dutch side that is absent from the cup, Davids (along with Keane) is one of the best defensive midfielders in the world. Much like his Irish compatriot, Davids has a fiery temper, something that translates well on a football pitch. Davids is a pit bull who rarely lets an opponent past him. "Either you go…or the ball goes, never both," is his motto. Davids has also been shrouded in controversy of late, first by being sentenced to a drug ban that lasted almost all of 2001 and then by being accused of beating an ex-girlfriend. But, he has since been cleared of both charges and says that he can't wait for the World Cup to get over so that he can stop feeling left out. His Holland teammate Patrick Kluivert, another missing star has voiced similar sentiments.

Pavel Nedved (Juventus/Czech Republic): The best left-winger in the world in my opinion, Pavel Nedved is the jewel that Lazio should have never let go. Pavel Nedved is the perfect man for any team. He can play in a 3-4-1-2 or a 4-4-2 formation, play on the right or in the center if need be, and score goals from every part of the pitch. Nedved was one of the protagonists of the Lazio side that won the Coppa Italia, the Cup Winners' Cup and then the Italian double a year later. It came as a surprise then, that Sergio Cragnotti decided to sell him to Juventus in the summer of 2001. Nedved took his time to settle down in Turin before unleashing his talent in a wondrous season that saw him play a huge role in Juventus' run to the Scudetto. He setup tens of goals and netted four including the crucial game winner at Piacenza.

Marcio Amoroso (Borussia Dortmund/Brazil): It is not often that a player who leads his league's scoring charts with 16 goals is not picked for his country. It only takes one look at Amoroso's hat trick against AC Milan in the UEFA Cup semifinals to see what a grave mistake "Big Phil" Scolari has made in not picking him for the World Cup. A victim of the "abundant Brazilian striker syndrome" Amoroso has excelled since his move from Parma last summer. However, it's not just form that is on his side. Amoroso is a former Cappocanioneri from his Udinese days where he beat Batistuta and Bierhoff to the title. Superb in the air and with his feet, Amoroso is exactly the man Brazil need should Ronaldo struggle to perform. But, apparently "Big Phil" doesn't think so.

Ruud Van Nistelrooy (Manchester Utd. /Netherlands): What do you say about a man who is out for almost a year with a career threatening knee injury and comes back and scores more than 35 goals for his club. And when those goals are scored against the Europe's finest in the Premier League and Champions' League, it is even more spectacular. Voted Player Of The Year by his fellow professionals in 1998-99, 1999-00 and 2001-02, Van Nistelrooy has been touted by many as the best striker in the world. While I wouldn't go as far as to say that, I definitely would agree with the fact that he has what it takes to get there. He has often been compared to the great Marco Van Basten and while Van Nistelrooy will have to work very hard to reach the high standards set by the "Swan of Utrecht", he has surely done enough to be regretted as one of the biggest names absent from next month's cup.

Andriy Shevchenko (AC Milan/Ukraine): Shevchenko first made his name by being one-half of the wrecking team that tormented defenses for Dynamo Kiev in the nineties. Shevchenko-Rebrov was a bed-wetting phenomenon among European defenders. Shevchenko's greatest feat to date remains netting a hat trick to dismiss Barcelona at the Nou Camp. Despite struggling for form in the past months, his record in Italy remains unparalleled. He became the first foreigner to be crowned Cappocanioneri in their debut season and his 65-game record remains the fastest any foreigner has taken to reach fifty goals. Shevchenko's biggest disappointment however, remains not being able to lead his country to any of the major tournaments, being eliminated in a two-leg playoff in their last three attempts.

These are just eleven out of fifty-plus players who should have been at the World Cup. While some have fallen victim to the banal curse: Injury, others are absent due to coaching choices. Brazilian forwards in particular have suffered due to the abundance of natural-born strikers in the country. Others like Baggio have been ruled out due to age. The most notable absentees on a team level are Holland, Colombia and the Czech Republic, all of who have traditionally been present at most major tournaments.

Every one of these absentees could not have been included in this piece, but I have attempted to include all those who came to mind. Please excuse me if I have forgotten any noteworthy names or your personal favorites.

Other Distinguished World Cup 2002 Absentees:
GK: Van Der Sar (Netherlands), Cordoba (Colombia), Antonioli (Italy)

DF: Nowotny (Germany), G. Neville (England), Pessotto (Italy), Tudor (Croatia), Contra (Romania), Kuffour (Ghana)

MF: Seedorf (Netherlands), Albertini (Italy), Ze Roberto (Brazil), Rosicky (Czech Rep.), Deisler (Germany), Scholl (Germany), Overmars (Netherlands), Gerrard (England), Riquelme (Argentina), McManaman (England), Djalminha (Brazil), Serginho (Brazil), Salihamidzic (Bosnia-Herzegovina)

FW: Baggio (Italy), Saviola (Argentina), Romario (Brazil), Elber (Brazil), Jardel (Brazil), Kluivert (Netherlands), Hasselbaink (Netherlands), Anelka (France), Di Vaio (Italy), Pizzaro (Peru), Mpenza (Belgium)

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People are welcome to give their views on this article and submit their own list.:)
 

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Interesting article! :)

I feel sorry for those players missing WC through injury. It's an absolute shame, really. And also for those missing the Cup because their respective countries didn't qualify, or because the coach(es) preferred to pick other players.

I would have loved to see the Dutch play, they have some very good players in recent years. For the younger players who are only in their early twenties, there are more WCs coming, so do not despair. :)

Out of the list provided, I feel absolutely no sympathy for Roy Keane. It was his chance to bring glory to Ireland, but he had to ruin it in such a way. Ireland may have lost one of their best players, but well... perhaps they didn't need him that much after all.
 

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Don't feel sorry for Keane either but i do for the rest. I don't like Holland but its a shame for football when a quality team doesn't qualify. But i suppose i prefer ireland to be there anyway.

I feel sorry most for players like Hyppia and Shevchenko who suffer the George Best syndrome of their country not being good enough to grace the true world stage. Shame we can't see these stars in the biggest tournament.
 

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Interesting article:)

I am shocked that a player like Mehmet Scholl was not on the nt. I bet that a team of players who weren't invited to their nts could beat over half of the rosters in the Cup;)
 

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Mehmet Scholl and Sebastien Deisler have both had injury prone seasons and I really feel for Germany when it comes to those two players because I've seen Scholl on top form and he would be a big plus for the German side. :)

Deisler? he could have been one of the good young players but I guess he's got some more World Cups to come like Jun-Lei said about all youngsters missing out, same goes to El Conejito Saviola too.
 

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Marcelo Salas.....David Pizarro.....Reinaldo Navia...from Chile ;)
 
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