Greg Helmich: – As a Welshman I would love to see Wales at a World Cup and with one of the top 3 players in the world in their side anything could happen. It’s a huge shame that Bale won’t be in Brazil but he and Wales have a great opportunity to qualify for Euro 2016 and if they can achieve this then World Cup 2018 could be a realistic prospect.
Paul Dargan – It is possible that, like Ryan Giggs, he could be the most decorated club player never to play in an international tournament. Georges Weah and Best, Ian Rush, Jim Baxter; it’s sometimes cruel when you play for a nation unlikely to qualify and we are mostly denied the opportunity to watch these world-class players on the biggest stage.
Niamh Archibald – He can always produce a moment of magic and score both crucial and jaw dropping goals, such as his bicycle kick against England and his goal for PSG against FC Nantes in the Coupe De La Ligue. Ibrahimovic is a footballer that always makes compelling viewing even his interviews get people talking. For me it seems unfair that a magnificent player and character will miss one of the world’s greatest sporting events especially when you consider he is 32 and it will be unlikey he will feature in 2018.
Charlotte Duncker – We all knew that the outcome of Sweden v Portugal last November was going to leave one of the best players in the world sat at home this summer. Ibrahimovic was the one to lose out and his skill and spectacular goals will be missed. It seems a shame that someone who can produce such amazing moments won’t have the chance to showcase his talent at the World Cup.
Nikki Davidson – Though he may not be a showboat player or as an exciting one as, say, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, my anticipation of watching England this summer was slightly diminished when I heard Ashley Cole would not be selected to go to the World Cup, and not just because he is (was) a Chelsea player. Ashley’s valuable consistency and dependability on the left side of the defence has often gone unnoticed exactly because of those traits – his regularity has meant that he is too frequently taken for granted. Cole’s talent and quiet dedication has been reflected in his willingness and ability to turn up when called upon and give his all at the highest level. As, in my opinion, the best left-back in the game today (with the silverware to show for it), it is a shame that England will be without his contributions this summer, and though there may be worthy replacements to fill his position (for both club and country), it may take some time until they can truly provide for the team at that same level.
Tom Simmonds – if the World Cup is the stage for the world’s best players, it surely has a place for a man as central to the La Liga champions and Champions League finalists as Turan. He has played 132 games for Atletico in all competitions across three seasons, over which they have won 4 trophies so far. His 72 caps and 14 goals from midfield for his country suggest that he is as important to his country as his club, and he would surely have done his bit to enliven the World Cup coming straight off a sensational domestic season.
Andrew Papadopoulos – Tevez has been one of Juventus’s best players this year. He’s got the most goals in the squad with 21, eight assists and six man of the match awards. And he’s 30 now, so it was probably his last chance at an international tournament, which is quite sad.
Tom Simmonds – A striker as lethal and as comfortable on the big stage as Lewandowski should not be sat at home during the World Cup. His eye watering 103 goals in 185 games for Dortmund, which include 4 goals in a single Champions League semi final vs Real Madrid, a goal in the subsequent final vs Bayern and a hat trick in the 2011-12 German Cup final, show that he would relish the chance to showcase his goalscoring talents on the biggest stage of all, despite his comparatively modest goal record at international level (56 caps 18 goals).