2010 World Cup: Top 10 Roster Snubs & Omissions

May 13, 2010

The World Cup is fast approaching, and there are some surprisingly big names who will not be participating. For those players failing to make their respective team's World Cup cut, the ”injured reserve” rule now becomes their only avenue to South Africa.

This rule essentially states that if there is an injury, teams may submit a replacement player, upon written request and approval by FIFA.

But here is the catch: that replacement player can be anyone, even someone who was not added to the 30-player “Release List” due weeks before the final 23-man roster deadline of June 1st.

What this means is that although a player has been left off the World Cup squad, should anyone get injured during or before the big dance, these snubbed all-stars could then get the last minute call. Considering that some players are playing in the Champions League Final, such injuries are a genuine possibility.

Here is our Top 10 list of surprising World Cup roster snubs:

1. Alexander Pato - Brazil

This goal poacher makes hard finishing look easy, and does so in movie star fashion. Never bashful, Pato is one who actually plays better on a big stage. Although he had a hot and cold year at AC Milan, Pato had an incredible prior year in the 2009 Serie A campaign. Presumably, Pato could prove himself in a future World Cup, but his omission from this Brazilian team was nevertheless shocking. Dunga's decision to go with more seasoned and domestic-based players, could prove costly and is always a gamble.

2. Karim Benzema - France

One simple question for France coach Raymond Domenech: How could you in good conscience do such a thing?!

Benzema is definitely a future star of French football, even if he did not single-handedly (pun intended) score the goal which got France into the World Cup. He, along with Alexander Pato, are the two biggest surprises on this list.

3. Ronaldihno - Brazil

With a World Cup Championship ring already under his belt from 2002, Ronaldihno is only 30-years old and has lots of juice left in him. One would think that the allure of having such a high profile veteran in the locker room would be worth a selection over a domestic-based player such as Kleberson.

However, Ronaldinho's inconsistent play in front of Dunga, and to some degree, AC Milan, has caused him to be left off the squad. We have to respect Dunga’s position that he needs to win a World Cup with players who are playing well at this moment, but Brazil without Ronaldihno, is just not the same.

4. Ruud van Nistelrooy - Netherlands

Politics and drama always exist in national team play. As a result, coaches do weird things, often taking unnecessary risks and chances. Considering Van Persie is injured, it was a risky decision to leave van Nistelrooy off the team. This guy is a starter on 9 out of 10 teams at the World Cup.

5. Patrick Vieira - France

Vieira has already criticized coach Domenech for his lack of class after finding out he would not be on the World Cup team on live television. An able-bodied French national team veteran such as Vieira deserved at least a phone call. Instead, he did not hear from the head coach in 6 months! Vieira was rightfully pissed, but still managed to show real class and maintain his dignity while effectively calling out Domenech. Respect.

6. Adriano - Brazil

Playing well since returning to Brazil, many believe that conservative coach Dunga left Adriano off the list due to Adriano's recent off-the-field antics which caused him to miss multiple training sessions with Flamengo.

Question: Why risk the potential for off-the-field baggage, which Adriano is so prone to creating, when you don’t need it, especially at the big dance?

Answer: Because Adriano is a dominating mega-force capable of scoring goals in a very physical, high-intensity World Cup. At 28 years of age, most teams at the World Cup would be delighted to have him.

7. Clarence Seedorf - Netherlands

Seedorf is yet another key AC Milan member who was unexpectedly snubbed. Owners at Milan must be speechless, as they are perhaps the most deserving yet underrepresented club at the World Cup.

The Netherlands, like many other nations, have decided to risk filtering out veterans in favor of youth, a decision that will likely pay off. Seedorf is yet another veteran-victim who would have had value at least coming off the bench as a potent weapon in a tight game. Make no mistake, there will be a tight game for the Dutch at some point in the tourney.

8. Samir Nasri - France

Despite having a sub-par season at Arsenal, this ’07 French League One MVP undoubtedly deserves to be on the team. Nasri is used to playing at the highest level for one of the most prestigious clubs, and does a pretty decent job of it. This is yet another rogue decision that Domenech will surely regret.

9. Luca Toni - Italy

Another surprise omission was Toni, Italy’s top striker at both the last World Cup and the European Championships less than two years ago. Apparently, scoring 5 goals in 10 games while on loan to Roma was not enough to counter his slow start to the season with Bayern Munich.

You have to respect a manager's decision to go with the players who are playing the best - not in the past, not in the future, but right now. Such thinking stands in contrast to that of the U.S. Men's National Team, who seem to bend over backwards hanging onto washed up veterans such as Brian Ching, even when they are injured.

10. Bojan Krkic - Spain

This 19-year old Barcelona rising-star made the 30-man cut but was left off the final 23-man Spanish National Team, as the forward competition was tough. With only four out of their final 23 playing for clubs outside of Spain, they may as well be called the "La Liga All-Stars," which perhaps speaks to their success as a team and explains why they are ranked number one in the world going into South Africa.

Krkic is certain to be a major contributor to Spanish soccer in the future, but at the moment his modest, yet promising contributions to Barcelona's 2010 league title campaign were not enough to earn him a trip to the World Cup.

Honorable Mention: Charlie Davies

Davies had an impressive Confederation’s Cup and is back to training full time with his club in France after sustaining horrific injuries in an auto accident. Tough luck Charlie, TheDailySportsHerald.com looks forward to writing about you in Brazil 2014.

Other Snubs: Argentina's Roster

As for the Argentina players who were surprised - Riquelme, Zanetti, Cambiaso, and Gago - we saw it coming a mile away.

The Argentine defense is poor to nonexistent, and Maradona will need some better defensive play in order to have any shot at winning. So why not take a chance especially when you know that what you have been using simply is not working? Well done Diego, it took a while, but it is about time you disregarded your loyalties.

By Adrian Yeung
Staff Reporter for TheDailySportsHerald.com


  1. Could not agree more. It just won't be the same without Ronaldinho.

  2. Davies got the shaft. He and Donavan were the bomb @ the Confed Cup. Bradley's a fool

  3. Charlie Davies fluke'd out in the Confederations Cup, sorry to break it to you American footy fans but that's why he's in France now. Quite honestly, I was suprised to see him in this list of Top-10 snubs. The US scored one goal last WC so I don't blame anyone for their optimism


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