Brazil 2014: Five top superstars that could miss out


Ronaldo could
well miss out.

The identity of the teams that will be hopping on a plane to Brazil next
summer are almost decided – there is only a single qualifier left and a few
playoffs left to decide.
Two-legged qualification playoffs are notoriously difficult games and it
is quite possible that one or more of the supposedly leading international
teams, with a host of Europe’s top players, could crash out at the final stage.

Click on to see who they are… 


The likes of Spain, Argentina, Holland and Germany are already confirmed
to be joining hosts Brazil and their saviour Neymar when the tournament kicks
off in Sao Paulo on June 12.
However, Barcelona teammates Neymar and Lionel Messi might not be
sharing the stage with some of the world’s other top players. have picked out five of the leading players that could fall foul of
an embarrassing failure to make the final step and secure their place at the
biggest event in world football.
Luis Suarez
– Uruguay
to Ecuador in their previous qualifying match has left the Uruguayans highly
likely to be facing another two games to secure their berth. They lie fifth in
the South American qualifying after the 1-0 loss on Friday and face a final
match against a rampant Argentina.
A result in
that match will be tough as Messi and co have only lost once in 15 qualifiers,
while Chile and Ecuador know a draw will see both safely through automatically.
Suarez’s playoff opponents would be lowly Jordan, but only a fool would write
them off when there is the motivation of knowing two good results will get them
to Brazil.
Christian Eriksen – Denmark
Bendtner was a two-goal hero in the Danes’ match with Italy on Friday, but their
hopes of a playoff spot behind the already qualified Azzuri were crushed by an injury time
Alberto Aquilani goal.
It leaves
Eriksen and his teammates in a precarious position where they must defeat Malta
and hope Bulgaria do not beat Czech Republic if they are to grab second spot in
the group. It would be a shame not to see Eriksen at the finals, as he is
settling in nicely at Tottenham and it looks possible he could blossom into one
of Europe’s leading playmakers.
Franck Ribery – France
may have ousted Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo for the UEFA Best Player in
Europe award earlier this year, as well as being a leading candidate for the
Ballon d’Or, but the Bayern Munich star could be disappointed come next summer.
France were
unlucky to draw holders Spain in their group and will have to negotiate a
playoff if they are to secure their place – they went perilously close to being
eliminated by Ireland in their last playoff, where only the Thierry Henry
handball scandal saved them.
Wayne Rooney – England
Manchester United star scored the opener in the Three Lions’ 4-1 win over
Montenegro on Friday night that guaranteed them a playoff spot, but Ukraine
defeating Poland meant another win is required when the Poles travel to Wembley
next Tuesday.
The pressure
is on England as Ukraine’s final match is against minnows San Marino, so
anything other than a win for them is unlikely to happen. Failing to defeat
Poland would be a huge blow to Roy Hodgson’s team, as it was a group they
should really top and there are some very tricky teams lurking in the playoffs
to cause more heartbreak for Rooney and his colleagues.
Cristiano Ronaldo – Portugal
late equaliser for Israel all but ended any hopes Portugal and Cristiano
Ronaldo had of qualifying automatically ahead of Russia and they will almost
certainly face a playoff to make the Brazil trip.
having one of the world’s top two players in Cristiano Ronaldo captaining them,
Portugal are maddeningly inconsistent and there would be no guarantee of them
making it through a playoff. Brazil 2014 with Neymar and Messi but no Cristiano
Ronaldo would be a travesty, but there is more than a slight chance that it
could happen.

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