Cape Town - All eyes will turn onto one of football's biggest contests, Euro 2016, which commences next week Friday (June 10) and promises to be a month filled with drama and excitement, as the best of Europe battle it out for the Henri Delaunay Trophy.
Various teams from around the continent have started naming their 23-man squad for France, and there have been a few eyebrows raised over some team selections. We take a look at some of these world-class players who'll be missing out:
1. Diego Costa
Chelsea striker Diego Costa is one of the surprising names off Spain’s list. The 27-year-old has had a below-par season with the Blue Lions, after struggling to recover from a hamstring injury.
2. Marco Reus
German coach Joachim Low announced that the only reason why the Borussia Dortmund player failed to make the squad was due to injury concerns. Reus, who has been in superb form for the German club having netted 20 goals, is suffering from a groin injury and it was understandable that Low couldn’t take a chance on the 27-year-old.
3. Danny Drinkwater
The 26-year-old was known for propelling the underdog Leicester City to win their first Premier League title and he’s omission was evident when England manager Roy Hodgson announced his 23-man squad on Tuesday (May 31). Drinkwater took to Instagram to respond to his exclusion by noting that he was disappointed, but wished the team the best for the upcoming tournament.
4. Fernando Torres
Torres, who scored 10 goals in his last 19 games to help Atletico Madrid reach the finals of the Champions League, was excluded from the provisional Spanish squad to go to France. According to the Kick-off website, the 32-year-old was not surprised with his snub, but wanted to focus on his club (Atletico), who were then on their way to lose the final of the Champions League to cross-town rivals, Real Madrid.
5. Mark Noble
West Ham’s Noble notched up seven goals in his 37 appearances in the Premier League. The experienced midfielder was excluded, despite his fine form and struggle to break into the English squad.
6. Juan Mata
Costa wasn’t the only Spaniard missing, as Manchester United midfielder, Mata couldn’t break into the 23-man squad. Mata has had a disappointing season with the boot, as he only registered six goals this season for the Red Devils.
7. Theo Walcott
Gunner winger, Walcott failed to also make Hodgson’s English squad despite his mixed return from injury last season. Walcott netted nine goals in his 42 appearances and helped Arsenal to finish second place in the Premier League.
8. Jermain Defoe
Sunderland’s Defoe was shoe in for an inclusion, but fell short despite being the third top scoring Englishman in the Premier League. Since moving from Major League Soccer two years ago, Defoe has unsuccessfully tried to gain the attention of the English selection board, even though the Black Cats were on the verge of being relegated this season.
9. Mamadou Sakho
The Liverpool defender was suspended at the end of the 2015/16 season after being found with the drug higenamine in his system. According to This Is Anfield website, Sakho’s exclusion will likely be his last opportunity to take part in a major international tournament on home soil.
10. Bernardo Silva
One of the brightest and youngest stars Bernardo Silva was ruled out of Fernando Santo’s Portuguese Euro squad due to a sudden injury. The 22-year-old midfielder was one of the key performers in the 2015 European Under-21 Championship by guiding his team to a runner up position by scoring the first goal in the semi-final against Germany.
(Pictures: Getty Images)