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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 18 December 2018

Absentee XI: Icardi, Morata, Nainggolan and others cut from their World Cup squads

Swipe left/right on your browser for a look at some of the players not going to Russia next month

Some pretty big names are set to miss out on the World Cup after national team managers finished selecting their provisional squads for the June 14 - July 15 tournament in Russia.

Some have been unfortunate through injury. Manchester United back-up goalkeeper Sergio Romero was on Tuesday cut from the Argentina squad with the national federation saying he requires knee surgery.

Others didn't even get that far. Radja Nainggolan immediately announced his international retirement after being left out of Roberto Martinez's Belgium squad and Sandro Wanger did likewise after being omitted from the Germany squad when the world champions defend their title in Russia.

The players who didn't make the Spain squad would be the envy and in most cases the first choices had they been born anywhere else. Plenty have been cast aside by Julen Lopetegui; Sergi Roberto, Marcos Alonso, Cesc Fabregas, Javi Martinez and Alvaro Morata may curse their passports, as they would have a strong claim for inclusion in most other national teams.

Spare a thought to for Mauro Icardi. The Inter Milan striker banged in 29 Serie A goals and helped his side clinch a thrilling Uefa Champions League play-off spot at Lazio's expense, but that means little when Jorge Sampaoli already has the services of Lionel Messi, Paulo Dybala, Gonzalo Higuain and Sergio Aguero to call on.

With most yet to announce their final 23-man squads, expect a further cull of quality but unlucky players over the next week.

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Read more:

Absentee XI: Gareth Bale, Alexis Sanchez, David Alaba and others not going to the 2018 World Cup

In pictures: All 12 Russia 2018 World Cup stadiums

Lowdown: Where to watch 2018 Fifa World Cup matches in the UAE and kick-off times

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