32 of the world’s best footballing nations will assemble in South Africa this summer to compete for the Jules Rimet Trophy. However there are some teams who missed the bus despite being widely expected to qualify.
Here is a look at the list of notable absentees at the 2010 World Cup.
Egypt:– Seven time African champions Egypt lost in a playoff to bitter North African rivals Algeria. They did take revenge by annihilating the Desert Foxes months later in the semifinals of the African Cup of Nations but nothing will make up for the disappointment of missing out on the world’s biggest soccer tournament.
Russia:- After their heroics at Euro 2008 where they knocked out the Netherlands, Russia were expected to qualify comfortably for the World Cup. They finished a close second to Germany in their group and were drawn against Slovenia in the playoffs. Leading 2-0 in the first leg, Guus Hiddink’s men conceded a late away goal. It was to cost Arshavin and co. dearly as Slovenia knocked them out on away goals by winning 1-0 in the second leg.
Croatia:- With the likes of Luka Modric, Ivan Rakitic, Danijel Pranjic and Darijo Srna in their side, Slaven Bilic’s side should have made it to the finals with ease. However England, with memories of their failure to qualify for Euro 2008 still fresh in their mind, whipped them 5-1 in a decisive qualifier to end their hopes of qualification.
Czech Republic:- The Czechs failed to check in for the World Cup, finishing third in a group they were widely expected to dominate. Petr Rada was shown the door for a poor start and while his replacement Ivan Hasek did try his best, he was unable to repair the damage.
Costa Rica:- Los Ticos started off well in the Hexagonal but a string of three straight defeats allowed Honduras to catch up with them. They needed a win against the USA in their final match to get automatic qualification, but were denied by a Jonathan Bornstein goal in the dying seconds of the game. They therefore finished fourth and had to be content with a place in the playoffs. Uruguay, who had lost to Australia in the playoffs in 2006, were determined not to let lightning strike twice, and eliminated Costa Rica in the Inter Continental playoff.