Euro 2016 - The best European players who won't be at the tournament
With more teams than ever before contesting the tournament, Euro 2016 - in the new 24-team format - should prove to be a veritable feast for football fans.
Scotland will be the only international side from the British Isles missing out after a painful qualifying campaign saw Gordon Strachan’s men fall short.
Aside from the Scots, there were several other teams who failed to make the grade that many will consider surprises.
The Netherlands - ranked 14th in the world - fell at the first hurdle, as did Serbia and Bosnia Herzegovina. Euro 2004 winners Greece also failed to qualify this time out.
All this means some top players will have to make do with watching the tournament from the sofa - just like the rest of us.
Setting out in a 4:3:3 formation here’s our ‘just missed out on the Euros eleven’:
1.Orestis Karnezis (Greece) - 30-year-old keeper Karnezis was the only Udinese player to feature in every match for the Italian club last season and he won the fans player of the year award after standout performances against the likes of A.C. Milan and Inter. An outstanding shotstopper he’s first pick in our eleven.
3. Aleksandar Kolarov (Serbia) - Manchester City stalwart Kolarov is one of several big names in the Serbia side who miss out. At left back his overlapping runs up the wing will provide our nearly-rans with some much needed width.
4. Sead Kolasinac (Bosnia Herzegovina) - 22-year-old Shalke 04 defender Kolasinac played a significant part in his club side’s fifth-placed finish last season with 24 appearances. He normally plays left back in the Bundesliga, but we’ll slot the six-foot defender in central defence alongside…
5. Ron Vlaar (Netherlands) - Former Aston Villa centre half Vlaar now plies his trade in Holland with AZ Alkmaar. An experienced international, with 31 senior caps, Vlaar played all seven of the Netherland’s matches at the 2014 World Cup.
2. Branislav Ivanovic (Serbia) - On the opposite side of the defence from compatriot Kolarov, Chelsea star Ivanovic will round off the experienced back four at right back.
7. Wesley Sneijder (Netherlands) - Dutch superstar Sneijder now plays in Turkey, having joined Galatasaray from Inter Milan in 2013. Since moving East he’s netted 30 goals in 96 appearances in midfield for his club side. He’ll be our free kick taker, hopefully he can add to his 29 international goals.
8. Darren Fletcher (Scotland) - The only Scot to make the squad, with 73 senior caps and a glittering club career at Manchester United behind him, West Brom midfield anchor Fletcher is the most experienced player in our midfield three.
6. Roman Eremenko (Finland) - 29-year-old former Dynamo Kyiv captain Eremenko has popped up with 16 goals in 50 appearances with current club CSKA Moscow. Like Fletcher beside him, he has significant experience on the European stage through his club successes.
11. Aleksandar Mitrovic (Serbia) - Euro 2016 would have been a great opportunity for 21-year-old Mitrovic to cheer himself up after a gruelling season with Newcastle ended with relegation and a red card against Spurs.
10. Edin Dzeko (Bosnia Herzegovina) - Former Manchester City forward Dzeko made his loan move to Roma permanent last year and bagged seven goals for the Italian side. He’s Bosnia Herzegovina’s all-time top scorer and he’s known in his home country as the ‘Bosnian Diamond’. Lets hope for a glittering performance in our front three.
9. Arjen Robben (Netherlands) - Possibly the best European player not to feature in this year’s tournament, 32-year-old Bayern Munich star Robben has scored in more than one in three of his 88 senior international appearances and terrorised defences in the three biggest leagues in the world with Bayern, Real Madrid and Chelsea.
Who would you have in your ‘just missed out on the Euros eleven’? Let us know in the comments below.